Norwich man seeks damages after Nurburgring crash

A Norwich man who suffered serious head injuries when the sports car he was travelling in crashed has launched a claim for damages against the makers of the vehicle.

Shaun Cumbers, of Swansgate, Old Catton, was a passenger in the car when it crashed on the Nurbergring circuit, in Germany.

Mr Cumbers, 47, suffered severe brain injuries and is now seeking damages against the car manufacturer claiming that a leaking oil hose caused the crash.

The claim says he was the passenger in a 58-plate Caterham 7 Superlight R500, belonging to David Wadey, on the notorious circuit.

It says: 'The Caterham was being driven around the Nurbergring when an oil hose running from the air cooler to the lower part of the engine block failed resulting in oil leaking onto the underside of the Caterham and onto the road.

'As a consequence Mr Wadey lost control of the Caterham causing it to spin and hit a crash barrier.

'As a consequence of the collision the claimant hit his head which resulted in a closed subdural haematoma.'

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Mr Cumbers has launched a claim for damages with the High Court of Justice Queen's Bench Division against Caterham Cars Ltd in excess of �300,000, after the crash on April 26, 2009.

It is claimed that the oil hose was positioned lower than the engine block, causing it to repeatedly scrape along the ground.

Caterham is therefore accused of failing to design the vehicle safely, incorrectly fitting the oil hose, allowing a defective product to be sold, failing to recall it, failing to ensure the safety of the car to what should be expected and allowing Mr Cumbers to be put at unnecessary risk of injury.

It is also claimed the company has admitted liability in an open letter dated August 7, 2009.

A spokesman for Caterham Cars Ltd declined to comment on the issue. Mr Cumbers was unavailable for comment.

•Are you taking legal action after suffering an injury? Contact reporter Richard Wood on 01603 772423 or email

In 1927 the Nurburgring Nordschleife, in Germany, was built to rejuvenate the area and create employment.

Car manufacturers from across the world use it to test cars while Top Gear has used the track for a number of challenges - these included Jeremy Clarkson trying to drive a Jaguar around the track in under 10 minutes, and racing driver Sabine Schmitz driving a Ford Transit around it.

The circuit is split into two parts - the 12.9 mile Nordschelife, which stands for north loop, and the 3.2 mile grand prix circuit.

Both are open to the public to use at certain times, but most drive the famous longer route.

Drivers from across the world travel to driver their own cars on the track, which features speed limits in certain sections.

Any road legal vehicle is allowed on the track as on public days, meaning German road traffic law applies. This means that even buses and coaches are even allowed on the track and all those who use it are warned they do it at their own risk.

One lap costs 24 euros, approximately �21, while a year pass can be bought for 1350 euros, approximately �1190.

Recovery services to attend the Nurburgring but to be towed off the circuit costs 250 euros, or �220.

The risk of crashes is well documented and there are reports of many deaths during public sessions.