A professional race car driver has told the court that an Adelaide driver likely accelerated his Lamborghini in “sports mode” before hitting teenage Sophia Naismith.
Most important points:
- Sophia Naismith died when she was hit by a Lamborghini driven by Alexander Campbell
- Race car driver Luke Youlden told court the car may have been in sports mode
- Tire tracks indicate strong acceleration, the court heard
Race and stunt driver Luke Youlden testified in the Adelaide District Court, where Alexander Campbell is on trial for the fatal crash of 2019.
In June 2019, Sophia and her then 15-year-old boyfriend were walking along Morphett Road in the south western suburbs of Adelaide to a friend’s house when they were hit.
The car also had a curb mounted and crashed into a Glengowrie restaurant.
After reviewing a diagram of the crash, Mr Julden told the court that the car was likely in sport mode before Mr Campbell lost control of the vehicle.
“I would at least think about sport mode,” said the veteran driver trainer.
The diagram showed where the car started to lose control of the steering wheel, where tire tracks started on the road.
Those markings got off the road and turned left into the restaurant.
Mr Youlden – who was a co-driver in the vehicle that eventually won the 2017 Bathurst 1000 – said the nature of the signs indicating hard acceleration had caused them.
“Just the nature of the signs — they’ve basically just gone hard left,” he said.
“If the driver looked at where he wanted to go, it would be much straighter than that and the stability control would actually be engaged.”
‘Unusual’ slipping in safe mode
The expert witness said a car in sport mode skids much more easily and only needs to lose a little traction to start skidding.
“Cars just don’t drive on the road at 53 [kph] and then turn left – it should respond to an entry,” said Mr Youlden.
“If you look at this and know the car, the only way it’s going to turn like that is to give it too much throttle.”
Youlden said it was unlikely the car would have lost control of the wheel in “strada” or “safe mode”, Lamborghinis’ driving modes.
“I wouldn’t say it’s impossible — but it’s very unusual to lose that much slip in safe mode like that,” he said.
The Supercars series driver was also asked if it was possible that a Lamborghini Huracán could be in strada mode with moderate throttle and experience the same loss of control as Mr Campbell.
“Not in my opinion, no. If it was moderate and started to accelerate slowly – [it] would shift its weight backwards and drive straight on the road.”
Lamborghini mounted curbstone
After questioning Campbell’s lawyer Craig Caldicott, Mr Yulden said he had driven a Lamborghini Huracán three times since 2016 in strada, sport and corsa modes.
Mr Youlden said he never lost control of the wheel while driving a Huracán.
“Controlled slip yes, but never drawn out,” he said.
Mr Caldicott said an expert reconstruction specialist had discovered the car had first turned left and then right, and other material from the scene showed the car had left skid marks.
“When the car was in sport mode there was a moderate acceleration, the temperature was seven degrees [Celsius]or thereabouts, and the car was geared up and the car then went left and then right and hit a curb—is that a possibility?” asked Mr. Caldicott.
‘Yes, that’s a possibility,’ said Mr Youlden.
The case will go to court on Friday.