By Patrick Smith for Wheels.ca
The horrific crash that claimed the life of actor Paul Walker, 40, in California on Saturday is rife with eerie ironies.
Famous for his role in The Fast and The Furious movie series, Walker was inextricably linked with exotic speed demons in the mind of the movie-going public. And the car that he died in — a Porsche Carrera GT — was one of the more “furious” exotics known to the race car world.
On the day of the crash, Walker was hosting a toy drive and car show for his charity organization, Reach Out Worldwide, to benefit victims of Typhoon Haiyan.
Walker’s friend and business partner, Roger Rodas, was also at the show. An accomplished race car driver, Rodas had driven in the GTS series of the Pirelli World Challenge and won second place in the Porsche Driver’s Cup. He had brought his 2005 Porsche Carrera GT to Walker’s toy drive on Saturday, and at one point, the two decided to go for a spin. (TMZ posted images of a smiling Walker peering into the flashy red car moments before that fateful last drive.)
But this was no ordinary car. The Porsche Carrera GT is a monster; last listed at $359,000, it has been described as “scary” even for pro drivers, Autoweek reports.
A limited production sports car roadster with a 5.7 litre V10m, its engine makes 605 horsepower and its top speed is 205 mph.
The Carrera GT was only made from 2004 to 2007, when changing airbag legislation cancelled production. Only 1,270 were made, with 604 of those reaching North America.
The mid engine Porsche can be notoriously difficult to handle at high speeds. One was destroyed in a crash at California Speedway in 2005, killing the driver Ben Keaton and passenger Corey Rudl.
In Saturday’s fatal crash, police report that “speed was a factor,” although some sources are now reporting that a steering fuel leak may also have caused problems by robbing Rodas of steering control. The Porsche lost control, then hit a lamppost and a tree before exploding. The car was fully engulfed in flames before the Fire Department arrived.
In an eerie coincidence, Walker was the subject of a death-report hoax the day before, on Friday, when the parody news site MediaMass.net carried an article stating Walker had died.
Responding to the hoax, Walker’s publicist said: “He joins the long list of celebrities who have been victimized by this hoax. He’s still alive and well, stop believing what you see on the internet.”
Hours later, the deadly crash occurred.
- Firefighters extinguish the fire in the car where actor Paul Walker was killed along with the driver, believed to be Roger Rodas, during a crash in Valencia, California, November 30, 2013. Walker, 40, who was in five of the six "Fast and the Furious" on Saturday.