Racecars blow engines all the time, but a Porsche 917 is not just a run-of-the-mill racecar.
British automotive writer, Mark Hales, reportedly borrowed a 917 from 82-year-old former Formula One racer David Piper for a magazine article, and mechanical tragedy ensued.
Nobody argued that the engine failed after being spun to 8,200 rpm, The Telegraph reported on Tuesday.
However, Hales was warned not to exceed 7,000 rpm, said owner Piper, and the affair landed in English courts with Piper seeking £50,000 – over $79,000 US – in reimbursement funds for an engine rebuild and loss of use of the car while it was being repaired.
Judge Simon Brown ruled in favour of car owner, Piper, putting Hales on the hook for £110,000 ($174,000) including legal fees – a whole lot of money in any language.
Hales said the Porsche suffered a mechanical fault while lapping that allowed it to slip out of gear and over-rev.
Piper was not convinced, and sought to have the repair paid for by the guy who broke the racer, saying “If you bend it, you mend it.” It’s not like Hales is a novice driver, having seat time in both professional and amateur races over 30 years, notching about 150 wins, but even the best drivers sometimes miss a shift, and that’s what Piper contended happened to his car.
According to reports, Piper has had to sell most of his valuables to pay his lawyers and is now facing bankruptcy with the ruling against him.