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Car enthusiast Jay Leno found out just how easy it is to lose control of the vehicle — which, in its stock form, has a V10 engine that puts out 612 horsepower — when he tried to set a speed record in 2005 (not in the same car but in the same model).
In 2005, the late-night host took the vehicle for a spin on the Talledega raceway in Alabama, where he was asked how fast he intended to go. “I just want to be right below crashing,” he says in the clip, which was filmed for TLC’s Rides.
When will he know he’s “right below crashing”? “Uh, right before I crash,” he quips.
Leno proceeds to hit a speed of 190 miles per hour — at which point the car began spinning, in five full rotations.
“I just got a little sideways and then it started spinning, I hit the brakes and saw the wall coming and then got off the brakes, and then when there wasn’t any wall I got on the brakes again and then when I saw more wall I got off the brakes,” Leno says afterward. “It was kind of like driving on ice.”
The 2005 Carrera GT that Walker and Roger Rodas were killed in on Nov. 30 was a limited-edition, high-performance sports car produced by Porsche between 2004 and 2007 that sold new for about $450,000.
During the Carrera GT’s development, Porsche test driver Walter Rohrl told the Australian website Drive that the GT was “the first car in my life that I drive and I feel scared.” The car was so powerful that Rohrl insisted Porsche install traction control to keep the rear wheels from spinning during heavy acceleration. A case over a fatal Carrera GT crash during a club race at the California Speedway was settled for $4.5 million in 2007.
“It’s a batshit crazy car and as close to an analog Formula One car as you can get,” says an automotive journalist who has driven the GT. “It really demands your attention — it’ll bite back if you don’t give it the proper input.”
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