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Auto blogMon, 24 Jun 2013 10:13:00 EST
There was little usual about this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans - intermittent rain in the weeks before the race meant cars didn't get on track as much as they wanted, and intermittent rain during the race meant cars went off track a lot more than they wanted. The race started with a wet track, and one of the records broken because of the random downpours was the number of times the safety car led the field - 11 times this year - although the record of two hours and 53 minutes of lapping behind the safety car, set in 2011, was not eclipsed.
None of that served to dampen the action. With little more than an hour left in the race there were cars still only a few seconds apart fighting for position, leads still changing because of pit stops and everyone drafting anyone they could.
Things didn't go the usual way up front, either - well, not exactly...
The Bearable Lightness Of Being
Start with a standard Porsche 911 Carrera and its 350-horsepower, 3.6-liter flat six-cylinder engine. Bore a crepe-thin slice of aluminum from each cylinder to get to 3.8 liters, add a wider track out back and two extra exhaust pipes and voila, you can append an S to the Carrera's name. Hang two sets of wet, multi-disc clutches along its spine and you can make that a 4, or a 4S. Bolt on two forced-induction compressors and piping, add two fender vents and comically wide rear tires and you've redeemed your ticket to a Turbo. Increase the boost pressure and swell the corral to 560 horses and you have the Turbo S, which is the Virginia Slims of the 911 line-up because it's come a long way, baby.
Or you can go in a different direction. At that second stop, grab the 3.8-liter and cart it over to the engineers at Porsche's development center in Weissach, Germany. If racing were meat, they would be among the alpha carnivores. The baseboards in their homes are probably painted with miniature billboards for motor oil and vintage cigarettes along the straights, red-and-white stripes around every corner.
The Porsche Carrera GT involved in the November crash that killed Fast and Furious star Paul Walker and racer Roger Rodas was traveling at speeds above 100 miles per hour before Rodas lost control for "unknown reasons," according to a report from the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office that has been acquired by The Hollywood Reporter.
Once control was lost, the Porsche spun, hit a curb and then impacted a tree and a light post, then it spun 180 degrees and hit another tree before erupting in flames, the report said. Neither Walker nor Rodas were under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of the incident, according to toxicology reports conducted by the coroner.
As for the future of the Fast and Furious franchise, a separate by The Hollywood Reporter claims director James Wan, writer Chris Morgan and Universal Studios will move forward with the seventh installment in the franchise, which was only partially completed when Walker was killed.