The 2005 Porsche Carrera GT in which Paul Walker and Roger Rodas were killed is nothing less than a death machine and there is no reason on earth why two people were driving it 100 mph down a suburban street. There is no reason why that type of car should have been able to be driven 100 mph down a suburban street. For proof, one only has to read the coroner’s report on Walker and Rodas.
The limited-edition Porsche in which the two men were killed on November 30th sold for approximately $450,000 from 2004 to 2007. Evidently you have to be rich in order to drive a car that is engineered to kill you. The Porsche Carrera GT is made with an engine that produces 612 horsepower. In order for this non-motorhead to grasp what that number means, I looked up the horsepower on my 2008 Dodge Caliber. Turns out my little car has 148 horsepower. I would need four Calibers to equal the power of Walker’s Porsche. I can see that kind of horsepower being needed if one were a race car driver, but to drive down a city street? Just stupid. To make matters worse, it seems as though this particular Porsche’s engine may have been modified to add even more horsepower.
In addition to the horsepower, the chassis of the Carrera GT is made of a lighter carbon-fiber material, making the car a little lighter and the acceleration power even greater.
After its release, the Carrera GT quickly became known as a car best used by skilled drivers. Jeremy Clarkson, who hosts the BBC show, Top Gear, states that if a driver makes an error while driving the Carrera GT, the car “bites your head off.” Even Jay Leno, who we all know loves him a good sports car, spun out in the Porsche while trying to break a speed record at Talledega Superspeedway. He may not be funny, but Leno evidently has enough brains to drive a car like this on a closed track built to handle them. According to Leno, Porsche asked him to do this in order to show that even though the Carrera GT was built to be a powerhouse, an average Joe like him could also drive one. I’m sure I could drive one, but at 100 mph? I get a little less confident there. Although Leno received direction for the attempt from a very experienced speedway driver, he spun out without ever reaching 185 mph.
Even a test driver for Porsche, Walter Rohrl, described the Carrera CT as “the first car in my life that I drive and I feel scared.” After testing the car, Rohrl demanded the addition of traction control, which would prevent the rear wheels from spinning when giving it a lot of gas. Another automotive journalist described the car as a “batshit crazy car.”
So why does a normal person, or even a rich movie star like Paul Walker, who is never going to race on a speedway or try to set speed records even need a car like a Porsche Carrera GT? Because it’s cool. It’s expensive. It’s fast. Fast enough to kill. You pull up to a stoplight in one of these babies, you better be sporting aviators and the car next to you had better be filled with hot ladies in tiny dresses. Oh, and there had better be palm trees waving in the blue sky behind you as you peel out at the green light and leave the sexy girlies in a cloud of dust. Ultimately, isn’t that what this car represents? Isn’t that why people buy them?
If we want cars because they are fast, expensive, and look cool, we should be able to buy them. I don’t advocate anybody losing the right to do so, but I question why we need to mass-produce cars that are so wired for speed that even seasoned test drivers are afraid of them. Even an IndyCar racer, Graham Rahal, says of the Porsche Carrera GT that “It’s a race car for the street. Simple as that. It asks for and needs respect at all times. It’s not a car for people who don’t have experience driving high-end vehicles or race cars really, for that matter.
No mechanical issues were found in the car in which Roger Rodas was driving and Paul Walker was riding. No issues with the roadway have been discovered. It appears that Rodas was simply going too fast in a car built to be handled by professionals but marketed and sold to laymen. If an experienced racer like Rodas, who had a racing license, couldn’t handle this car, what chance does Mr. Joe Blow have of doing so? The whole thing is a stupid tragedy to be sure, but just think of all of the publicity Porsche has received since Paul Walker and Roger Rodas died in their death machine.
By Jennifer Pfalz