Racing driver and journalist Mark Hales is facing a £120,000 bill after he was sued for blowing up the engine in a £1.25m Porsche 917.
The court case, in which Hales was sued by David Piper, the owner of the 917, concluded with the judge in the High Court finding that Hales had over revved the engine, causing its failure. The car, a replica built from genuine Porsche parts, was subsequently repaired and sold for £1.25m.
Hales and Piper had a verbal agreement that the car needed to be kept under 7000rpm and that if the Porsche was damaged it would have to paid for.
The case and the outcome has caused controversy as it could affect the way magazines drive and test rare and exotic machinery. Insurance against such mechanical failure is hard to come by and many valuable vehicles are not covered. With a successful litigation case against a journalist, others may be less keen to take the risk of potentially damaging a car while owners could now be more likely to pursue damages.
A fund to pay for Hales’ costs has been started at www.savethehales.com.