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Auto journalist ordered to pay big money for blowing up Porsche 917 engine

Posted Jan 22nd 2013 10:15AM

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Porsche 917 racecar in Gulf livery - front three-quarter view

Racecars blow engines all the time, but a Porsche 917 isn't 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 is arguing that the engine failed after being spun to 8,200 rpm. However, Hales was warned not to exceed 7,000 rpm, says owner Piper, and the affair landed in English courts with Piper seeking £50,000 (around CAD$78,600) 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 (CAD$172,000) including legal fees – a whole lot of money in any language.

Hales says the Porsche suffered a mechanical fault while lapping that allowed it to slip out of gear and over-rev. Piper wasn't 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. Members of the Pistonheads website are trying to coordinate a collection to help him out, as well.
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davwal7

Dan Roth, this is confusing reporting. First you say that the judge ruled in favour of the car owner Mr. Piper and then you say :
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. Members of the Pistonheads website are trying to coordinate a collection to help him out, as well. Make up your mind, was the ruling against or for Piper!

January 24 2013 at 9:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to davwal7's comment
JannieD

davwal7: I was a bit confused too. However, after much thought, I decided that while the judge had ruled in Mr Piper's favour, perhaps this gentleman's legal fees were in an amount such that he found himself near bankruptcy trying to fund/satisfy the payment of same! Sometimes one wins the battle but loses the war-especially so in legal matters methinks!

It seems we'll have to await Mr Roth's subsequent posting to clarify matters!! Cheers!

January 25 2013 at 3:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply