The Fast and Furious franchise co-star, Paul Walker, is dead at age 40. Paul Walker was riding in the passenger seat of his friend’s 2005 Porsche Carrera GT. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officials say that speed was clearly a factor in the death of Walker and his friend. Walker’s friend, Roger Rodas, also died in the crash. They were travelling at a high rate of speed, lost control of the car, hit a light post, and the car burst into flames.
Walker was riding in the passenger seat of Rodas’ 2005 Porsche Carrera GT for a quick spin after his charity event for the Philippines relief effort, when the car crashed about 500 yards away from the charity event. About one minute after the horrific crash, the car burst into flames that would have made it impossible for Rodas or Walker to escape. A preliminary autopsy report from the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office stated that Paul Walker did not die from the trauma from the crash, it was the flames that killed him. It is not known whether Rodas died immediately, or if he died the same way as Walker. A full coroner’s report released in 6-8 weeks will tell what killed both men.
Walker was not married, but he had a 15-year-old daughter. His father, Paul Walker, Sr. declined to comment to CNN and FOX News about the status of Walker’s daughter, Meadow Walker.
I will give you a brief biography on Paul Walker’s acting career: His first movie was Monster in the Closet, but his breakthrough happened with Varsity Blues. When he started the Fast and Furious movies, he and Vin Diesel became icons. Hollywood is stunned at Walker’s death. Vin Diesel, the co-star of the Fast and Furious franchise, said “I will always love you Brian, as the brother you were… on and off screen.” Diesel gave a public address at the crash site by using the public address system from a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy car.
The car, the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, is notoriously difficult to handle. It has a top speed of 208 mph, an engine that revs to almost 10,000 RPMs, and it has over 600 horsepower, according to Eddie Alterman, Editor-in-Chief of Car & Driver Magazine. Alterman stated, “This was not a car for novices. Acutally, the Carrera GT program began as a racing program.”
Todd Trimble, an exotic car mechanic based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, said the car is very hard to drive. “It’s (a) pure racer’s car. You really need to know what you’re doing when you drive them. And a lot of people are learning the hard way.”
Brand new, the car cost $450,000, and it’s becoming extremely expensive to maintain. An oil change alone costs $900, according to Trimble.
Because the high-revving V10 is in the middle of the car, the car is extremely agile, and turns much quicker than a car with a front or rear-mounted engine. Eddie Alterman, who had originally driven the Carrera GT at it’s debut in 2003, said “The Carrera GT is able to change direction very quickly, much like a race car. It was beyond a super car. It is what we call a hyper car.”
Randy Pobst, one of my favorite race car drivers (I had the opportunity to meet him at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where I was invited to watch Randy drive around the track in a SRT Viper and Chevy Corvette ZR-1), coached the Fast and Furious crew for the second movie. “Stability control is really good at correcting slides, keeping the car from getting out of shape.” The Carrera GT doesn’t have stability control, so it has an unforgiving reputation. He said that “Paul was by far the best driver — a natural car guy.”
The Carrera GT has a steep learning curve. It doesn’t have many electronic nannies to help correct drifts and slides. It also delivers power at extremely high RPMs, as well as a manual transmission. This means that you have to constantly rev the engine and blip the throttle to shift without stalling. That’s not a problem on a racetrack, but it certainly is in day-to-day driving.
Since the Carrera GT was a failed racing program from the late 1990s, it was designed to crumple around the driver, and not injure the driver. With Walker and Rodas’ case, they were probably going too fast for the car to save them.
Paul Walker was known as an extremely generous, loving, kind man who felt that everybody was his family, and that everybody deserved a second chance. He was a gearhead from Day 1, and he amassed a car collection that anybody would be proud of. Paul Walker, Sr. declined to comment on the status of the car collection. He stated, “”Every now and then I’ll really break down. Talking really seems to help…there’s just such a tremendous amount of stories,” he shared. “I was just told that my son gave a marine a diamond ring to give to a gal he was going to marry. I never heard that story. He did stuff like that all the time.”
Paul Walker, Jr., you will be remembered as a cool-headed, kindly individual. Your legacy will live on in the hearts and minds of every car and movie enthusiast, as well as your friends and family. Your untimely death was extremely sad, but we will learn to cope. I wish your family and friends well. To those of you that knew Paul as a brother, friend, co-actor, or even a business acquaintance, my thoughts go out to you at this grief-stricken time.
Roger Rodas, you were a good friend to many, as well as a fellow petrolhead. You will be remembered as a level-headed, caring individual, who had a head for saving the Earth, racing, business, and helping other people. My thoughts go out to your friends, family, and those you helped. You were considered a friend to many, including those you helped.