So there were 16 cars powered by Colombo V12 engines, all rated at least 2 million pounds ($2.5 million), with some going as far as 30 million pounds ($37.6 million). Bouncing back from a sixth position on the starting grid, Karen Chandhok was riding right behind the two drivers that were battling for the lead, Rob Hall in a 1964 Ferrari 250 LM and Emanuele Pirro in a 1961 250 SWC/C.
In the closing half of the tenth lap, coming out of the Lavant turn onto the straight, Karen Chandhok pressed the accelerator. The car went 'bang,' burst into flames, and started to spin on the racetrack. The driver managed to regain control and safely pull over.
"I heard a and and the back wheels locked up. As I turned, I saw flames, so I got right off the track safely to minimise oil going down and get out of the way," the 39-year old driver told in a conversation with the organizers of the competition.
The marshals cleared the racetrack, and the race could continue with no other issues.
Soon after the race, Karun Chandhok posted on X a photo of his right foot boot with the sole coming off: “Lucky to get away with nothing more than a melted boot,” he captioned the photo. His younger brother, Suhail Chandhok, posted a video of the incident, praising Karun for his rational and fast damage limitation reaction.
The Ferrari 250 GTO that the former F1 driver was driving is (or was!) one of the world's most valuable examples of the kind. Despite the massive damage, the driver told that the owner’s first priority was to make sure that he was alright. He now wants to get the GTO fixed and send it back to the Goodwood racetrack.
A representative of the owner talked about the aftermath of the fire. The car has "a hole in the engine" and says that the onboard fire extinguisher did its job. Most probably, the fire was the cause of an engine failure, which is not unusual in racing, especially when dealing with 60-year old cars.
In production between 1962 and 1964, the 250 GTO, with the lettering standing for Gran Turismo Omologato (Homologated Grand Touring) is powered by a 3.0-liter Tipo 168 Comp/62 Colmbo V12 engine, good for 296 horsepower (300 PS). The engine is mated to a five-speed manual spinning the rear wheels of the race car. Only 36 such cars were built. Back in the 1960s, the car came with a price tag of $18,000.
Lucky to get away with that with nothing more than a melted boot…. Something went bang and seized up the back wheels and sent me spinning.— Karun Chandhok (@karunchandhok) September 9, 2023
Such a shame to end a race in my dream GT car like that but happy to get out ok! https://t.co/uZXnn1737U pic.twitter.com/E5NkaODAe3