|Walker and Rodas' Porsche Carrera GT. Image: Always Evolving Performance Motors|
|Fuel tank is located behind seats and in front of the rear-mounted engine.|
The facts: This may very well be true but we will get to that in a moment. At present, some less responsible media outlets are speculating that the fuel tank's location, in front of the passenger compartment's footwell, may have made it impossible for the two men to be saved. The error here is that the fuel tank on a Carrera GT (which can cost over $15,000 for the part alone) is not in the footwell but rather in the bulkhead immediately behind the driver and passenger, and in front of the engine, which is in the rear on this car. We believe the nomenclature "Carrera" has confused non-automotive types to assume it's a 911, GT2, GT3, etc. Owing to the logic that the ruptured tank may have contributed significantly to the inability of rescuers to remove the men, this is indeed possible due to the location of the tank. The GT, according to at least one report and evident from crash scene photos, hit the light pole and trees on it's passenger side, the seat Walker was occupying, and thus likely ruptured the tank allowing the fuel to splash into the passenger compartment due to forward momentum.
|Exploded diagram of Carrera GT fuel tank.|
|Paul Walker and Roger Rodas.|
The facts: Roger Rodas was not only the proprietor of Always Evolving Performance Motors in Santa Clarita, CA just around the corner from where the accident occurred, he was also a highly trained driver who participated in race course events and was well acquainted with high performance automobiles, it was one of his livelihoods. That, in itself, doesn't relieve him of liability should findings later reveal negligence in some way, we simply cannot speculate, but is does paint a much different picture of the man than had been first created in online discussions accusing him of killing the actor, who by the way, was also a friend, business partner and client of Rodas.
The take away: As enthusiasts, what we do know is that most of us have ourselves been in situations where we inadvertently let a car get out of hand, perhaps due to simple ignorance about it's capabilities, unexpected weather or road conditions, the act of another driver, or due to mechanical issues. No matter how good you are at car control or the amount of experience, when you're behind the wheel of a machine that is essentially being propelled by a series of extremely rapid miniature explosions of combustible fuel, causing thousands of moving parts to interact in just the right way, you can see how quickly things can, and very often do, go bad very quickly. We have seen Formula 1 and Indy car champions lose their lives due to their own mistakes, we are imperfect humans after all.
Editorial note: We have chosen not to include photos of the crash owing to the fact that, although not visible, the victims were still inside the car in many of the images available. We feel it is a matter of honoring the friends and family of these two individuals.