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WATCH: SA racing driver makes dramatic escape from burning race car

2017-08-22 09:00

Sean Parker

Image: Supplied

Port Shepstone, Kwa-Zulu Natal - On-board footage has emerged of local racing driver Mike Schmidt quickly escaping from his burning race car during a practice stint at Dezzi Raceway. 

The incident took place on Friday 18 August while Schmidt was competing in his 'merSETA NASH' VW  race car at a South African Endurance event. He suffered no injuries. 

Worst fear

According to the 55-year-old, the fire was caused when a fuel line ruptured spraying fuel directly into a hot engine bay, which then ignited the fuel.

A relieved Schmidt told Wheels24: "Fire is probably a race driver's worst fear. I was just starting my first flying lap of practice on Friday morning when the engine died unexpectedly and the next thing I knew was that I was literally sitting in a fire pit with flames all around me.

The KZN-based driver said: "I managed to stop the car quite close to the pit wall and members of my team along with some of the other teams' members managed to get the fire extinguished." 

Watch the dramatic clip here: 

Remarkably, even though the car was extensively damaged, his Bateleur team worked through the (Friday) night to repair the car in time to take the start of the three-hour race on Saturday afternoon. 

The happy ending? The team went on to finish 5th overall and first in class in their race. 


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