Karun Chandhok was, in his own words, “lucky to get away with that with nothing more than a melted boot” when the Ferrari 250 GTO he was racing at the Goodwood Revival went “bang” and caught fire.
Taking part in the Lavant Cup presented by Sky Cinema, a race dedicated to Ferrari GTs from 1960-1966, former F1 driver Chandhok was trying to close in on the race leaders as he battled his way from sixth on the grid.
However, it was not to be as his silver 250 GTO went “bang” on lap 10.
Karun Chandhok: I heard a bang and the back wheels locked up
Chandhok completed a 360° spin before parking the car at the side of the track, flames pouring from the stricken car.
“The 250 GTO is one of my absolute dream cars,” Chandhok told Goodwood.com.
“I was pinching myself. The owner was lovely and so happy for me to go out and enjoy it. The race was fun but I wasn’t really going to be catching the front runners.
“So part-way around, I was just thinking to myself, ‘How cool is this? I’m in a GTO at Goodwood!’. Then coming out of Lavant onto the straight – I was in second and cruising – I heard a bang 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.”
Most importantly just really glad he's ok but I have to say that save, car control and presence of mind to quickly get it off circuit and onto the grass was IMPRESSIVE👏🏼
We thought we were done… pic.twitter.com/vnPfK7KxGd
— Suhail Chandhok (@suhailchandhok) September 9, 2023
The 39-year-old took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to show how “lucky” he was in his escape with his boot having melted in the fire.
That, though, was thankfully it.
“Obviously I was shaken but the marshals, the owner, were all great,” he continued. “The owner’s absolute first priority was that I was okay. He was extremely understanding.
“The owners deserve so much credit. They send these cars that were designed 60 years ago out racing, that are worth so much, understanding that things can go wrong and that these things happen. He told me, he wants to get the car fixed and get it back on track at Goodwood soon.”
A representative of the owner explained it was an engine failure that led to the fiery drama.
“In basic terms, it was engine failure, as does happen in racing, as these engines are ‘highly strung’. We don’t know the actual cause internally until it’s taken back and checked, but there was some internal failure, which caused a hole in the side of the sump, that let the oil out towards the exhaust which was the spectacular ‘explosion’ you saw,” he said.
“The engine locking and dropping oil is what span Karun, who was uber skilled getting it off the track, as we saw, minimising the effect on the other competitors.
“It’s nothing unusual. No one bats an eyelid when a Formula 1 engine blows up. These cars are 50-year-old technology and occasionally one will blow up no matter how well-prepared.”
And just in case you’re wondering if you too can get your hands on a, hopefully not burnt, GTO, these cars sell for up to £52.3million.