January 24, 2013
A motoring journalist says he is facing bankruptcy after he was sued by ex-F1 driver David Piper for blowing up the engine of a 1969 Porsche 917 Le Mans car.
Mark Hales has been ordered to pay nearly £50,000 to Piper by a High Court judge after the car's engine blew up during a test drive at Cadwell Park for a magazine article. Piper claimed Hales over-revved the engine while Hales argued the car jumped out of gear.
Judge Simon Brown QC said "the evidence overwhelmingly points to the cause of the engine damage being the Defendant's failure to properly engage gear" and judged that £47,961.86 should be paid to Piper.
Hales, an experienced racing driver and journalist, told the Grimsby Telegraph that he was also facing legal fees of £63,000, adding "it looks like bankruptcy for me". Hales had been unsuccessful while trying to claim for the damaged engine through the magazine's insurers.
David Piper's 917 is the only one owner car, from new, in the world.