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Scary Formula Drift Fire Shows How Quickly Things Can Go Wrong in a Race Car

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Every now and then, we come across a video that reminds us just how dangerous racing can be. What started as an innocent ride-along for a fan at a Formula Drift event in Long Beach, California this past weekend quickly turned into a scary fire-related incident that, thankfully, didn’t end in any serious injuries. 

Kevin Darwish published a video to YouTube on Wednesday documenting his experience nearly burning to a crisp halfway through a ride-along inside a top-level Mustang RTR drift car driven by pro driver James Deane. 

The ride-along starts innocently enough, with Deane ripping a few donuts before tears into the high-speed street course at Long Beach. After just two turns a burst of smoke appears from under the hood, before quickly turning into fire. It takes about five seconds for the fire to begin to penetrate the cabin, and by then, Darwish and Deane are beginning to crawl out of their respective bucket seats and climb over the roll cage and out of the car. 

If you look closely, you can see Deane press what looks to be the button for the fire suppression system as soon as the fire begins, which briefly quells the flames. But less than a second later the fire becomes stronger than the firewall can handle, and the two crawl out and abandon any hope of saving the car. Somehow, both Deane and Darwish walk away relatively unharmed.

Video of the aftermath isn’t pretty. The entire front of the car is charred, and likely beyond saving. A peak into the engine bay reveals a fully burnt V-8 engine.

Darwish says he wasn’t told what went wrong with the RTR Mustang. Hopefully Deane and his team identify the problem so something like this doesn’t happen again.

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