IMSA Driver Puts Out Burning Porsche Race Car Himself

Jackson Wheeler
3 Min Read

Despite what Talladega Nights may have led you to believe, racing drivers are much more calm around fire than the average person.

No matter how on fire a car may seem from the outside, drivers often calmly finish their procedures before exiting and walking away at a normal pace. Some even go a step further and help the fire-fighting team. During this year’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, IMSA driver Jan Heylen went even further than that and put out an entire substantial fire himself.

(Ed. Note: See the fire at 21:32 of the video below):

Heylen was running second in the Wright Motorsports-run No. 16 Porsche 911 GT3 R during the closing laps of this year’s Petit Le Mans when the car caught fire after contact with a competitor, eventually erupting into a fireball that engulfed the whole engine bay. He then pulled over at a marshal’s post, hoping someone could put the fire out and save the car. With time of the essence, he asked for a fire extinguisher, walked back to the rear of the Porsche, and put the fire out himself.

jan heylen wright porsche 911 gt3 r after a fire

Daniel Hall

That quick action kept the car in surprisingly good shape. Despite a spectacular fire engulfing the engine bay for a fairly long time, photos from the paddock show that the Porsche still maintained most of the shape of a Porsche race car.

That burnt wreckage might still be salvageable, all because Heylen grabbed a fire extinguisher, took matters into his own hands, and got to work as if this was the hundredth burning Porsche engine he had dealt with.\

Update, 1:00 p.m. EST, October 16th: Multiple corner marshals at this year’s Petit Le Mans have clarified to Road & Track that IMSA regulations prevent them from going over the wall to help with fires without approval. While they were unable to fight the fire directly, a nearby corner worker did use the extinguisher to clear a path for Heylen to safely grab the bottle and put out the fire before a safety team arrived.

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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