Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay was forced off the track at Snetterton on Saturday when the engine of his classic Porsche 911 caught fire.
The Grammy award-winning artist had teamed up with Sarah Bennett-Baggs in the Future Classics series, driving the distinctive pink Porsche sponsored by King’s Lynn-based insurance broker Adrian Flux.
But disaster struck two laps before the end of the 40-minute, two-driver race, when flames licked from the engine compartment with Kay at the wheel, forcing him to retire from his first race on the Snetterton 300 track. He was unhurt in the incident.
The main aim of the day, however, was for the singer-songwriter to collect another signature on the way to completing qualification for his National B racing licence.
“The plan was just to drive sensibly and bring it all home in one piece to get the signatures, but it had no power from the moment I got in it at the pit-stop,” he said.
“Luckily I still got the signature as we had completed more than 10 laps of the race.”
Bennett-Baggs added: “We both had a great fun weekend, and Jay has impressed everyone with how he just rocked up and got on with it, new car, new circuit, no fuss and he drove brilliantly. He will be very welcome to race again.”
The pair qualified in 22nd place on the 42-car grid after a wet test day on the Friday in the 1978 Porsche’s first outing after a heavy start-line accident at Castle Combe in 2008.
After a good start, things started to unravel when the rain came and Bennett-Baggs had to contend with a windscreen wiper failure.
After 23 minutes, she handed over to the rockstar racer, who has a private collection of more than 30 cars, but a short circuit sparked an electrical fire, melting the inlet manifold and causing a loss of power before flames brought an early conclusion to the pair’s race.
“Thankfully the car was not too badly damaged and will be back out for the next round at Brands Hatch,” said Bennett-Baggs.
Pictures: David Petts and Johnny Tipler