The sports car Paul Walker died in was so gnarly to drive ... Porsche WARNED its dealers, in writing, about letting just anyone drive the vehicle ... because it's hyper sensitive to road conditions.
TMZ obtained a copy of a memo sent from Porsche HQ to multiple dealers in the Midwest back in 2004 ... right before the $500K Carrera GT went on sale -- and it explains how ridiculously powerful the car is, but also that ... "this vehicle cannot drive over a Foster Beer can that is lying on its side."
In the doc, a Porsche exec says, "You need to be aware of what type of road surface you are on (dips; pot holes, seam heights, etc.)"
It's worth noting ... the road where Paul and Roger Rodas crashed is covered with reflective dots -- y'know, the ones you've probably driven over harmlessly thousands of times. Of course, you probably weren't driving the GT ... which some pro drivers have called "brutal and savage" and difficult to control.
Police are still investigating the exact cause of the accident, and, so far, have only said speed was a factor.
The exec's memo explains the GT is damn close to being a real deal racecar, but adds ... "This car has all the disadvantages of a racecar."
While Rodas was known to be an experienced driver -- the Porsche document makes it clear experience isn't always enough ... if the road surface isn't ideal.
Paul Walker Crash
The Moment Of Impact & Massive Inferno
12/2/2013 6:07 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The high speed crash that killed Paul Walker and Roger Rodas caused a huge explosion and fireball that could be seen for miles ... and it was all recorded on a security camera that captured the precise moment of impact.
The footage was recorded from a rooftop camera in an industrial park next to the crash site. It shows the initial collision (on the right of the screen) which caused the Porsche to explode in flames ... moments before another, larger blast sends a fireball high into the sky.
What's also interesting -- there appears to be no other cars either immediately in front of or behind the Porsche at the time of the crash.
As we reported, police were investigating whether Rodas had been involved in a high-speed street race before the accident.
I Once Hit 185 MPH...
On The Freeway!
12/2/2013 3:16 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker liked his cars fast fast fast -- in fact, he once boasted about hitting a top speed of 185 MPH -- and it wasn't on a racetrack ... it was on a freeway.
"The Fast & The Furious" star -- who died in a fiery car crash on Saturday -- made the revelation on GTChannel back in 2011 ... while taking a Nissan GT-R out for a test spin in Japan.
"The fastest I've ever gone is 184 to 186," Walker says on the video .... and then he reveals how fast he was clocked on an actual racetrack.
As TMZ reported ... law enforcement believes speed was a factor in the crash of the Porsche Carrera GT that killed Walker and his friend Roger Rodas in Santa Clarita, CA ... although it was Rodas -- not Walker -- who was driving at the time of the collision.
Paul Walker Crash
Cops Warn Fans ...
STOP BURNING RUBBER AT DEATH SCENE
12/2/2013 9:24 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The site where Paul Walker died has become a danger zone ... with some fans paying tribute to the actor by doing dangerous burn-outs, donuts and other high speed stunts -- and now cops tell us they're cracking down before someone else gets hurt.
In fact, one our of own TMZ producers personally witnessed the exhibitions of speed at the crash site -- people roll up, burn rubber, and peel out in an effort to pay tribute to the late "Fast and the Furious" star.
But cops say it's gotta stop before another tragedy occurs -- and we're told they're now on a mission to cite offenders and impound vehicles in an effort to stop the trend ASAP.
Paul Walker Crash
Cops Wrestled Friend Away from Burning Car
12/2/2013 7:35 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
This is the dramatic moment when a cop had to physically wrestle one of Paul Walker's friends away from the crash scene ... seconds after it became clear Paul could not be saved.
TMZ broke the story ... Paul's friends rushed to the scene -- one even grabbed a fire extinguisher and desperately tried to extinguish the flames.
When the fire dept. arrived they tried to pull Paul's friends away. One of Paul's longtime friends, a guy named Nute, was so overwrought with emotion, he punched a firefighter. We're told Sheriff's deputies put Nute -- and several other of Paul's friends -- in custody, but let them go when they realized the circumstances.
Cops now believe Paul and the driver of the Porsche may have been in a street race with another car at the time of the crash and are looking for footage and witnesses.
Paul Walker Crash
Cops Investigating Possible Street Race
12/2/2013 6:28 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Cops are investigating the possibility that Paul Walker was in the middle of a high-speed street race with another car at the time he crashed and died this weekend ... TMZ has learned.
Law enforcement sources tell us ... investigators have received tips that Walker and the man driving the Porsche, Roger Rodas, had been racing prior to the crash ... and the high speed may have contributed to the wreck that killed both men.
Sources say ... the area where the crash occurred has a history of being a popular street racing location.
We're told cops are on the hunt for video and witnesses that could prove another car was involved.
Story developing ...
Death Car May Have Malfunctioned
12/2/2013 6:25 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
The exotic sports car in which Paul Walker violently died, crashed as a result of mechanical failure -- very possibly a steering fluid leak ... this according to sources closely tied to the auto shop where the vehicle was stored and maintained.
Sources connected to Always Evolving -- the shop co-owned by Walker and the Porsche driver Roger Rodas -- tell TMZ they saw evidence of a fluid burst and subsequent fluid trail before the skid marks at the accident scene.
The AE sources point to the fact there is a noticeable absence of skid marks until just before the point of impact. They say if Roger had lost control the skid marks would show swerving, but instead the marks were in a straight line. They feel this cements the theory the driver didn't have steering control.
Also suspicious -- the fire spreading so quickly in the front of the car. The sources say flames would be expected in the rear where the engine is ... but fire in the front reinforces their theory of a fluid leak of some sort.
We're told the $500,000 Carrera GT was NOT modified and was driven rarely so they believe any failure must be a factory defect.
As one source put it ... "Roger was a world class driver" -- and while he might have been speeding (as cops have said) ... the notion he just lost control is preposterous.
Death Vigil Grows
Hundreds of Fans Visit Crash Site
12/2/2013 6:19 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker fans have been heading to Valencia, CA in droves ... building out a massive vigil for the actor on the spot where he died.
Fans began to gather literally hours after the fatal crash on Saturday evening ... and by Sunday night, the memorial had grown exponentially ... with hundreds of flowers, candles, photos trinkets and letters.
As we previously reported, Walker's "Fast and the Furious" co-star Tyrese Gibson visited the crash scene yesterday ... and broke down crying when he arrived.
How He Ended Up in Death Car
12/1/2013 4:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker may not have ever gotten into the car that took him to his death if it hadn't been acting up moments before the crash ... TMZ has learned.
Paul showed up Saturday for a fundraiser at Always Evolving -- Roger Rodas' high end auto shop that specializes in exotic cars. Paul had a stake in the shop.
Sources connected to Roger tell TMZ when Paul arrived ... Roger was watching one of his employees try in vain to back the Carrera GT into the shop, but it kept stalling. Roger decided to take matters into his own hands ... told the worker to get out and took the wheel himself.
As Roger began to back into the garage ... Paul came up and said he hadn't driven in the Porsche yet -- so he jumped in the passenger seat and they took a 20 minute drive.
The fatal accident happened on the way back from that drive -- just 500 yards from the shop.
Paul's best friend from childhood, Nute, grabbed a fire extinguisher and was among the first to arrive on scene. We're told Nute frantically tried to extinguish the flames ... even though it appeared to him both men were already dead.
When the fire dept arrived they tried to pull Nute away, but he was overwrought and punched a firefighter. We're told Sheriff's deputies put Nute -- and several other of Paul and Roger's friends -- in custody, but let them go when they realized the circumstances.
... Autopsy Delayed
12/1/2013 9:15 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker's body was burned so badly the coroner needs his dental records to identify the body ... TMZ has learned.
A rep for the L.A. County Coroner tells us ... the bodies of Paul and his friend/business partner Roger Rodas are currently unidentifiable and their autopsies will be delayed until later this week.
We're told the coroner is waiting on both sets of dental records before proceeding.
Rodas -- who was driving the Porsche yesterday -- was friends with Walker for nearly a decade ... and Roger has been credited with helping Paul start his race shop.
The two also joined forces to create the "Reach Out World Wide" Foundation to help disaster relief in other countries -- and as we first reported ... the group was behind yesterday's fundraiser for typhoon relief in Santa Clarita.
Paul's rep says Roger and Paul were leaving the event when they wrecked.
Rodas was 38 years old.
Final Moments Before Fatal Ride [Photo]
12/1/2013 8:30 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Moments before Paul Walker took what turned out to be a fatal ride -- he posed proudly next to the exotic car that exploded on impact in the deadly accident.
Paul was photographed with the red 2005 Porsche Carrera GT that belonged to his friend Roger Rodas. They were attending a fundraiser in Santa Clarita, CA.
We're told the photos and video were taken about 30 minutes before the accident.
As TMZ first reported ... Paul had put together the charitable event -- through his Reach Out Worldwide organization -- to support typhoon relief efforts in the Philippines.
Paul was the passenger in the Porsche when Rodas lost control and slammed into a tree. The car exploded, and the Sheriff's Department says speed was a factor.
Candlelight Vigil at Crash Site
12/1/2013 7:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker fans paid tribute to the 40-year old actor last night by holding a candlelight vigil on the site where he died.
The fans showed up in Santa Clarita Saturday evening ... leaving flowers and lighting candles in Paul's memory.
The vigil was held very shortly after law enforcement cleared the scene -- removing the bodies of Paul and the driver Roger Rodas ... as well as the charred wreckage of Roger's Porsche Carrera GT.
The cause of the accident is under investigation, but witnesses tell us Roger was speeding at the time. Sheriff's deputies confirm speed definitely played a part.
Dead at 40
In Fiery Car Crash
11/30/2013 5:50 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
Paul Walker -- best known for his role in "The Fast and the Furious" movies -- died Saturday afternoon after a single-car accident and explosion in Southern California ... TMZ has learned.
The accident happened in Santa Clarita -- north of Los Angeles -- and Paul was the passenger in the two-seater Porsche Carrera GT when the driver somehow lost control and slammed into a post or a tree ... and the car burst into flames.
Several of our sources -- some of whom were at the scene of the accident -- tell us a friend of Paul's was driving and was also killed in the fiery wreck.
Cops say speed clearly played a major factor in the accident, but an exact cause has not been determined yet.
Paul was 40 years old. He leaves behind a 15-year-old daughter named Meadow.
Paul's rep tells us he was in Santa Clarita for a car show -- organized by Paul and his charitable organization Reach Out Worldwide -- to support the Philippines typhoon relief effort.
Several of his friends were attending the event ... which was very near to where the deadly accident happened.
One of Paul's friends talked to a TMZ photographer ... describing the scene ... and his efforts to save Paul from the burning car.
Paul took a pic with a fan at the event earlier on Saturday, and the guy posted it ... noting how happy Walker was just hours before the crash.
The fan added, "The world lost an angel in Paul. He dedicated so much of his life to helping disadvantaged kids and people who are in need. I'm gonna do whatever I can to keep Paul's goals for the charity alive."