5 reasons the car Paul Walker died in was different

7:53 AM, Dec 3, 2013   |    comments
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(CNN) -- It has three times the horsepower of the average car. It's notoriously difficult to handle, even for professional drivers. And now, it's known as the car actor Paul Walker was riding in when he died.

Both Walker and his driving team partner, who was behind the wheel, died after the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT they were in slammed into a pole and burst into flames. Los Angeles County authorities say speed was a factor in the crash and are investigating how fast the exotic car was going.

So why is the 2005 Porsche Carrera GT so different from other street cars? Here are five reasons:

1) It flies on the road

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The sports car has a top speed of 208 mph, a very high-revving V10 engine and more than 600 horsepower, said Eddie Alterman, editor-and-chief of Car and Driver magazine.

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"This was not a car for novices," Alterman said. "Actually, the Carrera GT program began as a racing program."

Todd Trimble, an exotic car mechanic in Las Vegas, said the Carrera GT is a "very hard car to drive."

"It's (a) pure racer's car. You really need to know what you're doing when you drive them. And a lot of people are learning the hard way."

2) It's incredibly expensive

Brand new, the car costs $450,000.

An oil change alone costs $900, Trimble said.

3) The engine is in the middle

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Having the engine in the middle of the car means it's more agile and turns more quickly than a car with the engine in the front or in the rear.

The Carrera GT is able to change direction "very quickly, very much like a race car," Alterman said.

"It was beyond a super car. It is what we call a hyper car."

4) It has no stability control

The Carrera GT is also unusual because it has no electronic stability control. That means it's unforgiving with mistakes.

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"Stability control is really good at correcting slides, keeping the car from getting out of shape," race car driver Randy Pobst said.

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Pobst coached the actors in the second "Fast & Furious" movie -- including Paul Walker.

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"Paul was by far the best driver -- a natural car guy," he said.

Alterman said learning to drive a car like a Carrera GT can be extremely tricky.

"Every car is sort of different. And this one, especially since it had such a hair-trigger throttle, because it changed directions so quickly, there is a lot to learn."

5) There are only 1,300 of them

Porsche made only about 1,300 Carreras GTs -- and they're disappearing fast.

"They're getting rarer and rarer," Trimble said. "Most of the time, when they do get wrecked, there's not much left of them."

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CNN's Sarah Aarthun contributed to this report.

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