A Melbourne McDonalds franchise owner crashed his $20 million McLaren in New Zealand on the weekend will face court next month over the accident.
Barry Leigh Fitzgerald, 63, ran off the road in his McLaren F1 on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road on New Zealand’s South Island on Saturday morning while part of a convoy of McLaren cars.
The car is worth an estimated $AU20 million. Last year a 1998 McLaren F1 LM sold for $US13.75 million, while actor Rowan Atkinson of Mr Bean fame sold his F1 – one of just 64 built for the road, out of 106 all up – for £8 million ($AU16 million) last year, having originally paid £540,000 ($1.08m) and despite crashing it twice.
Fitzgerald’s car, which has a top speed of 386km/h thanks to a 6.1-litre V12 engine, was travelling from Queenstown to Glenorchy as part of the New Zealand Road Tour, an event designed to pay tribute to the supercar maker’s founder, New Zealand F1 driver and car designer Bruce McLaren, when it appears to have it skidded and spun off the road into a ditch.
Organisers where quick to cover the car with a tarpaulin, but the skid marks could be clearly seen on the road and a freelance photographer who was first to arrive at the accident and began photographing it claims he was offered money by officials “to make this problem go away” before other media showed up.
Fitzgerald has been charged with operating a vehicle carelessly and is scheduled to appear in Queenstown District Court on January 16.
The car enthusiast owns McDonald’s franchises in Victoria, and his collection is believed to also includes a Bugatti Veyron.
Car #009 was first owned in Australian by former Coca Cola Amatil CEO, Dean Wills, then belonged to Prancing Horse Racing owner Tony Raftis before Fitzgerald purchased it a decade ago. It makes regular appearances at car shows and the Melbourne F1 GP.
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