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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 January, 2005, 10:38 GMT
Actor Newman escapes racing fire
Paul Newman
Newman has been a fan of racing driving for more than 30 years
Hollywood actor Paul Newman has escaped unharmed after a sports car he was testing caught fire at Daytona Beach in Florida on Saturday.

Organisers said flames appeared from the engine compartment of Newman's car when he tried to restart the engine after going into a spin on a turn.

Newman, 79, was quoted as saying: "I don't know what happened. I'm fine it just caught fire somehow."

The actor and racing car enthusiast was practising for an event next month.

He was driving his No 79 Silverstone Racing/Newman Racing Ford Crawford in preparation for the Rolex 24 race.

He has already won the GTS class in Rolex 24 At Daytona in 1995.

Organisers The Grand American Road Racing Association said on their website that the fire did not go beyond the engine compartment.

"Newman made his way out of the car, was taken to the track's infield medical centre for precautionary measures and was released," it added.

The actor has been a racing car enthusiast for more than 30 years and has competed in events around the US and elsewhere, such as Le Mans, France.

But he is best known for an Oscar-winning career that has seen him make more than 50 films, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Hustler and Cool Hand Luke.

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