from The Daily Beast

Street-Racing Arab Playboys Tear Up L.A.

by M.L. Nestel
Photo Illustration by Emil Lendof/The Daily Beast

The Qatari sheikh who staged an illegal street race through Beverly Hills is just one of a cohort of rich, car-obsessed Arabs who are eyeing L.A. as their new favorite vacation spot.

The speed-freak Qatari sheikh who fled the U.S. after running into trouble with cops—for allegedly staging a private Grand Prix in Beverly Hills—was living the high life in California, renting a palatial abode for $55,000 a month, The Daily Beast has learned.

Cops suspect that Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al-Thani was behind the wheel of an unregistered Giallo Modena yellow Ferrari LaFerrari that street-raced another driver (in a Porsche GT3) for over 30 minutes on September 12, and “almost killed someone” as throngs of neighborhood kids gawked on the sidewalks.

Meanwhile, a source who had been shadowing al-Thani said that his brother arrived in L.A. also sporting multimillion-dollar wheels—a satin white LaFerrari—and that his car magically “had a California plate on it within a day of arrival.”

Several kids in the neighborhood claimed to have seen the race. “I was by the house and watched as they sped by my house and they woke up my parents, who were sleeping,” said one 10-year-old. “Next day, [the sheikh’s family] were gone.”

Another 10-year-old boy was revved up over the Ferrari festivities. “It was really loud,” he said, smiling, as his mother looked on disapprovingly. “I was playing in the alley and the car started smoking,” he said. (The smoking, a source with knowledge of autos said, “was caused by dumb driving… [the sheikh] drove the car when it was cold and the oil wasn’t properly warmed up.”)

The mother of the boy admitted the illegal event “was exciting for the kids” but she remains “really pissed.”

“They think they can come here and do whatever they want,” she said. After the roadsters roared by the family’s home multiple times, she said her husband shouted: “Those motherfuckers.”

Other neighbors (most of them parents) had seen the cars go by before but on this particular weekend, one mother said, “they let it rip.”

[ click to read full article at The Daily Beast |