He’s racing royalty. Literally.
And to Beverly Hills residents, obnoxiously.
The owner of a yellow Ferrari valued in the seven-figures captured on video speeding through stop signs and blazing past pedestrians in the wealthy city is Sheikh Khalid bin Hamad al Thani of Qatar’s ruling family.
Al Thani has been dubbed the “patron sheikh” of drag racing by the press.
But over the weekend, the twenty-something was just a guy driving a very fancy car very fast, police said. Al Thani denied to officers who investigated the incident that anyone was driving recklessly. He also said he had diplomatic immunity, Beverly Hills police said.
After discussing the matter with the U.S. State Department and the Qatar consulate, authorities concluded the sheikh did not have such immunity, police Chief Dominick Rivetti said during a news conference Thursday.
The city will apply the law equally regardless of “who you are, who you know or where you are from,” Rivetti said, as top Beverly Hills officials stood behind him.
Warning: The following video contains repeated uses of profanity.
But since the video went viral, Al Thani has fled the country, police said. The Ferrari and white Porsche seen in the video also are gone.
Al Thani had sponsored Al-Anabi Racing, a team he’s poured millions into so it could rise to the top of the professional drag-racing circuit in a short time, before funding was abruptly withdrawn in January. The Wall Street Journal reported he’s been into racing since he was 12.
But police weren't able to prove who was behind the wheel in the video. After the video went online, police investigated but couldn’t find anyone willing to identify the drivers, said Lt. Lincoln Hoshino.
“No one produced any evidence of who was at the wheel of the two cars,” Hoshino said. “The drivers weren’t visible on the videos or photographs.”
Adam Bornstein, a car enthusiast who posted the video online, said up until that incident, the visitors from Qatar had kept a low profile in the city.
“They’ve been known to come and stay in the summer with their nice cars. For the most part, they’re very laid-back and mellow,” he said.
Until recently, Al Thani had been staying at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. When Bornstein heard that there was a Ferrari LaFerrari and Porsche 911 GT3 in Beverly Hills, he and his friend went by to check it out.
That’s when they saw the vehicles peel out in the neighborhood and speed around other motorists.
“It was pretty quick … a spur-of-the-moment thing,” he said of the drivers. “The bottom line – for the whole car community, it’s definitely a sad representation. … The whole buzz is everybody’s upset that this does not accurately represent what it’s like.”
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2:45 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout with new information, including the prince's name.
This article was originally posted at 8:10 a.m.
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