Drivers of supercars and super-SUVs, especially those with a strong YouTube or other social media presence, will be coming under increasing scrutiny following the death of a child in Italy.
A five-year-old boy, named locally as Manuel Prioretti, travelling as a passenger in a Smart ForFour was killed when the hatchback was struck by a Lamborghini Urus SUV. The boy’s mother and sister were also injured in the incident.
According to Italian police, the Lamborghini was used for a YouTube challenge film in which a team, led by Matteo Di Pietro, were attempting to drive it for 50 hours without stopping.
The road on which the incident took place — in Casal Palocco, a suburb of Rome — has a 30km/h (18mph) speed limit, but the Italian authorities have not indicated how fast the Lamborghini was travelling at the time of the impact.
The film was being shot for Di Pietro’s YouTube channel The Borderline, and one aspect of the case causing outrage is that, according to reports, the team continued filming after the crash. One of the party is said to have told those at the scene: “Don’t worry, we’ll give a lot of money to the family [of the victim] and everything will be sorted.”
The Borderline has 600,000 subscribers and last year had earnings of €200,000 from YouTube advertising revenue.
The channel has in the past been sponsored by Japanese electronics giant Sony, donating camera equipment used to make some of its films. Sony had previously tweeted about the channel, praising its “entertaining” films, but that tweet has since been deleted.
It has emerged that Di Peitro’s father, Paulo is a former employee of the Italian president’s office, and was investigated — but subsequently cleared — for an accounting scandal.
This is far from the first time that a combination of YouTube and supercars has led to tragedy. In 2018, the popular gaming YouTuber McSkillet — actually called Trevor Heitmann — was killed in a head-on collision between a McLaren supercar he was driving (on the wrong side of the road) and an SUV. A woman and her daughter were also killed in the incident. Heitmann was not filming at the time.
In 2022, a video was posted of an illegal street race in California following a massive high-speed impact involving a Chevrolet Corvette supercar. The car split in two and left its engine lying several yards away. Miraculously, no-one was injured.
Then there was the case of YouTuber Darius Dobre, part of the Dobre Brothers channel. Dobre had bought a hugely expensive, hugely powerful V10-engined Lamborghini Huracan STO supercar, but crashed it through a fence at a racetrack while filming, severely damaging the car.
A far more tragic case took place in Mexico, on the Atlacomulco-Acambay Pan-American highway when a high-powered V8-engined Chevrolet Camaro, driven by YouTuber Heisenwolf (real name: Amado Amir Gonzalez) crossed the central reservation and struck a taxi. Seven people died in the incident, including Gonzalez himself, five other adults and a ten-year-old child, all of whom had been in the taxi.
Supercar-based controversy doesn’t always have to involve speed and accidents. A YouTuber known as Doctor Troller came in for sharp criticism when, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, he parked a bright red Lamborghini outside the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. That wouldn’t have been so bad in itself, except that the car was covered in advertisements for a phony Covid-19 cure, followed by his contact details. It was also parked on a double-yellow line, reports noted.
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