Tragedy has hit the greatest sports car in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. 10 minutes into the race, Aston Martin driver Allan Simonsen lost control at one of the track's famous turns, Tertre Rogue. The car struck a barrier hard, causing significant damage to the car. Despite all efforts to save him, Simonsen's injuries proved fatal. He was 34 years old, a professional racer from Denmark who was in his 7th Le Mans race. His #95 Aston Martin was leading the World Endurance Championship points in the GTE Amateur class. Aston Martin Racing has four other cars in the race. They will continue at the request of Simonsen's family.
This is the first death at Le Mans in 16 years, which doesn't make it any less shocking or sad. While racing always has risks, time will tell how preventable this accident was. One thing that's been brought up already are the safety barriers at Le Mans. While major racing events in America use the SAFER barriers, and while Formula One have their own high-tech safety barriers, Le Mans still uses the mid-20th century Armco. Making the crash worse was that the specific Armco Simonsen struck was directly behind a tree. This gave the Armco no give at all, meaning it did not absorb the energy it normally does.
That is all just speculation now. Our condolences to the family, friends, and teammates of Allan Simonsen.
(Photo Credit: Aston Martin Racing via V8SCGlobal.com)
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