Not a good way to start this years 24 Hours of Le Mans, Danish Aston Martin driver Allan Simonsen has succumbed to his injuries following a massive crash on lap 3. We waited for 3 and a half hours for news, and unfortunately it has just been confirmed.
It clear that was a terrible accident based on the state of the car when it came to a stop on the track, I don’t think there was a tyre wall where he went off either. I followed Allan for a few years mainly through his racing in the British GT Championship so it was a bit of a shock when his passing was announced live on Eurosport. Many drivers survive serious accidents and we think of how safe the cars and the circuits have become, we forget though how dangerous motorsport still is.
There’s a full page dedicated to Allan Simonsen in the Oxford Mail today, they mention that the investigation into the incident is focusing on ‘circumstances in the race’ which could include the car that went off just ahead of Allan before he crashed.
Has anybody seen anything on what the cause of death was yet? From pictures I’ve seen the cockpit (atleast the outside of it) seemed rather fully intact except for the passenger door. The windshield was still in place & the roof wasn’t caved in (the entire chassis appeared tweaked a bit through) and it didn’t appear as if anything from the engine compartment was shoved back into the cabin (atleast from the outside where there honestly looks to be rather little body-panel damage for as big of a hit as it was.
I also wonder if the reports (offical & otherwise) of him being conscious & alert after the accident were deliberately falsified so that way family members watching on TV wouldn’t learn of his death via the TV. (though if I’m a family member I’m not sure what is worse, having false hope because of a lie or hearing on TV that your relative died before they could call you & let you know).
“There was no evidence of penetrating injuries, and no evidence of blunt force trauma. Thus the likely cause of this terrible tragedy is almost certainly to be related to a sudden deceleration injury, either to the brain, or to the aorta.”
I don’t really want to speculate on what the cause of death was because I think that would be wrong at this time but I do have one thought.
Just thinking back to Sergio Perez’s accident at Monaco in 2011, that Sauber car did what it was designed to do with the crumple zones at strategic points on the car and the tecpro barriers also absorbed some of the impact having lost control at high speed. Even with all of that though, a human body is not ‘designed’ to decelerate that quickly and the effects of that meant Perez missed Monaco and Canada that year.
I’ve seen several pictures of this tree right behind the bent and twisted armco barrier with a large chunk taken out of it. certainly the barrier did the job of flexing and absorbing impact, but the massive tree trunk behind it didn’t. If that’s the case then it makes it even more horrible.