24 Hours of Le Mans is not only one of the most popular and renowned endurance races in the world, but it's also one of the safest. However, it took only 10 minutes for that to change on Saturday as Aston Martin Racing driver Allan Simonsen spun out and skidded into the barrier at the Tertre Rouge corner. He was promptly removed from his vehicle and transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. He was only 34-years-old.
"Tragically, and despite the best efforts of the emergency services in attendance, Allan's injuries proved fatal," Aston Martin said in a statement.
Simonsen death was the first fatality at 24 Hours of Le Mans since 1997 when Sebastien Enjolras passed away following a crash during pre-qualifiying. The last in-race death occurred in 1986 when Jo Gartner passed away following a crash.
Simonsen's partner, Carina, who is also the Mother of his daughter, made a "specific request" for the race to continue. And after a one hour delay to fix the guardrail where the crash happened, it did.
"Allan was an extremely talented and experienced sportscar driver who had raced in every corner of the world and was highly respected by his peers and his team," Jean Todt, the FIA president, and Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest which organizes the race said in a joint statement. "For many in endurance racing, Allan was above all a good friend who displayed his passion for racing on and off the track. His loss will be felt by the FIA, the ACO and the greater motorsport family."
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Simonsen family, as well as all his friends and his team.24 Hours of Le Mans, Allan Simonsen, Aston Martin Racing, Motorsports