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Le Mans - 1969 - John Woolfe fatal crash

Soon after the start the poor handling of the 917 and the inexperience of the driver resulted in a drama: the death of British driver John Woolfe on lap 1 when his private Porsche 917 crashed at Maison Blanche. Woolfe was killed, probably due the fact that he had not bothered to put on his safety belt. This was likely done because of the style of the traditional start used at Le Mans until that year, in which drivers were required to run across the track to their cars, climb in and get it started as quickly as possible to pull away from the grid. Woolfe likely sacrificed strapping his safety belts in order to gain a better start. The nearly full fuel tank from Woolfe's car became dislodged and landed in front of the oncoming Ferrari 312P of Chris Amon. Amon ran over it, causing it to explode under his car, which led to his retirement. The race was stopped for 2 hours due to these two first lap incidents, but was eventually restarted.


 


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Buenos Aires 1000Km - 1971 - Ignazio Giunti fatal accident
Ignazio Giunti (30 August 1941 - 10 January 1971) was an Italian racing driver who made his name in saloon and Sports Car Racing in the late 1960s. Tragedy struck in his first drive in 1971 whilst racing in the 1000 km Buenos Aires race, when his Ferrari 312PB prototype ploughed into the back of the Matra 660 of Jean-Pierre Beltoise, who was pushing the car along the track after it had run out of fuel. The impact and the subsequent fire gave the popular Italian no chance of survival.





Tragédie des 24H du Mans 1955





Indy 500 - 1982 - Gordon Smiley fatal crash
In 1982, record speeds were being set during qualification for the 1982 Indianapolis 500. Both Kevin Cogan and Rick Mears set new single lap and 4-lap records in their attempts. Smiley went out for a qualifying attempt an hour later. On the second warm up lap his car began to oversteer while rounding the third turn, causing the car to slightly slide. When Smiley steered right to correct this, the front wheels gained grip suddenly, sending his car directly across the track and into the wall nose first at nearly 200 mph (320 km/h). The impact shattered and completely disintegrated the March chassis, causing the fuel tank to explode, and sent debris — including Smiley's exposed body — tumbling hundreds of feet across the short-chute connecting turns 3 and 4. Smiley died instantly from massive trauma inflicted by the severe impact. His death was the first at Indy since 1973, and to date, the last driver to die during qualifying. CART medical director Steve Olvey discussed the crash in his autobiography, Rapid Response while on staff:





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La carrera de la muerte - Le Mans del 11 de junio de 1955
La tragedia de las 24 horas de Le Mans. 11 de junio de 1955 en el circuito de la Sarthe. Murió el piloto Pierre Levegh y 82 espectadores. Documental acerca de la trágica catástrofe de Le Mans 1955. The History Channel. A las seis y media de la tarde (hora local GMT+1) el Mercedes 300 SLR conducido por la pareja Juan Manuel Fangio -- Stirling Moss luchaba por encabezar la prueba con el Jaguar conducido por Mike Hawthorn - Ivor Bueb tras haber conseguido sacar una vuelta a la mayor parte de sus rivales. Hawthorn en plena lucha con Juan Manuel Fangio, adelantó a un Austin Haeley, conducido por el piloto británico Lance Macklin, a la entrada de la línea derecha de las tribunas pero, de repente, frenó y decide entrar a los boxes. Sorprendido, el piloto del bólido que acababa de ser doblado hizo una brusca maniobra hacia la izquierda sin ver que dos Mercedes, a toda velocidad, se le echaban encima. El primero lo conducía el francés Pierre Levegh, con una vuelta de retraso y el segundo El Chueco Fangio. El drama se produjo en tan sólo unos pocos segundos. En un último acto reflejo, Levegh levantó la mano para advertir a Fangio del peligro. Después, chocó contra el Austin y, a más de 200 kilómetros por hora, su Mercedes "despegó" para abatirse, explotando, sobre las tribunas repletas de espectadores. El Mercedes de Pierre Levegh se desintegró totalmente, el motor y otras piezas del chasis dejaron un rastro de muertos y heridos en su vuelo sobre las tribunas, incluyendo al propio Levegh cuyo cuerpo quedó tendido sobre la pista. Entre los motivos de la fuerte deflagración se encuentra el hecho de que muchas partes del vehículo estaban compuestas de magnesio, que genera una fuerte explosión y dificulta las labores de extinción, dado que el agua actúa como potenciador de las llamas. Los organizadores de la prueba, sin embargo, no interrumpieron la carrera, que prosiguió mientras las ambulancias iban y venían. Los espectadores situados en otras zonas del circuito tardaron horas en conocer el alcance de la tragedia. La organización argumentó que la suspensión de la carrera hubiera dificultado las labores de evacuación de los heridos, por la probable invasión de las vías de emergencia. Pierre Levegh contaba con 49 años de edad en el momento de su muerte. Durante la noche, el equipo Mercedes Benz, que encabezaba las 24 Horas, decidió retirarse de la carrera, por orden explícita de la sede central de la marca en Stuttgart. Al día siguiente, bajo una fría lluvia y un ambiente aún más glacial, Hawthorn y Bueb lograron para Jaguar su tercera victoria en Le Mans. La retirada de Mercedes de las competiciones automovilísticas se prolongó hasta el año 1987. Dos días después, las autoridades galas prohibieron las competiciones automovilísticas en Francia. En Alemania, España y Suiza siguieron el ejemplo francés y suspendieron sus Grandes Premios, para evitar que se repitiera una tragedia que conmocionó a Europa y al resto del mundo. El accidente contribuyó de forma clara a cambiar las políticas acerca de la aceptación del peligro en las carreras de automovilismo y a la exigencia de más seguridad en las carreras, tanto para los competidores como para los espectadores, por ejemplo, en 1955 los automóviles de carreras no contaban con cinturones de seguridad, los pilotos decían que no querían estar atados al auto en caso de incendio ya que no contaban con uniformes antifuego con tela Nomex. Los cascos posteriormente cubrirían toda la cabeza de los corredores.





2012 Le Mans Classic - Porsche 917 - Grid 5 - Enjoy the sound of the Porsche Flat 12 !
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Jaguar History - 1955 Le Mans disaster
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Le Mans 1971 - Porsche 917 Gijs van Lennep en Dr. Helmut Marko
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Compilation Le Mans Classic : spin, crash, onboard Part 3
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Le Mans - 1972 - Jo Bonnier fatal crash
Jo Bonnier was involved in an accident on the straight between Mulsanne Corner and Indianapolis at Le Mans in 1972 when his open-top Lola-Cosworth T280 collided with a Ferrari Daytona driven by a Swiss amateur driver Florian Vetsch. His car was catapulted into the trees and he was killed. Fellow racer Vic Elford saw the Ferrari burning furiously, and pulled his Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 over to the right side of the track and ran across the track to the Ferrari, opening the door, attempting to get Vetsch out. But Vetsch had already gotten out of the car and was on the side of the track where Elford had parked his Alfa. Elford saw Vetsch and then saw the wreckage of Bonnier's yellow Lola in the woods next to the track. According to Elford, the last he saw of Bonnier's Lola was that it was "spinning into the trees like a helicopter". Elford later handed off his Alfa to Helmut Marko, but the gearbox froze solid and they dropped out of the race. Elford later said "it was the first time in my racing career I'm glad my car broke."





Horror Crash Audi Le Mans 2011
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Ford GT40 - 1968 24 Hours of Le Mans
Wonderful period video from brake pad manufacturer Ferodo on the 1968 Le Mans race from the standpoint of John Wyer's Gulf Oil Ford GT40 team, who won the race. The first 4 minutes shows a high speed in-car lap around Le Mans narrated by Stirling Moss. Wonderful video with footage of Alfa Romeo 33s, Porsche 908s, Matras, etc....





Mike Burgmann Bathurst ATCC Fatal Crash Live Full, Unedited (aftermath)
Live footage of the aftermath of Mike Burgmann's tragic accident. No footage of actual crash exists. RIP Mike Burgmann.





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