GT driver Simonsen killed in Le Mans crash

Le Mans 24 Hours

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Danish racing driver Allan Simonsen lost his life in a crash in the opening stages of the Le Mans 24 Hours race earlier today.

Simonsen’s Aston Martin Vantage V8 (a sister car to the one pictured) hit the barrier at Tertre Rouge ten minutes into the race. Although he was attended to quickly by medical personnel and taken to the circuit’s medical centre he succumbed to his injuries.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest which organises th race issued the following statement:

“Allan Simonsen’s family has been informed immediately by David Richards, Principal of the Aston Martin Racing team.

“Allan Simonsen, an experienced driver aged 34, had taken part in seven 24 Heures du Mans.

“His team mates in the No.95 car were his fellow countrymen, Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen.

“The Automobile Club de l’Ouest wishes to express its great sadness following this incident, and extends its deepest condolences to the family and those close to Allan Simonsen.

“The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will make no further statement while the exact reasons for the accident are still being wholly determined.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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58 comments on “GT driver Simonsen killed in Le Mans crash”

  1. R.I.P
    It has to be a freak accident, looking at the car twisted to its side and into the barriers

    1. There’s a YouTube clip out there showing the moment the car left the track, if not the accident.

      Looks to be a combination of driver error, bad luck and possibly component failure – it just wobbled and snapped to the left after running over the kerb and there was basically no run off to slow down in.

      1. There is some fan footage of the crash on youtube with a few minute leading up to it. A number of cars hit the same wet paint and lose it too. Sadly his car regains grip and he goes directly to the wall rather than spinning.

        Very sad.

  2. RIP Allan Simonsen :(

  3. Theo (@theogregoire)
    22nd June 2013, 19:11

    Peace and Blessings Allan Simonsen.

  4. Wow. RIP. I only saw the marshals repair the barriers but just seeing that meant that there had to be an injury to the poor man. A few bruises or fatal? Unfortuanatly he is no longer with us. The whole world of motorsport is supporting his family. But this historic race must go on…

  5. An unfortunate reminder that motorsport still has a huge way to go to secure drivers’ safety. Rest in peace.

  6. the crash didn’t look that bad, as far as i can tell by that little piece of footage, still tragic though..

    1. Car snapped quite violently, unfortunately. Plus the greasy surface means he wouldn’t have slowed down a great deal.

      Very surprised they don’t have something else other than an armco right there.

      RIP. That was really difficult to watch.

      Hope Aston go and win for him!

      1. Meadow Wattret
        23rd June 2013, 15:39

        Poor him!
        I feel so sorry for those close to him

    2. I didn’t see the crash live, but I agree, compared to some of the more spectacular crashes we’ve seen at Le Mans recently it didn’t look too bad from the onboard shot I saw from the car behind. How deceptive it looks, and proof that no matter what machinery a driver is in, danger is ever-present. A tragic accident.

      May Allan Simonsen Rest in Peace.

      1. Yeah I agree, I thought it didn’t look too bad, then we heard he was conscious and talking, so i thought ok then, thats good, then an hour or two later they said he’d died, i was like WHAT?!

        We see so many huge crashes and drivers walk away like nothing happened, it shows motorsport will never be completely safe

    3. Think the same, didn´t watch the crash live, but in the video didn´t look that strong.

      Tragic lost and to certain point bad luck. Hope there is a investigation in why it happened and how they can prevend another death in accident like this.

    4. in a f1 at that speed would have been nothing. The problem is not the race track, but the safety standards for those gt3’s. The have to look into that.

      1. Theo (@theogregoire)
        24th June 2013, 16:16

        Agreed. And meanwhile F1 continues its quest for driver safety unabated:

  7. may he rest in peace !!

  8. Hmm, part of me wonders if he was looking ahead at the incident and thus slipped off the kerb without noticing. That would have unbalanced the car and led to it veering left. Kinda reminds me of spins I’ve seen on iRacing. But it sounds like the impact was head on to the barrier? A sad outcome to what should have been a great race.

    1. Yeah, he got onto the wet paint on the outside of the curb, oversteered and corrected, then when he came back onto the track it gripped up and spat him into the barriers on the outside of the corner. It’s possible the cars in front distracted him, he was a bit squirrelly in the preceeding corners too though.

      1. Remember a couple of years ago an F1 driver talking about how slippery the white lines are, specially after rain. That will explain how he lost control over the car for sure.

        1. They’ve just been painted on the Mulsanne in the past couple of weeks too.

  9. Wow that’s sad. Very strange to see the race carrying on like it didn’t happen. I hope AM wins in their category and dedicate the victory to him.
    I wonder if the rest of drivers have heard the news. Do you think this piece of news would affect a driver’s performance?

    1. Apparently his family urged the team to continue racing, thus wanting the race to continue too. Very brave of them & the team for pressing ahead. I personally believe that going ahead and trying to win their category in his honour & memory would be a much better tribute to him then ending the race.

  10. It was a big crash, the news was only surprising because we were told he was conscious and talking to medical staff. Sorry for his team and family, rooting for the Astons to bring home the win now.

  11. And yet Le Man goes on. The unforgiving de la sarthe…

  12. Rest in Peace Allan Simonsen, thoughts with his family, friends and team

  13. After so many nastier crashes (like McNish’s or Davidson), I’m extremely sad to see such an accident result to a death.

  14. Very sad, show that racing is still dangerous. RIP :(

  15. Tremendously sad to hear of this. Losing a fellow racing enthusiast is like losing a close friend. At least he died doing what he loves.

    I’m normally an AF Corsa fan, but I’m definitely pulling for Aston Martin today.

  16. I’ve had the race on all day, and saw the crash earlier. I think the commentators knew it was bad straight away, but I didn’t think for a second it could have been fatal.
    I think I’ve taken it for granted that motorsport these days is so safe. We’ve seen huge crashes from Webber and Kovalainen in F1, and McNish and Davidson at Les Mans, none of which have caused life threatening injuries. This is a major shock and a terrible loss.
    RIP Allan Simonsen.

    1. @bleeps_and_tweaks, @sigman1998, I think that the difference with those F1 and McNish/Davidson Le mans crashes are their cars are prototypes (F1 too) that have the safety cell crafted into them from the beginning of the design. In an accident they lose bits and look explosive (fly far because they are lighter too), but they are designed from the ground up around having that carbon fiber monocoque to take the energy of impact and protects the driver within from punctures.

      That is not the case with GT cars, obviously – yes, they have safety mechanisms, but not to the same standard, inevitably.

      Very sad.

      1. Theo (@theogregoire)
        23rd June 2013, 1:06

        My exact same sentiments. F1/LM Prototype carbon fibre monocoque based cars and modified GT cars are two completely different beasts.

      2. I had thought about that.

  17. After seeing the crash I had a feeling this was the sad news we would later receive. It is never good. A part of me thinks they should red flag the race and call it a day.

    1. Theo (@theogregoire)
      22nd June 2013, 21:10

      The Simonsen family specifically requested, in honor of Allan, that Aston Martin continue racing.

  18. Problems aside, RIP Simonsen.

    1. Always the opportunistic dig!!!

      Sad moment – the sport/s we love are always going to be dangerous….

  19. Very bad news to hear, the second victim in motorsport in 2 weeks (after the marshal’s death in Canada)
    May Allan Simonsen rest in peace

    1. And the third in about a month, Yoshinari Matsushita died at the Isle of Man. May they all RIP !

  20. I saw the crash live and at the time all signs were positive: he was conscious, but was being taken to hospital. And now I just got home and read this horrible news – pretty shocked. RIP Simonsen

  21. Very sad…RIP Allan Simonsen

  22. R.I.P

    I was in fact watching this live on TV. It happened Very beginning of the race. Toyota were showing strong pace then. The cameras were on them. There were only a couple of footages shown. I thought it was not very serious. Though the white curtain was a little troublesome. Very sad shows how fragile and dangerous this sport is.

  23. I didn’t see the first 6 hours of Lemans, but very sad news to get home to, and especially the Danish camp at Lemans must be in great shock. But I agree that the race must go on. I hope Aston Martin can go on and win their class and that Tom K. in Audi 2 can pay tribute to his late country man by winning. RIP Allan, thoughts to his family, close friends, team and especially to his daughter born in 2012 and her mother.

  24. R.I.P

    Heavy crash, from the video it seemed the rollbar was bent, that shouldn’t be easy to achieve.. black day in motorsport.

    Very impressive stuff unfortunately, hopefully Aston will win both category’s pro/am in his name.

  25. Rest in Peace Simonsen. Sometimes motorsport reminds us, just how fragile life can be. Engineers can create the most sophisticated safety structures, but sometimes, it matters naught.

    Its a sad day indeed.

  26. He has a very young child :(

    Word is that there was a tree very close behind the part of the barrier he hit, like almost right up against it and he basically hit the tree as the barrier flexed.

    1. Yup that entire run is basically trees right behind the Armco, though I honestly don’t think that’s so much of a problem because it wouldn’t really be any different then hitting a solid concrete wall (it wasn’t as if the car wrapped around the tree like you see with road cars).

      1. For me it did make sense, especially if you look at the rollhoop, it’s just bent, that should’ve took quite a bang.

  27. Was seeing it from tv, couldn’t have imagined that was about a fatal crash. The news after the crash were telling that he was ok and conscious…
    Btw, this pic it’s from Bruno Senna’s car not Simonsen.

  28. Rest in peace Allan Simonsen. You lived as I wish to, doing what you love.

  29. No one should die doing this. Motor Racing is dangerous. RIP Allan Simonsen.

  30. You lived the dream. RIP Allan Simonsen

  31. There is NO WAY to make any RACING activity free of the potential for the loss of life . They continue to make improvements in all forms of racing , Danger is inherant in the sport. The drivers accept that there is a potential for disaster EVERYTIME they take to the track.
    As Earnest Hemingway saidf ” Bull fighting , Sky diving and Auto Racing are sports . Everything else is just a Game”
    God speed Allan And the other driver in the other areas that lost their lives this weekend in pursuit of their Passions!

    1. Theo (@theogregoire)
      23rd June 2013, 19:43

      “There is NO WAY to make any RACING activity free of the potential for the loss of life”

      Of course not. But there is plenty of scope to nullify ‘needless’ death.

  32. Think it comes down to too hard deceleration.
    Hit the barriers sideways, the car did not break apart, but there was nearly no buffer at all to soften the impact. From high speed to stop in 0.1sec, that is too much for the body.

    A carbon monocoque would not have helped in that case.

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