Aston Martin Driver Killed In Opening Laps Of Le Mans
By Brandon Turkus
June 24, 2013
During the fourth lap of Saturday’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Aston Martin Racing driver Allan Simonsen was involved in a fatal crash when his Vantage GTE appeared to spin off the course at Tertre Rouge. He was 34.
The Dane was not new to the French endurance race, having taken part in seven previous races. He’d previously competed in Formula Three, Formula Renault, and V8 Supercars, and has been involved in the European Le Mans Series since 2005.
Simonsen’s death was the first during Le Mans since Jo Gartner was killed in 1986, and is the first at the track since Sébastien Enjolras was killed in practice for the 1997 race.
Aston Martin continued racing, at the express request of Simonsen’s family, taking third place in the GTE Pro class. The team was top of the class at one point until a crash, technical issues, and changing weather conditions left the lead Aston being outpaced by Porsche.
During the podium ceremony, a Danish flag was flown at half mast over the Le Mans stage, with countryman and overall winner for Audi, Tom Kristensen, dedicating his team’s victory to Simonsen.
Aston Martin also dedicated its third-in-class finish to Simonsen, with Dr. Ulrich Bez, CEO of Aston Martin paying the following tribute: “The tragedy in the opening hours of the race overshadowed the great performance of the Aston Martin Racing team. I am proud of everybody for demonstrating great speed, professionalism and competitiveness right up to the end of 24th hour. This achievement is a truly fitting tribute to Allan Simonsen.”