As people lay dying, priests administered the last rites. The European media were quick to blame the playboy British driver for what had happened. He considered quitting the sport but the official inquiry exonerated him and said no single person could be held responsible. T he verdict was supported by Belgian racing driver and writer Paul Frere.
The tragedy could have been put down to many factors. For years rumours persisted that a secret fuel additive in a hidden extra fuel tank caused the car to explode when it hit the bank, though this has never been proved. The accident led to the imposition of new safety standards at Le Mans. Mercedes left Formula One at the end of the season, not to return for nearly 40 years. Hawthorn recovered his appetite for the sport and in won a thrilling duel with Stirling Moss to become the first ever British Formula One world champion. Having reached the pinnacle of his profession he then decided to retire and planned to marry the model Jean Howarth.
There was no happy ending.
The Worst Year In Auto Racing - Kindle edition by J Louis Frey, G Frey. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features. Due to the inherently dangerous nature of auto racing, many individuals, including drivers, crew members, officials and spectators, have been killed in crashes related to the sport, in races, in qualifying, in practice or in private testing sessions. Deaths among racers and spectators were numerous in the early years of Widely considered to be the worst accident amongst.
But it was not his kidney disease that killed Hawthorne. He died in minutes. Ironically, it may have been his fierce anti-German sentiment that killed him. So the man whom many held responsible for the horrors of Le Mans, met his own tragic and untimely death less than four years later. Levegh's car was catapulted into the air, killing him along with 81 other people.
Mercedes-Benz withdrew from motorsport competitions for 30 years after the incident. Loves cars, numbers, math, and graphs.
His love for numbers has much to do with the fact that he is a journalist that at one point in his life wanted and studied to become an economist. His love of cars overcame this minor issue, as his petrolhead nature took over. Part of the automotive world fo Read more DriveMag Tags. Home Red Calipers. The worst crashes in motorsport history These five horrific accidents will give you the chills. Alexandru Gugoasa. July 31st at pm July 31, July 15, Read more. Tags car history motorsport car accident.
Hawthorn travelled to Paris after his lover had asked him for help and five years later gave his young son a ride in his car when he and his mother visited England. There's a lot to be said about the history behind the combination of a McLaren chassis and a Honda engine, with the pairing that originally lasted just five years responsible for four consecutive sweeps of F1's World Driver's and World Constructor's Championships in the hands of the legendary Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. This time, the problem at hand was speed. Adriatic Rally. The Curragh. In January he took part in the fifth race of the season at the Riverside International Raceway in California.
Read our policy about the usage of your personal data. We might use these data for serving you more relevant personalized ads. We have always loved the sport of racing, whether it be directly competing or merely watching. At the turn of the 20 th century we replaced horses with internal combustion motors and brought competitive racing to a new level. Over years later, motorsports — or auto racing — is one of the most exciting spectator sports around. Almost every weekend somewhere you can find a competition that pits a field of racers against one another. We love the cars, the sounds they make, the drivers who fearlessly pilot them and all the drama that seems to unfold during and after every battle on the track.
What draws spectators to the race day itself is the competition and excitement occurring on the track. Drivers overtaking one another, cars breaking down, underdogs coming from behind to snatch a victory — these are all crowd pleasers.
Of course, what also attracts much attention to this high-speed sport are the crashes. When they do happen, crashes remind us that motorsports are exciting but extremely dangerous. The following list looks at 15 of the worst crashes in auto racing history. These crashes are all considered bad for a number of reasons.
Some are rated as the worst because of the number of people killed and injured. Other crashes are listed because of the spectacular nature of the crash itself. Many led to the introduction of new rules and regulations meant to keep drivers and fans safe, while others are simply remembered because they took the life of a well-liked or promising driver. Scott Kalitta was one of the most successful racers in American drag racing history.
Competing in the Funny Car and Top Fuel classes, he won 18 races and claimed two championship titles in and Near the end of the race his engine exploded, damaging the parachute meant to slow the car down. The dragster continued through the sand trap and over a retaining wall at approximately mph before striking a crane. Kalitta was killed from the impact.
In response, the NHRA shortened the length of the tracks to feet, lengthened sand traps and padded the retaining walls. Weatherly was known to be a practical joker and often stayed up to early hours of the morning even before a race partying with friends. He reportedly even undertook a practice while wearing a Peter Pan costume.
In January he took part in the fifth race of the season at the Riverside International Raceway in California. During this race he lost control and hit the wall. He had not been wearing a harness and did not have a window screen installed. Things were made even worse with wet conditions. On lap 2, Lauda lost control during a fast left-turn and struck the wall. His car burst into flames.
Engulfed in flames, Lauda was stuck in his car until fellow racers could help him get free. The German suffered severe burns and scars to his face. It was the last Grand Prix ever to be held at the old Nordschleife. In , conditions at Fuji Speedway were terrible, with heavy rain and very thick fog.
Before the start of the race the safety car had been going too fast before breaking suddenly. This caused two Porsches to aquaplane and collide. One Porsche settled on the grass off the track before a Ferrari , also aquaplaning, came out of the fog and struck it. Both cars burst into flames, with the Ferrari sliding across the track. Ota required plastic surgery for the burns to his face and never raced again.
On the final lap of the Daytona , heading into turn 4, Dale Earnhardt Sr. Earnhardt veered off the track before swinging back onto the racing surface. Later investigations suggest the force was equal to being dropped from a height of nearly 20 meters.
Unfortunately, Earnhardt Sr. At the Italian Grand Prix a mix-up with the starting signal caused the race to commence before all the drivers were in position. The resulting surge of vehicles from the back half of the pack caught up to the leaders and caused a major crash. Driver Ronnie Peterson became stuck in his burning car following the crash.
Peterson sustained leg injuries and minor burns but was pulled from the car by fellow drivers. Poor communication and decisions from race officials and medics meant he waited for nearly 20 minutes before help arrived. He died the next day in hospital from complications due to his injuries — complications which may have been avoided had medical help been administered much sooner. One of the earliest organized motorsport races was also one of the most dangerous. The first recognized car race occurred almost ten years earlier but as the race demonstrated, much more experience and practice was needed.
The competition was over km long and involved around racers who used cars and motorcycles.
No repairs were allowed between stages — only during race time. It is therefore unsurprising that around half of the vehicles retired or crashed during the race. The relative inexperience of officials, racers and crowds were also demonstrated with numerous crashes.
Drivers struck railway crossings signs, trees and each other. Cars caught on fire or fell apart. Spectators stood out on the road or ran in front of cars causing numerous crashes and injuries. By the end, eight people were confirmed killed and dozens of others were injured. Taking part in the race was 24 year old Canadian driver Greg Moore. He had been involved in an accident the week before the race when a vehicle knocked him off his motor-scooter. With an injured right hand, Moore was allowed to enter the final race.
On lap 9, Moore lost control of his car, spinning onto the infield grass at mph.