Danish driver Allan Simonsen has suffered fatal injuries after crashing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans race in France. The tragic incident happened on just the third lap of the endurance sportscar event when the 34-year-old, competing in the race for the seventh time, spun off into the safety barriers at the notoriously quick Tetre Rouge bend, causing severe damage to his No. 95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8. On the 90th anniversary of the event, it is the first fatality in 27 years.
The organizers of Le Mans, The Automobile Club de l’Ouest issued a statement following the incident. “The driver was immediately attended on the scene by the doctors from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s Medical Service,” it read. “In a serious condition, Allan Simonsen was transferred immediately to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died soon after due to his injuries.
"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.”
The crash happened just 10 minutes after the endurance event got underway at the Circuit de la Sarthe, with the safety car being deployed for over an hour before racing was resumed. Being run for the 81st time, the race begun under difficult conditions with both rain and wind hampering the drivers.
Simonsen’s No95 car -- shared with Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen -- was competing in the GTE Am class and had set the fastest time in qualifying. In the GT2 class at Le Mans last year, Simonsen, a former Danish Formula Ford champion, finished second.