Fatal accidents always prompt talk regarding what could’ve been done to prevent such events from occurring, and now, those talks will surround the 24 Hours at Le Mans.
Allan Simonsen passed away from injuries sustained at 24 Hours of Le Mans on Sunday after crashing into the barrier around 10 minutes after the race’s start. Here’s an excerpt from a statement provided by 24 Hours of Le Mans officials:
The driver was immediately attended on the scene by the doctors from the Automobile Club de I’Ouest’s Medical Service.
In a serious condition, Allan Simonson was transferred immediately to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died soon after due to his injuries.
Here’s what Nick Bromberg of Yahoo! Sports saw:
After starting first in the LM GTE Am class, Simonsen’s car appeared to snap loose on the damp and slick track, then immediately turned back to the left has he corrected and slid into a steel barrier.
This isn’t the first time that a major accident has occurred at 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Two years ago, there was a pair of major crashes that transpired at the race. Allan McNish collided with a Ferrari, slammed into the barrier and flipped very high into the air, according to Geoffrey Miller of Yahoo! Sports. Later in the race, Mike Rockenfeller crashed into the wall going around 170 mph, per Miller’s article.
Neither of the crashes left the drivers with life-threatening injures.
A year ago, Anthony Davidson was a part of a huge crash at the race. Davidson made contact with another driver and then flipped into the barrier, according to BBC. Davison suffered a pair of broken vertebrae from the crash, per BBC, and has only competed in one race since.
Well that was a big one! Lying in a French hospital with a broken back wasn't what I had in mind at this stage in the race...— Anthony Davidson (@antdavidson) June 16, 2012
Now, a driver has been killed at the race.
Something has to be done in order to prevent future serious injuries. Crashing in motorsports is something that’s just a part of the sport, but there are precautions that can be taken to limit the frequency and severity of these injuries. The officials at 24 Hours of Le Mans need to sit down and figure out a plan going forward.
Will adjustments be made for next year's race?
There are certainly solutions to the problem.
In all three races described above, each had to deal with a car hitting the barrier. While the barrier is there to prevent a series of events from happening—including protecting those watching the race live—it seems to be doing more bad than good.
There must be some way to reduce the amount of force a driver experiences when crashing into the barriers. If a driver crashes into a barrier and the car flips high into the air, which can lead to the death of the driver, things have to change. It’s very easy to understand.
Now, do something about it.