Tragedy at la Sarthe
Only 4 hours into the 24 Hours of Le Mans, #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE driver Allan Simonsen succumbed to injuries sustained in an early morning crash. Simonsen, the 34 year old Danish racing driver lead the GTE Pro Category from pole position on Saturday, until his impact at Tertre Rouge, which brought out the safety car. Simonsen was rushed to the medical center in serious condition, but injuries proved fatal.
This marks the first death in recent Le Mans history since the deaths of Sebastien Enjolras in 1997 and Jo Gartner in 1986. Simonsen was truly a racer, with wins in the Formula Ford, Australian GT, and Asian Le Mans Series. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Simonsen family and Aston Martin Racing – his 35th birthday only two weeks away.
We so often lose touch with the extreme athleticism and risk taking that drivers must commit to when competing at this level. Drivers like Ronnie Peterson, Jochen Rindt, Gilles Villeneuve, and the absolute best – Ayrton Senna – have made the ultimate sacrifice in search of ultimate speed, which grounds us in reality. Not anyone can go out there, put their foot to the floor, and make their cars dance across the tarmac. It takes an unbelievably skilled and talented individual to drive at the limit, over and over again. Today we mourn a man who could do just that, but we celebrate his life and commitment to the fraternity of the racing drivers.
July 5th, 1978 – June 22nd, 2013