The final 45-minute practice session before the start of the 24 Hours of Le Mans just started on a very wet track after heavy early morning rain.
The 2012 24 hours of Le Mans is about to begin today at 15:00. It is one of the most beautiful race, but on the same time one of the most dangerous race event.
During the running of the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11, Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes 300 SLR crashed into a track-side embankment, sending debris flying into a crowd of fans.
Levegh and 83 spectators were killed, 120 others were injured in the most catastrophic accident in motorsport history. The race was continued, officially in order to prevent departing spectators from crowding the roads and slowing down ambulances.
Eight hours after the accident, while leading the race, the Mercedes team withdrew the cars of Juan Manuel Fangio/Stirling Moss and Karl Kling/André Simon. Mercedes invited Jaguar to also retire, but they declined.
Grand Prix races in Germany and Switzerland scheduled for later that year were cancelled, and a complete ban on racing in Switzerland remains to this day.
It remains the worst disaster in motor racing history.
The story was quickly engulfed by conspiracy theory, blame and scandal. Was the mysterious explosion caused by Mercedes gambling all on untried technologies? Did they compound it by using a lethal fuel additive? Have the French authorities been covering up the truth ever since?
One year ago
Back in 2011, two violent crashes took place.
Shortly after the race began this morning, Audi’s Allan McNish collided with a slower car and plunged into the outside wall. McNish amazingly walked away from the crash under his own power.
“I’m glad to be alive,” McNish said.
Shortly after, Audi suffered its second unbelievable accident.
Rockenfeller, part of the defending race-winning No. 1 Audi R18 driving team, was attempting to pass the No 71 AF Corse Ferrari F458 driven by Michael Waltrip Racing’s Rob Kaufmann at 10:40 p.m. when the two cars made contact at the ultra-fast Kink section of the Mulsanne Straight.