202 LE MANS 1955

This is the excerpt of a report on a very sad incident in the history of motorsport, the unconceivable 1955 Le Mans disaster in June, 65 years ago – probably the greatest catastrophe of all, with many, many wounded and over 80 dead; may their soul rest in peace.

According to Wikipedia, a major crash caused large fragments of debris to fly into the crowd. At 125 miles per hour, Mike Hawthorn (Jaguar), Lance Macklin (Austin-Healey) and Pierre Levegh (Mercedes-Benz) were involved; for one of them, Pierre Levegh, that was the price of life, too.  

Hawthorn pulled to the right side of the track in front of Macklin and started decelerating for his pit stop. Macklin swerved out from behind the slowing Jaguar into the path of Levegh; his Mercedes-Benz touched Macklin’s Austin-Healey. Levegh’s car made at least two impacts within the spectator area, the last of which caused it to disintegrate, throwing him onto the track where he was instantly killed, sending large pieces of debris (including the engine, parts of the suspension / axles and the hood) into the packed spectator area. 

When the rest of the wreck finally landed, the rear-mounted fuel tank exploded. Meanwhile Macklin’s car, heavily damaged, rammed the left-side barrier, then veered to the right into the pit lance, hitting the unprotected pit-wall, ending up once again in the left-side fence; Macklin survived the incident without serious injury.

Even today, 65 years later, all this leaves one consternated. And, one has to accept the fact: it is not all in our hands. Tragedies are not only in motorsports.

See you next Friday.   -   God bless you, all the best!   The Castiron

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PS   Le Mans 1955 caused a lot, also the end of the Grand Prix Suisse, the prohibition of circuit races in Switzerland, The Castiron’s home country – still valid today, strange and incomprehensible. At this point, no further comment from The Castiron to this.

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