dvr'd it, tks!
Velocity will air an hour long program on the 1955 Lemans where a crash killed 80 spectators. It will air next Sunday June 10th at 10pm eastern.
I understand the Austin Healey that was hit in the back by the Mercedes is still around and recently was sold at auction. Not sure if the car remained in its original condition or repaired.
Not sure if this is the version by BBC4 but if it is, it has something fantastic- stills from the Hawthorn Museum that have been put together to show exactly what happened. Clearly Levegh had no chance to react, some say he should not have been driving and he was too old. Yah, you see the video from the stills and it is apparent Macklin's Healey just appeared in his path and he vaulted it in instants.
BBC4 show notes:
This is a British newsreel of the time, and it is graphic in one part. It shows the accident BTW in reverse, believe the path was actually left to right.
It shows something the BBC video did not - Levegh's smoldering body lying prone in the foreground of the wreck at 1:28. Do not watch if this may upset you.
The courage these men showed to race these vehicles while so personally exposed - just amazing. And it is also a testament to this race, which still has its dangerous and courageous elements.
I believe it was just dumb luck that nobody was killed during last year's Lemans when Allan McNish crashed. If someone was killed (but thank goodness no one did), I wouldn't be surprised if the race itself was called into question. The 1955 tragedy will be brought into light again.
At first I thought the big honkin' fin required on all 2011 prototype (older cars were grandfathered out) last year looked ridiculous. But I think the fin prevented the car from catchin' air as it skittered across the gravel trap sideways. Without the fin, the car could have easily gone airborne and gone over the catch fence.
I think for 2012, the big honkin' fin is required for all prototypes. In addition, the louvers on top of the fenders, over the tires are banned and the area must be completely open.
Those wheels are extremely heavy dangerous projectiles.
I also remember this one, but just now found the wider angle that shows the marshal getting hit by the wheel (this was before wheel tethers, and may have been the incident that caused the rule change).
This must be hard on the driver to deal with, knowing their "accident" killed a fan or track worker.... (in this case, Jacques Villeneuve)
Original TV footage.
Modern car racing has become so safe for the drivers, I almost wonder if being in the audience at the track is actually more dangerous than driving in the race.
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I came across the story of the 1955 crash while watching some horrifying F1 accidents. That Le Mans accident officially claimed 80+ lives plus many injuries. I won't post any links, but if you do some diligent searching, you will find sites that show bodies on the track, and many burned and mangled corpses strewn where the spectators were. It kept me looking for info about it for hours.
OK, maybe one link.
[EDIT]The link by av_audi says it was the engine and front axle both that plowed through as the hood sliced through like a frisbee.
Last edited by Snake Hips; 06-02-2012 at 06:36 PM.
here is the old thread with the auctioned Austin Healey