This year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans marks an anniversary of a very sombre kind. It’s 60 years to the day since Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes crashed on lap 35, killing 84 people including Levegh himself and injuring scores more.
Levegh was a legend at Le Mans, attempting to win the race on his own three years previously. In a frantic battle for the lead with the works Jaguar team, Levegh’s silver Mercedes made contact with an Austin Healey drive by Lance Macklin and vaulted into the spectator enclose, bursting into flames. It’s difficult to comprehend the fact that 83 spectators went to the 24 Hours of Le Mans that year and never returned home. We can be thankful, however, that the disaster has led to the kind of safety improvements it has done, not just at Le Mans, but at almost every other racetrack around the world too.
When the cars take to this wonderful track this evening, bear a thought for all those who lost their lives watching a race we all love.
Image Source: Wikipedia