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A Tragic Accident At The 1955 Le Mans
On June 11, 1955 during the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France a tragic accident occurred on the front straight involving Pierre Levegh and Mike Hawthorn. Levegh's Mercedes was destroyed, killing him instantly. The engine and other pieces of his car were flung over the barrier into the crowd and killed 83 spectators. Though the race continued, Mercedes withdrew their other two cars.
The crash was one of the worst disasters in motorsport history and has changed the sport to this day. After the race France had a temporary moratorium on racing and races around the world were cancelled. Switzerland permanently banned racing and the sport has never been re-established there. Near the end of the 1955 racing season Mercedes shut down all of it's racing operations.
As a result of the accident, safety procedures during races and to protect drivers made huge strides, making motorsport as safe as it is today.
Posted: 2003-03-09 3:25:18 PM
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