It’s with a heavy heart that we emerge from our week away to mention the death of Allan Simonsen at the 24 Hours of Le Mans over the weekend.
Allan raced in GT endurance events all over the world, notably V8 Supercars, Le Mans and at the NÃ¼rburgring 24 Hour Race. Simonsen also attracted attention in Australia when he piloted a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 to a then outright Bathurst lap record during the 2012 Bathurst 12 Hour.
Fellow Dane Tom Kristensen dedicated his ninth Le Mans victory to Simonsen last night during a sombre post-race ceremony.
Simonsen was driving a V8 Vantage for Aston Martin Racing in the GTE Am category and crashed on the fourth lap. His car left the road at the Tetre Rouge corner, hitting an armco barrier. He was extracted from the car and rushed to the trackside medical centre, where he died shortly after. It’s the first in competition fatality at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since Jo Gartner in 1986.
An official statement on Simonsen’s passing from race organisers can be read here.
At the request of Simonsen’s family Aston Martin Racing continued to participate in the race, who had strong representation in the GTE Pro and Am categories.
Selected comments from Allan’s team and fellow competitors are listed below:
â€œItâ€™s been an emotional weekend. No one could have ever thought it would start as it did. Our thoughts are with Allan, his family and all the mates he made around the world during his racing career.â€
Darren Turner, Aston Martin V8 Vantage GTE #97
â€œThe tragedy in the opening hours of the race overshadowed the great performance of the Aston Martin Racing team. I am proud of everybody for demonstrating great speed, professionalism and competitiveness right up to the end of 24th hour. This achievement is a truly fitting tribute to Allan Simonsen.â€
Dr Ulrich Bez, Aston Martin CEO
“He [Allan] was a very modest and nice person. Thatâ€™s why Iâ€™m experiencing highs and lows this time. With respect to my ninth victory: Iâ€™m driving with determination and the ambition my father inspired in me. He died in March. Before his death, he told me that Iâ€™d win Le Mans this year with my team-mates. Iâ€™m hoping that one day Iâ€™ll be able to celebrate another victory with LoÃ¯c and Allan that I can dedicate to my father. Because this Le Mans success Iâ€™m dedicating to Allan Simonsen.”
Tom Kristensen, Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2
“Our joy, however, is also mixed with sadness and shock at the death of Allan Simonsen. We have not only lost a passionate racer, but also a good friend of the Porsche motorsport family. He contested his first Le Mans 24 Hours in 2007 with a Porsche. With our works driver Marc Lieb in 2005, he contested two races of the Le Mans Endurance Series in a Porsche as well. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family as well as the Aston Martin squad and his teammates at this difficult time.”
Dr Wolfgang Porsche, Chairman of the Supervisory Board at Porsche AG
Simonsen was 34-years-old and leaves behind a wife and young daughter.