The darkside of motorsport

We all know it. Racing is dangerous. Some have experienced it and others, well, they had their family experience it.
I want to dedicate this thread to those who have given life doing what they did best and loved most.
The list will consist of the more popular drivers, but that doesn’t mean we should forget those who gave their live also.
Feel free to add to the list.

Ayrton Senna (BRA), May 1st, 1994, Formula One, struck by debris after crash
Colin McRae (UK), September 15th, 2007, WRC driver, died in a helicopter crash
Allan Simonsen (DEN) June 22nd, 2013, Le Mans 24h, crashed at beginning of Mulsanne straight
Fabrizio Meoni (ITA) January 11th, 2005, Dakar Rally, died of a heart attack during the rally
Marco Simoncelli (ITA) October 23rd, 2011, MotoGP, died after crash during GP Sepang in Malaysia
Dale Earnhardt Sr. (USA) February 18th, 2001, NASCAR, crashed and got hit by another car

Gilles Villeneuve, from Canada. May 8, 1982. He was coming over a hill at high speed on Zolder, and went to overtake a slower car(a lap down too, if I recall) when the other driver swerved in front of him.

Dan Wheldon, British, died on October 16, 2011 after being launched into the catch fence during an multiple-car accident.

Another very notable racer, who ran in both Trans Am and Formula 1…

Mark Donohue (American), died of injuries sustained in a practice crash at the 1975 Austrian Grand Prix

A note about Ayrton Senna’s death… There was another competitor in that same race (San Marino GP) who died the day before during qualifying.

Roland Ratzenberger (Austria), died of injures sustained in a crash 30 April 1994

Of course, racing legacies often run in families whose roots are deep in the sport…

Bill Vukovich (American), killed in a crash at the 1955 Indianapolis 500
Bill Vukovich III (American), killed in a crash during practice at Mesa Marin Raceway in 1990

Speaking of families, having a legendary familial pedigree of course doesn’t mean immunity from tragedy.

Jerry Unser Jr. (American), killed in a crash at the 1959 Indianapolis 500
Adam Petty (American), killed in a crash during practice for the 2000 Sta-Green 200
John Lingenfelter (American), killed in a crash at the 2002 Mazda NHRA Sport Compact World Finals

François Cevert, one of the most promising french racers of his time and ladies, he was also cute and clever. :slight_smile:
Died at 29 at Watkins Glen. He crashed his Tyrell during qualifying rounds on the 6th of October, in 1973.

I remember seeing both of these happen live, Simoncelli was especially awful because you saw everything happen, and you just knew.

Ex BMW, Toyota, Renault and Ford BTCC driver Will Hoy, who died suddenly from a brain tumour not long after retiring from driving.

I remember seeing Simonsen crash, too. As for Meoni, that wasn’t live, but I saw the footage where he crashed in the very first images as I actively follow the Dakar rally every year.

One of the most violent crashes in motorsport…

Gordon Smiley (USA), killed while attempting to qualify for the 1982 Indianapolis 500

Colin McRae (ENG), September 15th, 2007, WRC driver, died in a helicopter crash

Just a side note: Colin McRae was from Scotland, not England :slight_smile:

I knew that, I just put down the wrong thing, shouldve been UK. Thanks for pointing it out.

Elio de Angelis(ITA), May 15th 1986, Formula One, died after a crash during testing at Circuit Paul Ricard
Ronnie Peterson(SWE), September 11th 1978, Formula One, died one day after a mass crash at the start of the Italian GP.
Jochen Rindt(AUT), September 5th 1970, Formula One, died after a crash during the last friday practice session for the Italian GP. After his death he became Formula One’s first and(hopefully) only posthum World champion.

A fact on Sennas death: he was the first F1 driver who died in an F1 car after he became Champion.