Le Mans 1955

Mijuki

100RPM
No, the reason for this tradegy was never solely blamed on Hawthorn. Individuals might have blamed him, that's also subjective.
Curious here, what’s subjective on his driving here?
point taken on what @boomn said about safety measures on track.
But the initial move was on Hawthorn, nothing to palliate here.
 
And even if the on-track incident was solely his fault, the spectator deaths and the magnitude of the tragedy are not on Hawthorn but on the race organizers who neglected to update the circuit with newer safety measures
Basically this.

Hawthorn's actions may have been a contributing factor, but was he actually to blame for the accident? That's very subjective.

It was a combination of things that all came together so horrifically and tragically. The following all played a part:

-Out of date circuit design (no separate deceleration lane for pit entry)
-A dangerous right hand kink just before pit entry
-Spectators standing in an area far too close to the track

Add into that the fact that Hawthorn's Jaguar had disc brakes that were more efficient than the drum brakes on Macklin's Austin Healey meaning that Macklin had to swerve to avoid running into the back of Hawthorn's car when Hawthorne braked for the pits. Levegh coming through behind all of this just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with tragic consequences.

A terrible, terrible accident that hopefully will never again be repeated.

Ps. I watched the animation and thought it did very well to convey what must have been the terrible shock and violence of the accident and also the human emotions that the teams and drivers must have been going through in the aftermath.
 
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Mijuki

100RPM
Basically this.

Hawthorn's actions may have been a contributing factor, but was he actually to blame for the accident? That's very subjective.

It was a combination of things that all came together so horrifically and tragically. The following all played a part:

-Out of date circuit design (no separate deceleration lane for pit entry)
-A dangerous right hand kink just before pit entry
-Spectators standing in an area far too close to the track

Add into that the fact that Hawthorn's Jaguar had disc brakes that were more efficient than the drum brakes on Macklin's Austin Healey meaning that Macklin had to swerve to avoid running into the back of Hawthorn's car when Hawthorne braked for the pits. Levegh coming through behind all of this just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time with tragic consequences.

A terrible, terrible accident that hopefully will never again be repeated.

Ps. I watched the animation and thought it did very well to convey what must have been the terrible shock and violence of the accident and also the human emotions that the teams and drivers must have been going through in the aftermath.
So you think overtaking just before entering the pit lane and brake checking your opponents to do so is something you can do safely nowadays?
I think you are just downplaying the obvious guilt here.
 
So you think overtaking just before entering the pit lane and brake checking your opponents to do so is something you can do safely nowadays?
I think you are just downplaying the obvious guilt here.
But that's the point, there wasn't really a pit lane as such at Le Mans in '55. The cars had to brake on the track and then peel off into the pit area. Hawthorne obviously made a serious miscalculation but all I am saying is I'm not sure you can pin the blame for the accident solely on him. There were other factors involved too, the out of date track design being one of the major contributors.

Saying it was all Hawthorne's fault is too simplistic in my view.
 

Luke Maney

100RPM
Premium
You can't blame only the driver that slowed down to pit, you have to blame the race organizers for not putting up fences to keep the cars (and car parts) away from the fans. Most people don't realize that they could be killed while watching a race at the race track, but I do...I have nearly been taken out several times, and were it not for the Grace and Mercy of God, I would of been killed....one time a dragster popped a wheelie and was coming straight at my head, but then the driver got out of it and dropped down and steered away from me. I was just standing there beside the concrete wall and it all happened so fast I just stood there frozen. Another time I was nearly hit by a broken drive shaft that careened over the fence and hit the bench next to me at a dirt track race. Never mind in the excitement of seeing a kart race for the first time I (Le Mans style start), I wandered out into the middle of the track and the kart drivers just went around me thankfully:roflmao:. So the moral of this post is: beware of watching races live (trackside), they could be your last?
 
So the moral of this post is: beware of watching races live (trackside), they could be your last
I doubt it was the case in 1955 but most (if not all) race venues sign post this very thing these days. Racing can be dangerous for the spectators as well as the drivers and they (the venue and organizers) are not liable if you're injured or killed while at a race, and that applies to damage of personal possessions as well. I've been at races where a wheel lost in an on track incident ended up in the spectator parking on top of someone's car. Long walk home...
 
Reality has no flashback button but even if it did, there was no way it would have prepared anyone for a disaster like that. At the very least, it was a lesson to learn about track safety.
 

roadyroad

250RPM
It should be noted that the Mercedes 300 SLR was constructed with a magnesium alloy, which burns really nastily.
Yes, and, from what I've seen on a documentary, they got back their cars immediately to Germany to avoid any further investigation about the incident. Hawthorne was for sure initiated the event, but he's not the only one to blame. We also should take in consideration that these times were different, security wasn't such a big deal and pilots were some kind of gladiators.
 

Ruy Horta

250RPM
Yes, and, from what I've seen on a documentary, they got back their cars immediately to Germany to avoid any further investigation about the incident. Hawthorne was for sure initiated the event, but he's not the only one to blame. We also should take in consideration that these times were different, security wasn't such a big deal and pilots were some kind of gladiators.
As the third and fourth actors in these events, Mercedes is not the catalyst of this disaster, which is clearly Hawthorne. The total sum of variables is much more complex, but again where does that implicate Mercedes, to the point they expedited the return of their cars to Germany to avoid further investigation?

The incident almost killed both Mercedes drivers, but it started with Hawthorne and Macklin. Back to the many variables that contribute to accidents.

Care to explain why Mercedes wanted to avoid further investigation?
 

roadyroad

250RPM
That's the whole point no? The times changed becuase of this.
I was speaking about the general value of life at that time. 10 years after the 2nd world war and still in a huge global war (cold war for a few countries, horrible war for others), linked to incredible technological improvements, human life was considered as expandable in modern countries in comparison with the "adventure". Racing was an adventure, a "gladiator" thing. Modern countries' spirit has changed as they improved their own security and way of living. The value of life increased with time, and racing security too. Not a lot to do with one unsignificant event in 1955 (worse things occured in those times, and not by incident).
 
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