DANISH racing driver Allan Simonsen died after crashing in the Le Mans 24 Hours race, organisers have said.
Simonsen was at the wheel of an 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE (gas turbo engine) when he crashed at the Tertre Rouge while driving in the GTE-Am category, said Automobile Club de l’Ouest.
Doctors from the race’s medical team tended to the injured 34-year-old in the aftermath.
“In a serious condition, Allan Simonsen was transferred immediately to the Circuit Medical Centre where he died soon after due to his injuries,” a statement from the race organisers said.
David Richards, the principal of the Aston Martin racing team, broke the news to Simonsen’s family, the statement added. It continued: “The Automobile Club de l’Ouest wishes to express its great sadness following this incident, and extends its deepest condolences to the family and those close to Allan Simonsen.
“The Automobile Club de l’Ouest will make no further statement while the exact reasons for the accident are still being wholly determined.”
Simonsen was an experienced Le Mans campaigner and was racing for the seventh time at La Sarthe in north-west France.
The race was less than ten minutes old when the accident occurred as Simonsen was on his third lap.
Only two days earlier Simonsen, along with Danish team-mates Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen, had celebrated after his Aston claimed pole position in the GTE-Am class.
Simonsen was the Danish Formula Ford champion in 1999 and went on to race in Formula Palmer Audi and the British Formula Renault Championship before carving out a career in sports cars.
He won the 2007 Australian GT Championship and took class honours in the 2009 Asian Le Mans Series. A second-placed finish in the GT2 class in 2010 marked his best result at Le Mans, while in 2008 he stepped up to contest the prototype LMP2 class at the famous endurance race.
Simonsen is the first driver to die at Le Mans since Jo Gartner in 1986.