Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

On This Day

Saturday 14th June 1969

49 years ago

John Woolfe (37) was killed when he crashed his Porsche 917 on the first lap of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, an event which caused the traditional "Le Mans start" to be abolished the following year. The Le Mans race began with a traditional standing start: the drivers stood opposite their cars in the open pit-lane before running to them as the French flag was dropped to signal the start of the race, starting the engines and driving away as soon as possible. In the scramble to start Woolfe did not fasten his belts and started aggressively the race, making up several places on the opening lap. At the very fast Maison Blanche curve, however, towards the end of the lap, Woolfe lost control of the 917, which crashed heavily into the barriers, overturned and caught fire. He was thrown out of the cockpit by the force of the impact, and died from his injuries as he was being helicoptered to hospital. It was also reported that Woolfe had lost his door on the opening lap, but this was not confirmed. The 917's fuel tank was torn off in the impact and struck the Ferrari 312P of Chris Amon, causing it to burst into flames. Amon was able to bring his car to a halt and evacuate the cockpit, narrowly escaping serious injuries, though sustaining minor burns.

John Woolfe

John Woolfe