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.
Over 80 people died at Europe’s worst-ever motor-racing disaster when three cars crashed at 150 mph at Le Mans and ploughed into the spectators’ grandstand. More than another hundred people were injured, but despite this the organisers of the 24-hour race decided not to stop the event. The winning Mercedes drivers gave up their title after discovering that one of their team cars was at the centre of the accident. The vehicle had somersaulted and cut a swathe through the crowd, leaving children and adults decapitated and dismembered. For 60 yards the sandy ground on one side of the 8-mile track was drenched with blood. At the end of that year Mercedes-Benz decided not to compete further in circuit racing, a decision which lasted until the 1980s. In the wake of the disaster, France and other European countries instituted bans on auto racing until stricter safety standards were implemented. According to Time, more than $600,000 was invested in improving the track and stands, and the 1956 race was allowed to go on. Other safety measures, such as limits on engine size and the amount of time a driver can drive, were also introduced. France, Spain, Italy and Switzerland all instituted bans on auto racing, most of which were soon reversed after new safety measures were implemented. Switzerland has yet to reinstitute auto racing, though Swiss Parliament did vote to lift the ban in June 2007.
1955 Le Mans: dead and Injured in the grandstands after the accident