There is an excellent and thoughtful summary of the accident in John Fitch's
biography, "Racing Through Life" by James Grinnell. John was Levegh's
co-driver, and it was at his urging that Mercedes withdrew their other entry
from the race, which was in the lead being driven by Fangio and Moss. It will
be 50 years on June 11th. I'm sure it will be an emotional anniversary for
those who were there.
I would recommend the Fitch biography highly. An amazing person, hero to many,
for many reasons. Still lives a few miles away from Lime Rock and drives over
in the Fitch Phoenix. It's a sight that makes a race day better than perfect.
The '55 Le Mans crash was the motivation for Fitch's lifelong involvement in
improving track and road safety, including the Fitch Inertial Barrier which is
still a common sight on public roads. He is still busy with track safety and
other ventures. Not bad for a guy born in 1917.
Alain Giguhre <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
The was an enquiry by the French Police, "Mackiln
gave a deposition to the police on the accident,
however he was told by Fangio that for the good
of motor racing, it would be better if they did
not claim any one person was responsible. Mackiln
agreed and spoke to the police before going into
town to have dinner with Donald Healey." The next
day Hawthorn also made a statement to the police.
That same evening Monsieur Pierre Trouille (who
was the prifect de la Sarthe) gave a press
conference in which he gave the official version
of the accident. In brief Mackiln stated Hawthorn
had made a mistake, but it was the great speed of
the cars which was mainly responsible. Mercedes
gave a press conference declinig responsibility,
Jaguars claimed criticism of Hawthorn's driving
was "without justification". The British racing
establishment blamed Levegh, the Mercedes driver
for thew crash; which was convenient, since he
was dead. The telling thing was what Hawthorn
said to Macklin, minutes after the accident, and
before anyone could get to him for damage
control: "Oh god, Lance. I'm terribly sorry. I
bloody near killed you and I killed all those
people. I'm really sorry. I'm certainly never
going to race again." He did race again and was
world champion in 58.