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Le Mans fatal accidents

With the high speeds associated with Le Mans, the track has seen a number of accidents, some of which have been fatal to drivers and spectators. The worst moment in Le Mans history was during the 1955 race in which more than 80 spectators and driver Pierre Levegh were killed. In the shock following this disaster, many major and minor races were cancelled in 1955, such as the Grand Prix races in Germany and Switzerland (the latter as a reaction having banned motorsport round-track races throughout the entire country, the ban was only lifted in 2007[13]). This accident brought wide sweeping safety regulations to all motorsports series, for both driver and spectator protection. In 1986, Jo Gartner drove a Porsche 962C and crashed into the barriers on the Mulsanne straight, killing him instantly. His accident was the most recent fatality in the race itself, however there was the fatality of Sebastien Enjolras in 1997 during the practices. In one of the most recognizable recent accidents, calamity would once again strike Mercedes-Benz, although without fatality. The Mercedes-Benz CLRs which competed in 1999 would suffer from aerodynamic instabilities that caused the cars to become airborne in the right conditions. After initially happening at the Le Mans test day, Mercedes claimed they had solved the problem, only to have it occur again at Warm Up hours before the race. Mark Webber was the unlucky driver to flip the car on both occasions. The final and most damaging accident occurred during the race itself when Peter Dumbreck's CLR became airborne and then proceeded to fly over the safety fencing, landing in the woods several metres away. No drivers were badly hurt in any of the three accidents, but Mercedes-Benz quickly with rew their remaining entry and ended their entire sportscar programme. In 2011, two horrific looking accidents would occur to two of the three factory Audis running in the LMP1 class. Near the end of the first hour, the #3 car driven by Allan McNish collided with one of the Ferrari GT class cars resulting in McNish's car violently smashing into the tyre wall and being thrown into the air at the Dunlop chicanes, resulting in pieces of bodywork flying over and nearly hitting many photographers on the other side of the barrier. In the eleventh hour of the race, another massive accident would occur this time to the #1 car driven by Mike Rockenfeller when he also appeared to have contact with another Ferrari GT car. On the run up to Indianapolis corner, Rockenfeller's Audi was sent into the outside barrier at well over 170 miles per hour (270 km/h). Only the main cockpit safety cell of the car remained along with major damage being done to the barriers that needed to be repaired before the race was resumed. Audi had switched to a closed-cockpit car starting in 2011-a decision that had been credited in how nobody in either of these accidents was injured, despite both chassis' being written off. Cars continue to advance in safety over the years, with the recently released 2014 regulations stating that all cars must be closed-cockpit as a direct result of the 2011 accident. In 2012, Anthony Davidson, driving for the returning Toyota team, collided with a Ferrari 458 Italia of Piergiuseppe Perrazini, and became airborne before crashing into the tyre barrier of the Mulsanne Corner at high speed. The Ferrari also ended up in the barrier, flipping and coming to a halt on its roof. Davidson suffered broken vertebrae from the impact.