Image for The Deadliest Crash: the Le Mans 1955 DisasterNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 1 hour

At 6.26 pm, June 11th 1955, the world of playboy racers and their exotic cars exploded in a devastating fireball. On the home straight early in the Le Mans 24-Hour race, future British world champion Mike Hawthorn made a rash mistake. Pierre Levegh's Mercedes 300 SLR smashed into the crowd, killing 83 people and injuring 120 more. It remains the worst disaster in motor racing history.

The story was quickly engulfed by conspiracy theory, blame and scandal. Was the mysterious explosion caused by Mercedes gambling all on untried technologies? Did they compound it by using a lethal fuel additive? Have the French authorities been covering up the truth ever since? Or was the winner, the doomed British star Mike Hawthorn, guilty of reckless driving and did his desire to win at all costs start the terrible chain of events?

Last on

Tue 24 Sep 2013 23:00 BBC Four

Credits

Narrator
Jack Deam
Translation
Sarah Bagshaw
Translation
Odile Roustit

Broadcasts

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