Allan Simonsen's sad death will undoubtedly reopen the safety debate at Le Mans. In fact, it already has: I know drivers who are talking about petitions and such like in the wake of last weekend's 24 Hours.
Yet surely now is not the time for some knee-jerk reaction. A measured approach is required at the same time as a renewed acknowledgement that the Circuit de la Sarthe is always going to be a more dangerous place than your average race track.
It has to be by its very nature. Two thirds of its length is public road and the speeds attained — both on the Mulsanne Straight and in its myriad fast corners — are so much higher than most venues these days.
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Gary Watkins has, for reasons best known to himself, devoted all his working life to covering sportscar racing. This season is his 25th as a motorsport journalist, during which time he has reported on major long-distance events on four continents and approaching 60 24-hour races. He reckons a degree in political philosophy makes him well qualified for covering the sometimes Machiavellian world of international sportscars.
Gary, who also writes for RACER, Autoweek, Motor Sport, Autocourse and others, lives in Surbiton but spends more time on the road than at home for most of the year.