Former British Touring Car racer David Leslie and sportscar team boss Richard Lloyd were among five people killed in a plane crash in Kent this afternoon, according to sources close to Autosport.
Their private Cessna Citation 501 aircraft was headed for the south of France where Leslie was due to drive Lloyd's Apex Motorsport Jaguar XKR in an FIA GT3 equalisation test at Nogaro tomorrow.
The pilot made a mayday call to Biggin Hill Airfield, near Farnborough, reporting severe engine vibrations, but the plane crashed into the corner of a housing estate seconds later. The plane's two pilots and three passengers were killed, but nobody on the ground was injured.
A pilot who was flying a small aircraft just ahead of Leslie and Lloyd's plane told Sky News: "I was on final approach to Biggin Hill and I heard the pilot declare mayday and I could hear alarms in the cockpit.
"The pilot said 'We're going down, we're going down.' The radio stayed live and as I turned off the runway I looked back and saw the plane drop out of the sky. The radio went dead and black smoke came up from over the hill."
Leslie, who was 54, was best known for his wins in the British Touring Car Championship at the height of the super touring formula's popularity in the late 1990s, but he had also enjoyed a long and successful career in single-seaters and sportscars.
Lloyd, who was 63, founded Richard Lloyd Racing, who ran Porsche 956s and 962s in the World Sportscar Championship. He also successfully ran Audis in the BTCC and at Le Mans, and managed Bentley's victorious return to Le Mans in 2003. More recently he developed the Jaguar XKR for the FIA GT3 Championship.
Authorities have not confirmed the identity of plane's occupants.
A statement from the Metropolitan Police read: "We haven't confirmed the identity of any of the victims. Until we know that all of the next of kin have been informed, we can't make any further comment."