Allan Simonsen was a sports car racing driver from Denmark who died after the crash during 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours race.
Beginning of the career was in single-seaters
He was born on 5th of July 1978 in the city of Odense and as a boy raced karting with a considerable success. Interestingly, one of Allan’s rivals during the kart racing days was future Formula 1 champion Kimi Raikkonen. After graduating in karting, Simonsen switched to single-seaters in 1999. He became Danish Formula Ford champion from the first attempt, so in the following year progressed to Formula Palmer Audi. The season of 2000 was his only in the series and wasn’t a glorious one as he finished 11th overall.
The next stops in Allan’s career were racing in the German Formula 3 and Formula Renault UK but the season of 2001 again wasn’t satisfying. Simonsen left formula racing but also left Europe to try his luck in the sports cars racing in Australia.
Australia offered new opportunity to Allan
After a short spell in the British GT, Simonsen in 2003 went to Australia. Over the years he contested in various championships and enjoyed some success. In his first year, the Dane was a runner-up in the Australian Nations Cup Championship group 2 with Ferrari 360 Challenge. In the following year he dropped to the 3rd position.
In 2007 Simonsen became Australian GT Championship champion and also won the Australian Tourist Trophy after winning the 12 Hours of Sandown, driving the Sirena Racing’s Ferrari F430 GT3 alongside Tim Leahey. In 2008 he finished the season as a vice-champion but retained his Australian Tourist Trophy title, this time driving alongside Nick O’Halloran.
Driving a Ferrari at Bathurst
During his time in Australia, the Dane also drove in the selected events of V8 Supercars Championship. His best result in the most important races was the 3rd place at Bathurst 2011 when he drove Kelly Racing Holden VE Commodore alongside Greg Murphy. The same year Simonsen set an astonishing lap record of 2:04.95 at Bathurst what was two seconds clear of any V8 Supercars. The officials were so amazed that they believed it was an error. However, the manual timekeeper and the teams own data quickly confirmed that the result was correct.
Podium finish on Le Mans 24h debut
In 2007 Allan debuted at Le Mans 24 Hours. Driving the Porsche 997 GT3-RSR alongside Pierre Ehret and Lars-Erik Nielsen he finished 3rd in the class and 21st overall. He raced in the world’s most prestigious race on six more occasions and failed to finish the race five times, but in 2010, when he was behind the wheel of Ferrari F430 GT2 alongside Leh Keen and Dominik Farnbacher, Simonsen finished 2nd in the class and 12th overall.
With Nielsen and Ehret on the podium, 2007 Le Mans 24h
In 2008 Simonsen began to race in the GT2 class of the Le Mans Series and American Le Mans Series but results were modest. In the following season the Danish racer improved a bit and finished 7th in the Le Mans Series. The same year he also finished 4th in the British GT and won the title in the LM GT2 class of the Asian Le Mans Series.
From 2010 Allan raced with a considerable success in various championships. That year he was 6th in the British GT when his co-driver was Hector Lester and also triumphed in the SP7 class at 24 Hours of Nurburgring with Leh Keen and Marco Seefried as co-drivers. In 2011 Allan took the 5th place in the Le Mans Series LM GTE Pro class, while two years later Simonsen was 4th in the Australian GT Championship.
Simonsen in Rosso Verde Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, 2013 British GT at Oulton Park
Fatal crash at Le Mans
In 2013 Simonsen for the seventh time raced at Le Mans, this time as a member of the Aston Martin GTE squad. In the opening stage of the race, Allan lost control of the car that spun and went into the barriers at Tertre Rouge. In a serious condition, the Dane was immediately transferred to the Medical Centre at the circuit where he died soon after due to his injuries. His death was first during the Le Mans 24h since Jo Gartner was killed in 1986.
Danish flags at the place where Allan crashed during 2013 Le Mans 24 hours
Since 2014, the award for the fastest qualifier at the Bathurst 12 Hours which Simonsen won earlier in 2013, is named the Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy.