OCTOBER 10, 2002
The Grand Prix driver Lance Macklin has died at the age of 83. The son of Sir Noel Macklin, the man behind the Invicta sports car company in the 1930s, Macklin began racing immediately after World War II and in the early 1950s was a regular F1 driver with the HWM team in 1952 and 1953. He was also a successful sportscar driver and in 1954 finished third at Le Mans.
Alas Macklin is probably best remembered for his role in the terrible Le Mans diaster of 1955 when the Austin Healey he was driving was forced into the path of the Mercedes-Benz of Pierre Levegh with the result that Levegh's car went into and over Macklin's car and into the crowd enclosure beside the track. More than 80 people were killed. Macklin was one of the drivers who gave evidence to the French government inquiry headed by the magistrate Zadock Kahn.
"After passing me (Mike) Hawthorn turned too sharply towards the right and braked," Macklin told the court. "I braked my car as hard as I could to avoid him. My wheels locked and I was carried towards the left. Levegh's car hit the back of my car.
"In an affair of this kind it is difficult to speak of responsibility. Hawthorn no doubt committed an error but the real responsibility was the speed of the cars. In the excitement of his struggle (with Levegh and Juan Manuel Fangio) Hawthorn executed a manouevre which astonished me and he left me no other alternative than to either run into him or turn to the left." was short-lived and after another crash in the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod, he decided to quit the sport.
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