If you think you like to live on the edge, believe me, you’ve got nothing on these guys, who were involved in some of the worst racing accidents of all time.
Be warned though, some of the video links below do depict fatal crashes. Remember them for the great racers and fearless competitors they were.
Scott Kalitta’s Fatal Crash – Old Bridge Township Raceway Park
Unfortunately, Scott Kalitta didn’t make it out of this crash alive. While drag racing his funny car, it suddenly burst into flames and exploded before the eyes of horrified spectators. If you’re a little squeamish, you may want to give this one a pass – rest in peace, Scott Kalitta.
Niki Lauda’s Crash – Nürburgring 1976
It doesn’t matter which racing era you look at, there has always been tragic accidents. That proved true at the 1976 German Grand Prix as well, when Niki Lauda’s car burst into flames. Remarkably, not only did he walk away from this horrific crash, he would return to race again as well.
Tetsuya Ota’s Crash – 1998 JGTC Fuji International Speedway
Japan hasn’t been immune from the curse of car crashes plaguing raceways around the world. This one was actually caused by the safety car travelling far too fast for the rainy conditions; fortunately, Tetsuya Ota did survive this horrific crash.
Dale Earnhardt’s Fatal Crash – 2001 Daytona 500
Perhaps the racing crash that’s most vivid in many of our memories is the terrible accident that took Dale Earnhardt’s life. It wasn’t long before the tributes started flooding in for this racing legend, and rightly so.
Ronnie Peterson’s Fatal Crash – Monza Italy 1978
When Ronnie Peterson’s Lotus spun into the barriers on that tragic day in 1978, it was clear that something was wrong. He wouldn’t survive that day, but something good did come out of this tragedy – Formula 1 racing completely rewrote its safety protocols after this accident.
Greg Moore’s Fatal Crash
When Moore’s car spun out of control at more than 200 miles an hour on that fateful day in 1999, it was hard to imagine anyone walking away from such a terrible accident, and unfortunately Greg Moore did lose his life at the Marlboro 500 that day. Indy racing fans continue to mourn his loss more than 15 years later.
Gilles Villeneuve’s Fatal Crash – Zolder, 1982
If you grew up in the ‘90s you probably heard the name Villeneuve on a regular basis due to the startling success of Jacques Villeneuve, but he wasn’t the first Villeneuve to rip up the track. His father Gilles was a famous driver as well who tragically lost his life in this notorious crash at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1982
Tour de Corse ‘86 and the Tragedy
Not all racing is done around a traditional track or circuit – in fact, racing is often taken off road, or through some less than conventional mountain passes. In 1986, one such race resulted in one of the most horrific accidents in racing history. After losing control and plunging down a ravine, Henri Toivonen lost his life when his car exploded.