car models The 20 Worst Race Car Crashes Ever

Michael D'Amico
1.2k votes 534 voters 370k views 20 items Embed
A list of graphic videos of the worst race car crashes in automotive history. Many of these crashes were fatal. Automobile racing is a dangerous sport, and this list should serve as proof of the bravery (foolhardiness?) race car drivers exhibit out on the track. Thankfully, vehicle safety technology has increased greatly throughout the years and fatalities have become much less common.

This list is updated as these horrible accidents occur, including the latest such as Dan Wheldon's fatal crash. If there are any crashes I have missed, please let me know in the comments. Note that this is a list of videos, which is why crashes such as Depailler's death or Francois Cevert's gruesome crash in which he was cut in half have not been included. Drive safe.
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Niki Lauda - 1976 Nurburgring

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Video: YouTube
The Nordschleife, one of the most amazing race tracks in the world. In 1976, it was predetermined that the 14 mile track was no longer suitable for modern F1 safety regulations and television broadcasts. Niki Lauda, one of the greatest drivers in the sport, tried to boycott the race based on those safety concerns. The other drivers overruled Niki's suggestion, and as fate would have it, it would be Niki himself who would almost burn to death during the race. Niki was saved by three of his fellow drivers who stopped and pulled him from his car. Even though they had a Porsche, the race officials weren't able to get there quick enough.
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Ayrton Senna's Fatal Crash

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Video: YouTube
He is considered by many to be the greatest racing driver of all time. This is the crash that instantly killed him. Unlike the previous entries, this crash is not particularly dramatic. What it is though is the death of a legend, a crash that shook motor racing to its core.
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Jerry Caminito - Drag Race

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Video: YouTube
In 1994, Jerry Caminito had one of the worst, funny car crashes ever to be filmed. When Caminito's spill plate snapped off, he lost control of his car and went careening through the left barrier as his car was completely destroyed. Fortunately, Caminito was airlifted to a hospital and survived.
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Dale Earnhardt's Fatal Crash

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Video: YouTube
As one of the most popular race car drivers in NASCAR, Dale Earnhardt's death shook American motor racing. The crash is famous for appearing so minimal (similar to Senna's). Earnhardt died of a Basilar skull fracture. Unfortunately, Earnhardt had refused to wear a HANS device, which would have protected him from such an injury. Due to this crash, HANS devices are now mandatory.
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Jim Clark's Fatal Crash

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Video: YouTube
Had he lived, Jim Clark could have quite possibly been the most successful racing driver of all time, outdoing Schumacher, Fangio, and Senna. He died in a Formula Two race at the Hockenheimring in Germany. On the fifth lap, Clark's Lotus went off the track and into the trees. Clark's neck was broken and his skull was fractured. He did not make it to the hospital. The likely cause of the accident was a deflating rear tire.
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Tetsuya Ota Crash

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Video: YouTube
At first, the crash doesn't seem so bad. Then the real crash happens. The driver of the Porsche, Tomohiko Sunako, fractured one of his legs. It was the driver of the Ferrari though, Tetsuya Ota, who had problems. Tetsuya was trapped inside his car for 90 seconds, baring 800 degree heat, until a fellow driver pulled over and helped. When the safety marshals finally did show up, they laid Tetsuya on his back, causing the melted visor on his helmet to sag onto his face causing further burns. Tetsuya ultimately survived, but his racing career was over.
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Lorenzo Bandini's Fatal Crash

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Video: YouTube
At the 1967 Monaco Grand Prix, Lorenzo Bandini lost control of his car. Clipping the guard rail with his rear-left wheel, Bandini skidded into a light pole. His car flipped over and burst into flames. Trapped in his car, Bandini received third degree burns to 70% of his body. He would succumb to his injuries three days later.
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Stan Fox almost loses his Legs

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Video: YouTube
At the 1995 Indy 500, Stan Fox was involved in a crash that ripped the entire nose from his car, leaving his legs completely exposed. Fox survived with serious head injuries, but this crash ended his racing career.