Our Sincere Condolences to Allan Simonsen
Gulf has a long history in motorsport and in particular in Endurance Motor Racing. Much of it has provided success and glory, but occasionally it has experienced the tragic side of the sport and this Le Mans weekend proved to be one of those occasions, with the accident, early in the race and subsequent passing of the driver of the number 95 Danish-crewed Aston Martin, Allan Simonsen.
“On behalf of everyone at Gulf Oil International, I would like to send my heartfelt condolences to Allan’s family, on their loss. Words mean so little under these circumstances, but I would like them all to know that our thoughts are with them,” expresses Frank Rutten, Vice President International of Gulf Oil. “I would also like to extend these sentiments to our motorsport partners, Aston Martin Racing - all of whom, I know, deeply, deeply feel also the loss of a driver with whom they have worked for several years and who I know they held in the highest regard - both as a driver and as a person.”
The wishes of Allan’s family were that the team should continue in the race.
After an incredibly close battle in GTE Pro, where for the vast majority of the race, the Gulf-sponsored Aston Martins held the lead, first with the #98 car and then its sister #97, the team eventually took an emotionally charged podium finish, which they dedicated to Allan.
Two of the four remaining Aston Martin Vantage GTEs finished the race: the 97 car, crewed by Darren Turner (GB), Stefan Mücke (D) and Peter Dumbreck (GB), took third place in LM GTE Pro, less than a half a lap behind the winning Porsche, while the #96 of Stuart Hall (GB), Jamie Campbell-Walter (GB) and Roald Goethe (D) came home sixth in LM GTE Am.
“After a week that promised so much for Gulf and Aston Martin Racing, on so many levels, we leave Le Mans saddened but full of admiration for everyone at Aston Martin Racing,” adds Frank Rutten. “If they had decided to withdraw, we would have completely understood and respected that decision. The fact that they chose to honour the wishes of Allan’s family and race on under the most incredibly heartbreaking and difficult of circumstances - and then to come so close to achieving a victory with which to honour his memory - speaks volumes about the character of the team.”
The next round of the World Endurance Championship takes place in Sao Paolo, Brazil over the weekend August 30th – September 1st.