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The 1964 Le Mans fatal accident

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#1 Nanni Dietrich

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Posted 15 May 2009 - 10:51

On the seventh hour of the 1964 24 Hours race the works AC Cobra of Jack Sears-Peter Bolton, then driven by the latter, flipped outside of the track in the part of the circuit between Mulsanne and Arnage after a contact with the Ferrari of Giancarlo Baghetti-Umberto Maglioli (driven by the first). Three male spectators, aged sixteeen, seventeen and eighteen, watching the race from a forbidden zone were crushed by the AC Cobra and killed. It was reported that they had crossed the barrier and entered the run-off area, in the dark.

DIfferent sources state that the three young men were struck by Baghetti's Ferrari, and not by Bolton's AC Cobra.
Contemporary newspapers reported that they were killed by debris from the crash.

What did really happen?


#2 JB Miltonian

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 01:06

In the American magazines, Road & Track says that the youths "had been killed instantly as the Ferrari ran over them." Car & Driver says the youths "were killed by the spinning cars". Sports Car Graphic says "Baghetti plunged into the field where unfortunately, three young boys were hiding in this prohibited area. They were all killed....Baghetti never saw anyone when he crashed, and it was only later on in the night that the three bodies were found."

#3 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 20:52

L'annee automobile states that the boys crossed the track by accident. It further only mentions that this accident caused the Cobra and the Ferrari to retire. No further details.

Ferrari at Le Mans (Pascal): "Coming out of Arnage corner he (Baghetti) saw the wreck of Bolton's Cobra in front of him, and went of the road trying to avoid it. (The Cobra had struck and killed two (2) young people who were in this prohibited section of the track.)"

Ferrari Sports Racing & Prototype Competition Cars (Prunet) "...poor Giancarlo Baghetti, who was staging a come-back to the Scuderia fold, had the misfortune to find a Cobra "in trouble" in his path, and he had to go off the track in order to avoid an accident."

Scarlet Passion (Pritchard): "...Peter Bolton at the wheel of the AC Cars entered Cobra went off the road between Arnage and White House and was struck by Baghetti whose Ferrari crashed into the ditch. Later the marshals discovered the bodies of three spectators who had been watching the race from a prohibited area."

I will try to find more as this does not help, does it.

#4 Tuboscocca

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Posted 20 May 2009 - 06:28

According to Francois Hurel's book 'Ferrari Sport et prototypes 1961-67' the accident was as follows.
Saturday night (22.15) Bolton (Cobra coupe) somersaulted after a transmission failure, between Arnage and Maison Blanche.
The following Baghetti Ferrari couldn't avoid contact, hit the Bolton car and left the track, killing the a.m. three 'illegal'spectators.
Baghetti, unhurt, even managed to return the car (which was lying 38th, with a lot of problems) to the pits and retired.
Apparently , when entering the pits he did not know the full extent of the drama.

Hope that helps to ,slowly, clarify this question.
Regards Michael