What Happened On This Day June 11 In F1 History?

From the deadliest accident in motorsport history at the 1955 Le Mans 24-Hour to Fernando Alonso's win at the 2006 British Grand Prix.


By Ben Bush
Updated on June 17, 2024

1955 Le Mans 24-Hour Crash
1955 Le Mans 24-Hour – the deadliest crash in motorsport history.

What happened on this day, June 11 in Formula 1 history? Find out interesting facts and stories about Formula 1 on this day.


The deadliest accident in motorsport history occurred during the third hour of the 1955 Le Mans 24-Hour race when Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes collided with Lance Macklin’s Austin-Healey, which had swerved to avoid Mike Hawthorn‘s braking Jaguar. The collision sent Levegh’s car airborne into an earth bank beside the track, causing it to disintegrate and hurl debris into the crowd, resulting in over 80 spectator fatalities as well as the death of Levegh himself. Despite the catastrophe, the race continued to avoid potential panic. Mercedes withdrew from the race eight hours later and, at the season’s end, ceased all racing activities, with Jaguar also scaling back its team.


Tragedy struck the motorsport world when Jimmy Davies, a former third-place finisher at the 1955 Indianapolis 500, died in a midget car crash at Santa Fe Speedway in Chicago. On the same day, another prominent American driver, Jud Larson, was fatally injured alongside Red Reigel during a race at Reading Speedway in Pennsylvania, when their cars collided and somersaulted.


The charismatic racer Jo Bonnier tragically lost his life at the 1972 Le Mans 24-Hour race when his Lola collided with a Ferrari during the night, sending his car crashing through pine trees and disintegrating over a 200-yard path. Bonnier, who began his Formula 1 career in 1956, had achieved a single F1 victory at the 1959 Dutch Grand Prix.


The 1995 Canadian Grand Prix concluded chaotically as fans broke through barriers to celebrate Jean Alesi‘s first Formula 1 victory for Ferrari in his 91st attempt. Alesi captured the lead with 12 laps remaining after Michael Schumacher‘s Benetton required a pit stop due to a gearbox issue. Overcome with emotion, Alesi admitted, “I started to cry in the car,” acknowledging both the highs and lows of his tenure with Ferrari, which he felt were redeemed with this victory.


Fernando Alonso edged closer to clinching the world championship with a win at the 2006 British Grand Prix, marking his 14th consecutive podium finish. “So far it has been fantastic, with five wins and three seconds,” he remarked, praising the flawless performance and the team’s efforts. The event was also noted for signaling a downturn in Jenson Button’s career, who retired early in the race, while Lewis Hamilton, hailed as the next prominent British talent, triumphed earlier in the GP2 race.

Seen in:

About The Author

Chief Editor

Ben Bush

Ben is our chief editor specialising in F1 from the 1990s to the modern era. Ben has been following Formula 1 since 1986 and is an avid researcher who loves understanding the technology that makes it one of the most exciting motorsport on the planet. He listens to podcasts about F1 on a daily basis, and enjoys reading books from the inspirational Adrian Newey to former F1 drivers.

Latest Reads