5. Mark Donohue
Mark Donohue is known for the Can-Am race in 1973 when he was only once and not the first stage. During a 1975 trial race, Donohue’s car slipped and crashed into a fence, Donohue’s head hit a pillar, which he later died of a brain haemorrhage.
4. Gilles Villeneuve
Pride of Canada, Villeneuve has won many F1 championships in his career. In 1982, he was attending a qualifying race in Zolder, Belgium, when an accident took the life of Villeneuve.
His car bumped into a car ahead at a slower speed, and it was thrown into the air before it turned upside down a few times and fell, while Villeneuve was thrown towards the fence.
3. Dale Earnhardt
One of the most successful riders in NASCAR history. During a Daytona 500 race in 2001, Earnhardt and Michael Waltrip took the lead in the final round.
Earnhardt’s car lost control in the third bend and was hit from behind by another car, causing his car to be almost dragged horizontally before hitting the wall at 160 mph. Later that day Earnhardt was announced dead from the impact.
2. Ayrton Senna
In a race that took place in 1994, the accident caused the Brazilian F1 monument to perish forever. Senna’s car got off the track and hit the wall at 135 mph. The back wheel of the car was flung up and bumped into Senna’s helmet causing him a head injury.
The Brazilian government decided to give Senna three days of mourning, with an estimated 3 million people in the streets to see off Senna. Alain Post, Senna’s biggest rival, was the one who carried his coffin at the funeral. The Honda headquarters in Tokyo was packed with flowers in the hallway, though Senna was no longer playing for Honda’s sponsored McLaren team.
1. Pierre Levegh
The most tragic accident in racing history. In 1955, Levegh participated in a race at Le Mans. Levegh’s car turned upside down and flew into the air before its parts were knocked out and fell towards the audience.
Levegh was thrown out of the car and died on the spot due to a traumatic brain injury, while parts of the car caught fire and killed 83 spectators. Before he died, Levegh still managed to raise his hand to warn the person behind, Juan Manuel Fangio, to avoid the accident, and thus save a life. Fangio later became the F1 legend with 5 championships.