Motorsport community pays tribute to Allan Simonsen

Allan Simonsen (left) during the Le Mans parade this week

Allan Simonsen (left) during the Le Mans parade this week

Australian motorsport has woken with a heavy heart and has outpoured it’s emotion this morning with the news of Allan Simonsen’s passing after a crash at Tetre Rouge during the opening stages of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours overnight.

Leading the tributes were V8 Supercars racer, Jason Bright who is racing in the event for 8 Star Motorsports in the GTE-Am category that Simonsen set the pole position time in, McLaren Formula 1 drivers, Jenson Button and Sergio Perez, along with Jeroen Bleekemolen who is also racing at Le Mans. F1 commentator, Martin Brundle – who’s son Alex is racing in the car that set pole position in LMP2 – said via Twitter that the race must go on.

A number of IndyCar drivers, who were about to take the wheel in Iowa expressed their dismay at Simonsen’s passing, including Dario Franchitti, whose brother Marino is racing with Ryan Briscoe in the event.

Tragically, Simonsen was due to partner with Bright’s team-mate David Wall at Brad Jones Racing during the upcoming V8 Supercar endurance races.

The V8 Supercars organisation expressed it’s condolences to Simonsen’s family at the loss of the 34-year-old, as did organisers of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour where Simonsen showed his true talent in recent years behind the wheel of the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 Italia.

Simonsen left the track early in the 81st running, 90th anniversary Le Mans endurance classic in his factory Aston Martin. He was pronounced dead soon after. After consulting with his family, the official Aston Martin team continued in the race, where they currently lead the GTE-Pro category.

Allan is survived by his partner and young daughter.

A selection of the Tweets from motorsport identities included:

*Jason Bright: Gutted to hear that we have lost Allan Simonsen.  It was a pleasure to spend time with him a few years ago at Bathurst.   #RIP

*Jenson Button: It hurts so much to hear the news about Allan Simonsen that was a true champion in our sport.. All my love and thoughts with his family

*Jeroen Bleekemolen: Can’t believe we’ve lost Allan Simonsen. Such a great guy. Thoughts with the family. Unreal.

*David Brabham: Saying goodbye to my winning team mate @AllanSimonsen. A smile was never far from his face. We will miss him. #prayersforthefamily

*Jamie Whincup: Thinking of Allan Simonsen and his family #RIP #doingwhatheloved

*Martin Brundle: I’m really sad about Allan Simonsen dying at Le Mans. He was a world class GT driver. Aston M team + race goes on, it’s the only thing to do

*Sergio Perez: Thoughts & prayers with Allan Simonsen’s family and @AMR_Official team.”Que lastima!! La dura vida de piloto , Murio haciendo lo que quería

*Will Davison: Motorsport is so wonderful but can be so cruel, you meet great people along the way but you can’t explain things like this. Life is fragile!

*TEKNO Autosports: Terrible to hear the news that Allan Simonsen has passed at Le Mans. Taken too soon. All at TEKNO are thinking of his family. RIP.

*Ryan Walkinshaw: Incredibly sad to hear that Allan Simonsen has lost his life after a crash at LeMans. #RIP

*Alex Davison: Just woke to shit news of Allan Simonsen being killed at Le Mans. Can’t believe it and really feeling for his wife and little Daughter.

*Cameron McConville: Absolutely gutted, shocked, gone way too young!! RIP Allan Simonsen.

*Steve Richards: Terrible to wake to the news that @Alansimonsen has passed away. Thoughts go out to his family and friends at this sad time #LM24

*James Courtney: Devastated to hear from Le Mans that @allansimonsen has passed away. I grew up racing with Alan & he truly was a great racer and great guy.

*Steve Johnson: Distressing news this morning that my endurance co driver last year @AllanSimonsen has died at Le Mans. Can’t believe it. RIP Al. #LM24

*Mitch Evans: RIP Allan Simonsen. Freak accident, no one deserves that. Thoughts go out to his family and team members

*Lee Holdsworth: Just woke to hear the sad news of @AllanSimonsen . Thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. RIP to a good man lost to our sport

*Matt Halliday: Cannot believe the news about @AllanSimonsen today thoughts with his family

*James Moffat: Struggling with the tragic news of @AllanSimonsen. Another one we have lost far too early, RIP mate. Thoughts with his family

*Warren Luff: Just woke to the incredibly sad news that Allan Simonsen lost his life as a result of his accident at LeMans. RIP my friend

*Andrew Jones: Terribly sad news from Le Mans. My thoughts are with Allan’s family and friends.

*Fabian Coulthard: Woke up to the shocking news of the passing of @AllanSimonsen at LeMans thoughts are with his family! #Rip

*Nick Percat: Motorsport has some high highs but some extremely low lows #RIPAllanSimonsen

*Michael Patrizi: We all have to remember safety is the #1 key for our sport. But we are in mercy of machines and sometimes these sad things can happen

*Shae Davies: Rest In Peace @AllanSimonsen … Tragic news. Such a great talent.

*Simon Pagenaud: RIP to Alan Simonsen and sending all my prayers and courage to his family and friends. It’s a sad day in racing and in Le Mans.

*Mark Beretta: Shattered at the loss of @AllanSimonsen in Le Mans race. A great driver, a gentleman and a fantastic bloke. Loved his racing and life. RIP.

*James Hinchcliffe: As shocked as everyone to hear of another driver lost at LeMans. RIP Allan Simonsen.

*Dario Franchitti: Very sad news from Le Mans, rest in peace @allansimonsen

*Tim Slade: Cannot believe what has just happened at LM24hr… I am shattered to hear about @AllanSimonsen , why? This sport can be so cruel…

*Matthew Brabham: Can’t believe it… #RIPAllanSimonsen

VIDEO: Simonsen’s 2:04 lap of Bathurst:

One of the best ways that Simonsen can be remembered is by his prodigious talent behind the wheel. This is the 2:04 lap he set in December 2011 during testing for the 2012 Bathurst 12 Hour. At the time it was the fastest lap ever recorded at Mount Panorama:

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