Aston Martin driver Roald Goethe is out of hospital and able to walk after sustaining two broken vertebrae in an accident during the Le Mans 24 Hours earlier this month.
The German amateur driver crashed his Vantage GTE out of the final left-hander of the Porsche Curves in an incident involving the winning Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Nico Hulkenberg. He underwent pioneering surgery last Wednesday and was able to stand the following day.
Goethe, who shared his GTE Am class Aston with Stuart Hall and Francesco Castellacci, told AUTOSPORT: “I’m very lucky that I have a good surgeon here in Monaco. I had keyhole surgery: something called a spinal jack was inserted in the damaged vertebrae and then cement injected around them.
“I’m in good spirits and able to walk, though in slow motion for the moment.”
Goethe admitted disappointment that neither Porsche nor Hulkenberg had attempted to contact him after the incident, which he insisted was not his fault.
“Though it might appear from the front-on footage that I lost control due to moving off line or simply driving badly, the accident in fact was caused by contact made with the Porsche LMP1 sending me onto the marbles,” explained Goethe.
TV footage is inconclusive, although in-car pictures from the Porsche suggest there was contact. Photographic evidence, provided to Goethe by a spectator, shows Hulkenberg putting two wheels over the curb as he dives up the inside of the Aston. The Porsche pitted minutes after the incident in the 17th hour to have a damaged section of rear bodywork replaced.
Goethe, 55, explained that he had made no final decision on his continued participation in this year’s World Endurance Championship, but said that he expects to be back on the grid for the next round at the Nurburgring at the end of August. He suggested that he might choose not to return to Le Mans, however.
“The accident hasn’t put me off my passion for motorsport, but I hit an unprotected concrete wall, so before I go back to Le Mans, I’d like to see some tires or a SAFER barrier at places like that,” he said.