Trackside fan footage has emerged of a terrifying incident at last weekend’s 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps, the opening round of the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship, in which the No.17 SMP Racing BR1 AER LMP1 car, driven at the time by young Russian driver Matevos Isaakyan, went airborne as it climbed Eau Rouge and into Raidillon in the final hour of the race.
Multiple witnesses have told RACER that the car completed two backflips before impacting the barrier on the inside of the circuit. Isaakyan able to climb out of the car without assistance.
The video shows clearly that the car was off-track to driver’s left before taking off; the ‘sausage’ kerbs previously installed to dissuade drivers from exceeding track limits having now been replaced by slightly raised painted lines
The incident was the second huge accident for a BR1 for the weekend after Pietro Fittipaldi suffered fractures to both legs when the DragonSpeed-entered, Gibson-powered BR1 he was piloting in qualifying last Friday left the track at the same place and impacted the barrier hard on driver’s left.
The Fittipaldi incident is already subject to an FIA-led inquiry, with the DragonSpeed team having made it clear that itwill not return to its LMP1 program until the incident is fully investigated and explained. BR Engineering has said that it will co-operate fully with the inquiry.
Meanwhile, 2009 F1 world champion Jenson Button was set to test the second SMP car on Wednesday at Magny Cours ahead of a planned debut with the team at Le Mans next month.