Richard Hammond's Rimac Concept One crash (lost onboard footage of hill climb accident; 2017)
On 10th June 2017, The Grand Tour presenter Richard Hammond was competing in a hill climb event in St. Gallen, Switzerland, when he suddenly lost control of his Rimac Concept One. He ended up sliding off the track, with the Rimac breaking through a barrier and rolling over several times down the hill before bursting into flames. Hammond escaped the wreckage before the car caught fire, but suffered a knee fracture from the accident. While footage of the crash and its aftermath is publicly available, the onboard footage of the event transpiring remains inaccessible.
Background[edit | edit source]
Hammond, alongside fellow presenters Jeremy Clarkson and James May, were driving a set of supercars in Switzerland to determine the best between the past (Lamborghini Aventador S), present (Honda NSX), and future (Rimac Concept One). The segment would conclude with a timed hill climb to determine which one was the fastest. To provide "encouragement" for their fellow presenter, Clarkson and May told Hammond before his run that he had a serious chance of breaking the track record of 54 seconds, and that the whole of Croatia and the entirety of Eastern Europe was watching on and believing in Hammond.
The Crash[edit | edit source]
In total, Hammond completed four timed laps of the hill climb trail, setting consistently faster times. Following the completion of his final lap, Hammond had around 200 metres of straight track to sufficiently slow down safely. However, analysis of surviving footage indicated the Rimac was still seemingly at racing pace heading into the climb's first right turn. As the car approached the turn, it suddenly began to oversteer to the right. Hammond attempted a correction, but this caused the Rimac to steer promptly to the left, most likely in response to both Hammond's counter-steering and the car itself regaining grip. Thus, the now uncontrollable vehicle continued veering left, slamming into a barrier, before falling 100 feet off the hill. After it rolled multiple times during its descent, the wrecked Rimac landed inverted at the bottom after travelling about 500 feet in total. Unlike with his 2006 Vampire Dragster crash, Hammond remained conscious, though informed first aid respondents that he believed one of his legs was broken and that he needed to be dragged out by his arms. Hammond narrowly escaped the Rimac before the car erupted into flames.
The presenter was airlifted to the St. Gallen hospital. Hammond ultimately suffered a fractured knee, a consequence of a collapsed knee joint. It would take until 12th August 2017 before Hammond was able to drive again. 19 days after the accident, Hammond and Rimac CEO Mate Rimac discussed the crash in a DriveTribe video. During the video, Rimac alluded that Hammond may have been driving too quickly, and that by the time he realised this, he was running out of track and his sharp steering may have upset the car's balance by confusing its vectoring system. Similarly, during Episode 2 of Series 2, May jokingly exclaimed that the reason he and Hammond failed to reach a train during the New York to Niagara Falls race was that Hammond "doesn't know how to slow down when it says 'finish' across the road". It should however be noted that Hammond has never claimed to have over sped on the approach to the turn. Hammond also questioned the vectoring system, stating that in his prior runs, the car had been consistently understeering approaching the turn.
Availability[edit | edit source]
Ultimately, none of The Grand Tour cameras were present at the start-finish line, although an amateur recording did capture the crash unfold. This was also broadcast as part of Episode 1 of Series 2. However, it was confirmed that various car cameras, including the onboard camera, were capturing footage heading into the crash. The cameras were said to have been destroyed in the accident and resulting fire, but footage prior to the accident were recovered and shown in Episode 1. Additionally, audio from the onboard camera was also spliced into the crash footage in the episode, indicating that the footage also survived. Alas, it has never publicly resurfaced, though it remains unclear whether it was indeed actually destroyed, or was not included in the episode out of respect for Hammond.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Videos[edit | edit source]
See Also[edit | edit source]
- Greatest Ever Screen Chases (lost Sky One television documentary; 2005)
- Top Gear (partially found American pilots to British show; 2005-2008)
- Top Gear (partially found Discovery Channel adaptation of BBC Two TV series; 2005)
- Top Gear (partially found episodes of BBC Two television series; 1977-2002)
- Top Gear (partially found footage of Cenotaph stunt; 2016)
- Top Gear (partially found original British airings of BBC Two television series; 2002-2003)
- Top Gear (partially found unaired segments of BBC motoring show; 2002-2015)
- Top Gear - Series 1: Episode 1 (unaired pilot episodes of BBC Two television series; 2002)
- Top Gear - Series 22: Episode 10 (lost footage of unfinished episode of BBC motoring show; 2015)
- Top Gear GTi (partially found footage of UK Horizons television series; 1997-2003)
References[edit | edit source]
- News24 summarising the segment. Retrieved 31st Dec '22
- Top Gear Box analysing how the crash may have transpired. Retrieved 31st Dec '22
- Road and Track summarising the Hammond-Rimac discussion. Retrieved 31st Dec '22
- BBC News reporting on the accident and Hammond's knee injury. Retrieved 31st Dec '22
- Electrek summarising the accident and noting the amateur video captured of the crash. Retrieved 31st Dec '22
- Vulture reporting on Hammond being able to drive again in August 2017. Retrieved 31st Dec '22
- Car Scoops noting that onboard cameras were incorporated onto the car, but were destroyed in the resulting accident. Retrieved 31st Dec '22
- r/thegrandtour discussing the accident and the possibility of onboard footage. Retrieved 31st Dec '22