Updated at 2130 UK-time to include Andrew Howard quote and condition news, and at 0404 to add video.
The Mansell & Sons assault on the 24 Hours of Le Mans ended after less than 20 minutes when former F1 and CART champion Nigel Mansell spun and crashed heavily, suffering a concussion.
The Beechdean Mansell Ginetta-Zytek GZ09SB with the familiar red five on the front appeared to suffer a left-rear tyre failure at almost 200mph on the third lap of the race, spinning into the safety barrier just before Indianapolis.
The 56-year-old remained in the wrecked car for some minutes before safety crews removed him and carried him by stretcher to an ambulance, and then to a nearby hospital.
There was no immediate statement on his condition, but reports soon emerged suggesting he suffered no serious injuries.
Both his sons, Greg and Leo, used Twitter to reassure fans on his condition and thank them for their support. Greg wrote: “Nige is OK, just having some checks now to be safe. Off home for us.”
Later the race organisers posted on their website: “We now hear that he is fine after receiving a bump on the head.”
And Beechdean team principal Andrew Howard said: “We are very relieved to report that though Nigel is very sore, he is okay. The data from the car has shown that the cause was a slow puncture to the rear left tyre.”
Mansell was competing in his first 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving in the top-level LMP1 class with his sons – who will now not get the chance to participate in this year’s race and are already travelling back to England.
Three safety cars were brought out to control the field in the immediate aftermath, with the Peugeot cars establishing early dominance at the front, and the race was disrupted for half an hour as the car was removed and the barrier repaired.