The world of endurance racing is an exciting, competitive and adrenaline-pumping one, but it doesn’t come without its challenges and dangers. Over the weekend, all of these things were realized for drivers and fans alike at the Rolex 24 at Daytona race. Check out the video above, compliments of Sporting News to see exactly what we mean. (Warning: the video is a bit difficult to watch).
Only three hours into the 24-hour race, fans and drivers alike got a terrifying shock as they witnessed a terrible crash between the pole-winning No. 99 GAINSCO/ Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP and the No. 62 Risi Competizone Ferrari 458 Italia.
Coming out of the notorious International Horseshoe turn in the infield of the Daytona course, Risi Competizone Ferrari driver Matteo Malucelli reported losing power before pulling to the side of the track. At the same time, GAINSCO/ Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP driver Memo Gidley moved to lap a slower car in front of him.
In a split second, Gidley rammed into the back of Malucelli at nearly full speed, spinning the Ferrari off the course and crumpling the Corvette from the impact. There is speculation that the setting sun was the cause of the accident as other drivers reported not being able to see anything in that section of the course.
Both men were taken away on stretchers and rushed to Halifax Health Medical Center about a mile away. Gidley had to be cut out of his Corvette DP because of the damage the car sustained in the crash.
Although the crash was terrifying and brutal, both men survived the incident, with Gidley undergoing surgery on his left arm and leg Saturday night. He remains in the hospital while doctors address an “unstable fracture” in his back. Malucelli was released from the hospital Monday and was headed back home to Italy this week.
Our thoughts and well wishes go out to both Gidley and Malucelli as they begin their recoveries from this dramatic accident, as well as their teammates as they look forward to the remainder of the race season.