It was with unbridled sadness that we learnt of the death of Allan Simonsen in the opening laps of this year's Le Mans 24 Hours.
We would like to add our condolences to Allan's family and friends, of whom there are so many, and we were honoured to be amongst them.
Allan was an integral part of the JMW story, partnering Rob Bell in the first year of Jim McWhirter's Le Mans Series endeavour in 2007, seeing them take the title. The only thing bigger than Allan's talent on the track was his personality off it. Seemingly in every paddock everywhere, Allan could be relied on for a smile and upbeat outlook which made him the immensely popular driver and person he was.
Indeed, in 2012 when JMW were in a quandary it was to Allan we turned and without hesitation he was straight to our rescue! We referred to him that weekend as our Prince Charming, stepping in at literally the last minute whilst regular driver James Walker returned home for the birth of his first child. Allan, who had recently become a father himself, proudly showing us the mobile phone photos of his new daughter, was on a plane and in our garage within a matter of hours. This is how we shall remember him.
As this year's Le Mans drew to a close, with the racing no longer acting as panacea, members of our team came to terms with the news and shared their memories of Allan. They all used the same words - likeable, friendly, fun, talented, an all-round good guy. Allan's family requested his team this weekend, Aston Martin, continued in the race in a display of immense bravery and recognition of Allan's love of the sport. Indeed, it was clear the whole paddock; teams, media and spectators, came together in that spirit and I hope we all did Allan proud by continuing in his vein with passion, with good humour and with joy.
Our thoughts at this most difficult of times are with Allan's wife, young daughter, family and many friends.