As I’m sure many of you know already, Richard Hammond, the short one on the Grand Tour and previous version of the hit show Top Gear, was recently in a violent car accident while filming an upcoming episode. He was driving the Rimac Concept One up a hill climb course in Switzerland when just as he neared the finish line the car broke loose and spun him off the road. Now being that it’s a hill climb course and he was within sight of the finish line that meant he was at the top when he went off the side. If you were to just look at the pictures of the end result with the crumpled and charred remains of what was once a million dollar electric supercar at this point, you would absolutely think the worst. But luckily, Hammond managed to come away from the crash with only a shattered knee and a few bumps and bruises, but alive. And today, DriveTribe released an in-depth interview with Hammond regarding the crash, and as an added twist Rimac Founder Mate Rimac was there as well.
Mate Rimac was almost praising Hammond in a way, and rightfully so the way I see it. What better review or examples of how safe your car is then to have it thrown off the side of a hill, rolled an unknown amount of times, and have the driver come away with “only” an injured knee? And that’s with just a standard seat belt, not even racing harnesses. Granted there was the whole bursting into flames thing, but as Mate points out in the interview, what supercar wouldn’t start on fire after something as ferocious as that.
What was cool on Hammond’s part was he was the first one to point out how safe the car was, and how even though he had thoughts of “Well, this is it then” running through his head. He then went on to recap how the whole thing went down. As luck would have it, the crash happened on what would’ve been Hammond’s final run for the day. And apparently even that almost didn’t happen, but the show’s producer decided “lets do just one more,” and in a joking manner Hammond even said “you know this is gonna be the one I crash on” right before he took off and not but a minute later he was careening off the road. Hammond refers to it as the “meanest thing he’s ever done to a human being” even though it was obviously a complete accident and unintentional in every way. With only 8 examples of the Rimac Concept One in existence, it’s sad to say there are now only 7. And the one he crashed was actually a customer’s car.
Being that it was Hammond’s last run of the day meant that he had made a few runs prior, 4 to be exact. Each one his confidence grew and was willing to push the car closer and closer to the limit. Which in the Rimac Concept One that is one serious limit. With 1224hp and a highly sophisticated all-wheel-drive torque vectoring system, the Rimac is on another level. And apparently, it was that high-tech vectoring system that may have caused the crash. According to reports, it is believed that Hammond may have pushed the torque vectoring system into oversteer by initiating the turn too quickly. And in most normal road circumstances that wouldn’t have been as big of an issue because the back end would’ve kicked out into a powerslide and could’ve been corrected.
Hammond flew about 100 feet before making his first impact with the road below, that is what sent the Concept One into a roll. He then traveled at least 500 feet, luckily missing three houses that would’ve made things so much worse, before the vehicle finally stopped upside down. Shockingly, Hammond said he was completely conscious the entire time and can actually remember what he feels to be the exact moment that his knee was crushed. He even remembers telling safety personal to drag him out by his arms because he felt he had broken his leg.
Hammond’s co-presenters Clarkson and May sat mortified as they watched safety crews attending to Hammond. Clarkson tweeted that it was the most violent crash he had ever seen. And considering Hammond was also in another brutal crash back in the Top Gear days, where he was in a dragster at 300mph when it went off course, that’s really saying something.
It was the biggest crash I've ever seen and the most frightening but incredibly, and thankfully, Richard seems to be mostly OK.
— Jeremy Clarkson (@JeremyClarkson) June 10, 2017
In the end, I think everything worked out quite well for everyone involved. Hammond is alive and well with an amazing story to tell. Mate Rimac is getting the best press he could ask for with this whole thing as well as it proving that electric cars are here to stay. And even the poor customer who lent the car out in for the filming in the first place, they will most definitely get a big fat insurance check as well as the willingness of Rimac to want to make it right so will therefore likely result in a new Concept One.
We wish Hammond the best of luck and a speedy recovery so that he can continue to shoot our favorite motoring program.