The Grand Tour host thought he was going to die when he crashed the Rimac Concept One.
By now, Richard Hammond’s recent crash in the Rimac Concept One that left him hospitalized with a fractured knee has been well-documented. While filming for the second series of The Grand Tour, the presenter was tearing around a hill climb circuit in Switzerland when he lost control of the electric supercar and rolled down a hill. Sitting down with Rimac's CEO Mate Rimac, Hammond has provided his most detailed account of the accident yet in an extended interview posted on DriveTribe.
During their fifth day of filming a comparison between the Lamborghini Aventador S, Acura NSX and Rimac Concept One, Hammond attempted one final run up the hill climb course. The back end stepped out after just crossing the finish line, causing him to lose control and roll the Rimac down the hillside, miraculously missing three houses on the way down. As it rolled, the car dug huge craters into the ground before coming to a stop upside down after rolling 110 meters, as shown in photos shared by Rimac taken from the scene. Rimac offered a simple explanation why Hammond crashed: he approached the corner too fast, which caused the torque vectoring system to send the car into oversteer.
Hammond was baffled by this explanation however, as he claimed the car was understeering in the four previous runs prior to the accident. He was wearing a helmet, but no racing harness. Unlike his jet-powered drag car crash in 2006 while filming for Top Gear, he was conscious throughout the entire crash in the Rimac. "I was aware that I was up high, and that inevitably the car was going to come down," he recalled. "And yeah of course there was a moment of dread - 'Oh God, I'm going to die'. And also I was aware that the car was taking just such a beating. If you look at those craters, that's a big hole that's just impact and it looks like the thing has been dropped from space to leave a hole that big.
So yeah I was probably going 'well this is it'. In fact that is what was going through my mind. I thought 'I've had it'." Soon after telling the emergency team to drag him out of the car by his hands because he thought he had broken his leg, the car burst into flames. Rimac believed the Concept One held up well, but will be using data from the crash to investigate ways to prevent a fire from happening in the future. Only eight examples of the Rimac Concept One were built, but there are now only seven left so it’s even more exclusive. Worse still, the car Hammond destroyed was a customer example.
One consolation is that you’ll still get to see the Rimac Concept One appear in second series of The Grand Tour, as filming had already wrapped up before the crash. We'll be riding shotgun as it tackles the Goodwood hillclimb on Friday, so we'll let you know how that goes!