Racecar Goes Airborne and Slams Into Photographers’ Box

There was a terrifying crash at the Macau Grand Prix on Sunday. 17-year-old Formula 3 driver Sophia Floersch crashed, went airborne, and slammed directly into a photographers’ box. And it was all caught on camera.

The video above and the two below show the 168mph (270km/h) wreck from different angles.

Floersch survived the crash and later underwent surgery after being diagnosed with a spinal fracture. Another driver, a marshal, and two photographers were also hospitalized.

Hong Kong-based Australian photographer Christiaan Hart was one of the five photographers inside the box when the crash occurred.

“Everything happened so fast, the sound was horrific,” Hart tells PetaPixel. “One minute you are shooting the next thing we were all picking ourselves up off the floor, the impact threw us down, camera gear and bags were all over the place.”

Here’s a photo sequence Hart captured showing what happened before impact:

“Lisboa is a famous corner as the cars come off a huge straight into a tight right-hand corner,” Hart says. “It’s where the action is most likely to happen. No one, though, expected the seriousness of that crash.

“To get into the bunker we need to apply for slots — I had done this a few days earlier. Shooting at this corner you either go with long glass to capture the cars down the straight and then switch cameras to a wider option to capture the corner. At the time of the crash, I was on the Sony a9 with the 70-200mm. I managed to get most of what happened.

“The structure thankfully was built strong enough and did its job. It was a total mess inside. I believe it also saved Sophia’s car from ending up over another fence into the building behind.”

The photographers’ box in the aftermath of the crash.

“If we [had been] shooting from the left side, I hate to think of what could have happened — that side took the full force,” Hart says. “Luckily no injuries for myself. One photographer was taken to the hospital that I know of. I believe he had some concussion.”

“Thankfully no one was seriously injured. It shook us all up a bit, words are hard to describe the feeling. In fact, there was no time to do anything,” the photographer says.

“I would think next year that area will be red-zoned,” Hart says. “After witnessing this, I would definitely think twice about shooting from that position.”

You can find more of Hart’s work on his website and Instagram.

Image credits: Photographs by Christiaan Hart and used with permission