One year on Michiel Smits returns to his Lola T70

22nd March 2017
Bob Murray

The biggest welcome-back-to-Goodwood cheer goes to… Michiel Smits. Cast your mind back a year and you may remember the circuit going very quiet during the Surtees Trophy race on the Sunday afternoon. Michiel Smits in his Lola T70 Spyder had left the track at the end of the Lavant Straight, at 150mph-plus.


“I was following another Lola when a piece of its front bodywork came off and hit me on the head. It crushed my helmet and made me unconscious. That’s what I believe happened anyway, because I have no memory of the accident at all. All I know is what I have seen and what people have told me. I think I was very lucky.”

Michiel was in Brighton Hospital for six days after the freak accident but his recovery to full health has taken far longer than that. Now, happily, he is back at Members’ Meeting with the very same Lola, repaired and looking better than ever.

The only pain he feels now, he quips, is in the repair bill. “All the work was done in the UK. Now I know why Britain’s GDP has gone up…”


It took nine months to get the car straight and this is its first outing, and Michiel’s first race, since the accident.

Did the car feel as good as before? “Well it felt good to be back out there again in it but whether it’s like it was before I can’t say because I just don’t remember driving it.” 

Did he have any doubts about a racing return? “No none at all. If the doctors would allow it and my brain was recovered then I was always going to go back to racing. I am very glad to be back.” 

Michiel, it is great to have you back…

Photo by Marcus Dodridge 

  • 75MM

  • Surtees Trophy

  • Michiel Smits

  • 2017

  • Sportscar

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