MOL

London

Comedian Rowan Atkinson crashed out of a classic car race at Goodwood today after a head-on collision with a fellow motorist. The 59-year-old careered his blue Ford Falcon Sprint into the front of another car during the Shelby Cup, a one-off race which marks 60 years of the small-block V8 engine.

According to the Telegraph, the carnage began when a fellow competitor, who was driving two in front of Atkinson, lost control of their car and spun off the tracks. It caused the next car in line to swerve on the tracks, to avoid crashing into the stricken vehicle. But Atkinson, who was not far behind, could do little to stop his own vintage Ford hitting the crashed car head-on.

The actor, best known for his role in Mr Bean, then abandoned his vehicle, but luckily did not sustain any injuries.  A Goodwood regular, Atkinson is frequently pictured at the race track during its renowned festivals. He is a classic car fanatic and his impressive collection of vehicles includes a Honda NSX, a Jaguar Mk7, an Aston Martin DB2, a 1939 BMW 328 and a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe.

But it is not the first time that one of Atkinson’s prized cars has been involved in a collision. The Blackadder star - said to be worth £71million - famously crashed his McClaren F1 into a tree in 2011, after losing control of the 240mph car. It veered off a slippery section of the A605 near Peterborough, hitting a tree and bursting into flames. Atkinson escaped from the wreckage with a broken shoulder but his vehicle – one of only 64 models in the world – was a virtual write-off. Most of the back of the car was destroyed while the 6.1litre engine ended up 20 yards away.

Afterwards, he successfully claimed £910,000 from his insurers to fix the supercar – the highest repair bill ever recorded in Britain. His insurers spent almost eight months considering the claim, before agreeing the massive payout following more than a year of specialist repairs at McLaren’s base in Woking, Surrey.

Earlier this year, Atkinson helped to save a McLaren F1 driver’s life following a horror crash in Tuscany. The British actor was one of the first to come to the wealthy American businessman’s aid after he smashed his 240mph 6.1-litre engine sports car into a tree in central Italy.

The driver lost control of the vehicle, before careering off the road and crashing into the tree in a nearby olive grove.

Atkinson, who had been part of a convoy of motoring enthusiasts driving their McLaren F1s through the Tuscan countryside, immediately rushed to the businessman’s aid.

He was also photographed picking up pieces of debris from the sports car, which was completely destroyed after flipping on to its roof.

Goodwood Revival carries on until Sunday evening. Among the racing legends, the other famous faces taking to the track over the weekend include TV chef James Martin.