A race driver who died at the Snetterton circuit accidentally unbuckled her safety harness moments before crashing into barriers, an inquest has heard. 

Angela Lucas was one of a three-driver team participating in a Citroen C1 four-hour endurance race in July 2021 when her car was hit from behind by another competitor seconds into her first lap. 

An inquest heard she was unrestrained inside the car as it left the track circuit on her first corner and smashed into a barrier. 

The 42-year-old, a business consultant from Upwell, died at the scene as a result of serious head injuries.

Eastern Daily Press: The Citroen C1 Angela Lucas was driving when she crashed, pictured at Snetterton circuit at the same eventThe Citroen C1 Angela Lucas was driving when she crashed, pictured at Snetterton circuit at the same event (Image: Richard Styles)

The inquest jury of seven women and four men at Norfolk Coroners' Court was shown the safety harness and five-point locking buckle she had been wearing at the time.

They were told tests after the fatal crash had shown the harness had been in perfect working order and that video from inside her car appeared to show she had been properly strapped in prior to the crash. 

Jamie Champkin, a member of regulating body Motorsports UK’s serious incident response executive - which investigated the incident - said she had most likely accidentally undone it while trying to avoid crashing.

“It’s our belief and supposition that Angela’s right arm may have come into contact with the harness buckle and may have accidentally released it,” he said.

He said it appeared the locking buckle had been incorrectly positioned on her stomach rather than lower down on her pelvis.

He added that her driving had been “exemplary” before the crash.

Mrs Lucas had taken up racing in 2007 after previously accompanying her husband as he competed in more than 250 races, the inquest heard.  

Adam Lucas said in a statement his wife had a “passion for adventure and excitement” and had driven at Formula 1 and international circuits.

As team manager, he had helped lock in place the harness straps as Mrs Lucas took over the third leg of the multi-driver endurance race, he said.

“I think I said to her ‘have fun’, which I always said to her before a race,” he said.

He added: “Nothing was rushed, nothing was changed or different from what I’d done before in the last 30 years of racing.” 

Mr Lucas, who the inquest was told has since given up motorsports, disputed a claim by one of the other drivers, Shaun Fray, that the harness buckle had also “popped open” during his final lap.

Matthew Franks, a mechanic for the team, said Mr Lucas had maintained high safety standards and was “very diligent”.

Following her death, tributes were paid to Mrs Lucas from fellow members of the racing community.

A statement released by Citroen C1 Racing Series organisers British Automobile Racing Club described her as a "well-known and much-loved member of the series".

The inquest continues.