Teams Pierre Levegh
Races: 6By Jeremy McMullenPage: 1 2 next >>
The world takes goodness for granted. It is far more likely a person will be remembered, from an outsider's perspective, for bad, truly tragic, events that happen in their life instead of all of the good things. It takes a conscious effort many times to forget the bad and remember the good. Unfortunately for Pierre Levegh, he is most infamously remembered for that dark day at Le Mans in 1955. What is lost to memory, however, is the truly remarkable talent and sportsman Pierre really was.
Pierre Bouillin was born in Paris, France in 1905, one year after the death of pioneer racing driver Alfred Velghe. Alfred didn't go by the spelling of his last name, but instead, changed it to 'Levegh'. Alfred Levegh was Pierre's uncle. And when Pierre started racing in the 1930s he took 'Levegh' for himself in honor of his uncle.
Pierre had all-around talent. Just about anything he set his mind to doing he not only did well at, he excelled. Pierre was considered a world-class ice hockey player. Pierre was also considered to be an elite tennis player.
Pierre started grand prix racing toward the later part of the 1930s. One of his first races was the Frontieres Grand Prix at Chimay, France in May of 1937. Levegh, driving a Bugatti T57, started the race 4th from the second row on the grid. The race was 10 laps of the almost seven mile road course around Chimay, France. Pierre managed, in his first race mind you, to take over second in a good fight with Legat. However, Pierre had to make a pitstop and this handed second back to Legat. Ruesch won the race in his Alfa Romeo 8C-35. Legat finished 2nd in his Bugatti T35B and Levegh finished the race 3rd in his Bugatti. This was the only grand prix race Levegh would take part in 1937. He would take part in a couple of sports car races however.
Pierre would not take part in any grand prix races in 1938. However, Levegh did compete in the 24 hours of Le Mans and the 24 hours of SpA, but with no success. Pierre would only compete in one grand prix during the 1939 season. The one race Pierre competed in 1939 was the Coupe de Paris at Montlhery in May of that year. At this race, Levegh arrived with a Talbot drive. In the end, Pierre finished the race 6th, some 2 laps behind race winner Wimille. Pierre, once again, competed in a number of sports car events including the 24 hours of Le Mans again. Pierre managed to score a 4th place finish at the Grand Prix d'Anvers. He followed that with a 3rd at the sports car Grand Prix of Luxembourg. Pierre's other best result in 1939 was a 5th place which he scored at the sports car Grand Prix du Comminges.
Unfortunately for Levegh, the German military began its march into eastern Europe, and then, started its western march. This brought an end to grand prix racing and to probably Levegh's prime in auto racing.
| Time was obviously against Pierre when the war ended, and so, he resumed racing in earnest. In September of 1945, Levegh took part in one of the first grand prix races held after the war. Pierre took part in the Bois de Boulogne in Boulogne, France. Some of the other drivers who were present were Gerard, Etancelin, Sommer and Wimille. Levegh competed with a Talbot-Lago T150C. The race was nothing of special note for Pierre except it was his first race back after the end of the war. Levegh suffered a DNF in the 43 lap event.|
|1951||T26C||Talbot 23CV 4.5 L6|
|1950||T26C||23CV 4.5 L6|
In 1946, Levegh took part in six grand prix events throughout that year. His first race of the year, Les Rues de Nice was nothing spectacular as he finished that race in 11th. However, in the remaining five events in which he took part, he did not finish worse than 8th. Pierre's best result of the season was second, of which he achieved three times.
At the Bois de Boulogne, in May of 1946, Pierre raced home to a 5th place finish in his own Talbot-Lago T150C. The event was won by Wimille in an Alfa Romeo 308.
Levegh then travelled to Brussels, Belgium to take part in the sports car race, the Bois de la Cambre. This race was 33 laps of a 2.3 mile road course. Levegh competed using his Talbot-Lago T150C once again. Levegh was able to finish the race 2nd behind Eugene Chaboud. After an 8th place finish as the Circuit de Dijon-Prenois, Levegh headed to Nantes, France in order to contest the 24 Hours du Mans grand prix race. This was not the actuall 24 hours of Le Mans but was a race consisting of 45 laps on the 2.6 mile street course. Pierre completed the 45 laps finishing the race 2nd.
Pierre followed the 2nd at the 24 Hours du Mans with another 2nd at the grand prix race at the Circuit des Trois Villes. This was the last race for Levegh in 1946. The race took place over a length of 48 laps, on the 3.2 mile street course near Marc-en-Baroeul, France. Pierre ended up a lap down in his Talbot-Lago, beaten by Raymond Sommer in his Maserati 8CL.
Going into 1947, Pierre switched from running his own cars, and instead, competed as part of the Ecurie Gersac team. The team utilized the 6-cylinder D6.70 Delage.
The 1947 season started early for Pierre. In April, Levegh took part in the Pau Grand Prix. Levegh picked up right where he left off the previous year. He came in 2nd behind race winner Nello Pagani and his Maserati 4CL. Levegh ended up the 110 lap race down two laps to Pagani. Levegh's 2nd place finish ended up paying him a little over $1,000.00.
Twenty days later, Levegh was in Perpignan, France, and the Circuit de Perpignan, for the Grand Prix du Roussillon. Battling some of France's best talent in his Delage D6.70, Pierre drove a solid race and finished the event 4th, one lap down to Eugene Chaboud.
Pierre travelled to the British island of Jersey to compete in the Jersey Road Race. Twenty-five drivers started the race. At the end of the event, Levegh finished 7th in his Delage, some 4 laps down to Reg Parnell and his Maserati 4CL.
In May, Pierre took part in the Grand Prix of Marseilles. The race was 69 laps of a 2.7 mile street course. Starting from the 11th starting spot on the grid, Levegh drove a strong race. He came up through the field in his Delage D6. Pierre finished 4th behind his Ecurie Gersac teammate Henri Louveau. Levegh ended the race 3 laps down to the race winner Eugene Chaboud. This would be the last race Levegh would compete on behalf of Ecurie Gersac. Finishing in 6th in the race was Jean Achard, a fellow Ecurie Gersac teammate.
Jean Achard appeared for the Grand Prix de Nimes, held at the Aerodrome de Nîmes-Courbessac, with team Ecurie Gersac. Jean Achard offered Levegh to drive his own Delahaye 155 for the race. Unfortunately, the offer didn't prove successful as Pierre failed to finish the 70 lap event.
The next four events Pierre took part were grand prix races and for the team Ecurie Naphtra Course. In these events Pierre would be behind the wheel of a Maserati 4CL chassis. The partnership didn't prove to be all that successful for either Ecurie Naphtra Course or Levegh as his best result over the span of the four races was two 10th place finishes. Those two 10th place finishes came in the first two events. Pierre's first 10th place finish was at the Grand Prix de l‘Albigeois held at the street course Circuit des Planques in Albi, France. The other event Pierre scored a 10th place finish was the Grand Prix de Nice, at the Les Rues de Nice street course. Villoresi, who won the Grand Prix of Nice in a Maserati 4CL for Scuderia Ambrosiana took home just over $2,000.
Pierre failed to finish his next and last two events for Ecurie Naphtra Course, the Grand Prix of Strasbourg and the Grand Prix of St. Gaudens. In fact, Levegh would suffer from four-straight DNFs, bringing 1947 to an unsuccessful close.Page: 1 2 next >>