FEBRUARY 13, 2005
Former Formula 1 winner Maurice Trintignant has died at the age of 87. Born into a family that was involved in racing, Trintignant grew up watching his brother Louis racing a Bugatti but in 1933 he crashed while testing for the Grand Prix de Picardie on the Peronne circuit. The family sold the car but in 1938 Maurice bought it back and began his own racing career. After the war he brought the old car out once again and raced it in the Grand Prix de la Liberation in the Bois de Boulogne. Unfortunately the car's preparation had been cursory, to say the least. Whilst stored in a barn during the war, a family of rats had made their home in its fuel tank - hence Trintignant was nicknamed 'Le Petoulet' - which literally means Rat Droppings. In 1948 he suffered serious injuries in a voiturette race at the 1948 Swiss Grand Prix meeting at Bremgarten but recovered to build a reputation as a versatile driver. In 1945 he won the Monaco Grand Prix for Ferrari and in 1958 repeated that achievement in a Rob Walker Cooper-Climax. After Stirling Moss's accident in 1962, he briefly raced again for Rob Walker before concentrating on racing his own private BRM V8 through to the sunset of his active career. By the end of his career he had competed in 82 Formula 1 events with Gordini, Ferrari, Vanwall, Cooper, Maserati, BRM, Lotus and Aston Martin. He also won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1954. After his retirement he went to live as a vigneron in Vergeze, a town close to Nimes, where he was elected the local mayor for a period.
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