Philippe Etancelin

Born into a wealthy family which had made its fortune in wool, Etancelin bought a Bugatti Type 35 when he was 20 years old and took part in local hillclimbs. He then decided to enter the Grand Prix de la Marne and promptly won the race, establishing himself as one of the fastest drivers on the French national scene. It was a position he would maintain throughout the early 1930s in Bugatti, Alfa Romeo and Maserati machinery. In 1934 he won the Le Mans 24 Hours, sharing an Alfa Romeo with Luigi Chinetti.

He had his share of accidents and good luck, including surviving a big accident at Monza where he rolled. His last major victory came at Pau in 1936 although he went on racing right up until the war, mainly for Anthony Lago's Talbot team.

After the war, despite being nearly 50, he returned to racing in the French national championship and in 1949 won the Paris GP at Montlhery in a Talbot Lago. When the World Championship began in 1950 he was still racing and he managed a couple of fifth places that year. He continued to race on and off until 1953 when he finally retired at the age of 56.

He was awarded a Legion d'Honneur for services to the sport and in the years that followed became a leading light in the Anciens Pilotes organisation. He died in 1981 in the exclusive Parisian suburb of Neully sur Seine.