Louis Rosier

From the Auvergne region in central France Rosier was the son of a wine merchant and started out driving his fatherís truck before becoming an apprentice in a garage. He competed on motorcycles in hillclimb events, starting in 1927 with a Harley-Davidson, and then opened up his own garage - he enjoyed Renault and Talbot concessions - and a transport company in the city of Clermont-Ferrand. In 1938 he tried his hand at car racing with a few hillclimbs and a run in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

During the war he worked with the Resistance in his region and his wife and daughter were taken hostage and sent to Germany. After the war Rosier travelled to Germany to find them. In 1946 he went back to competition with a Talbot, beginning with the Monte Carlo Rally. He then acquired a Lago-Talbot Grand Prix car and began taking part in French national races, of which there were many at the time. His first major victory came at Albi in 1947 and at Forez in 1948. In 1949 he won the Belgian Grand Prix and the French Championship, a title he would win for the next four years.

In 1950, sharing a Talbot Lago with his son Louis, he won the Le Mans 24 Hours and later that summer won the non-championship Dutch Grand Prix (a feat he repeated the following year). He became a Lago-Talbot factory driver for some years and was a competitor in the very first round of the Formula 1 World Championship, finishing fifth at Silverstone and third in both the Swiss and Belgian Grands Prix. In 1951 the Talbots were beginning to run out of steam but he still won the non-championship Dutch race. For 1952 he switched to a Ferrari 500 and continued to be a strong contender for the next two seasons. He went on racing F1 cars but also turned to sports cars and rallies, including a run in the Carrera Panamericana in 1953, and began trying to promote the idea of a racing circuit at Charade. At the end of the 1956 season he spun his Ferrari sports car at the Ascari corner at Le Mans during the Coupe du Salon event. The track was wet but the car dug in and overturned and Rosier suffered serious head injuries from which he died three weeks later in hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine.

The circuit at Charade was initiated in 1958 and later became the home of the French GP. The modern Charade race track bears his name.