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Jean-Pierre Wimille

From Academic Kids

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BugattiType50B.jpg
Type 50B 4.7 L racing Bugatti with J. P. Wimille behind the wheel

Jean-Pierre Wimille (February 26, 1908January 28, 1949) was a Grand Prix motor racing driver.

Born in Paris, France to a father who loved motor sports and was employed as the motoring correspondent for the Petit Parisien newspaper, Jean-Pierre Wimille developed his fascination with racing cars at a young age. He was 22 years old when he made his Grand Prix debut, driving a Bugatti 37A at the 1930 French Grand Prix in Pau.

Driving a Bugatti T51, in 1932 he won the La Turbie Mountain Race, the Grand Prix de Lorraine and the Grand Prix d'Oran. In 1934 he was the victor at the Algerian Grand Prix in Algiers driving a Bugatti T59 and in January of 1936 he finished second in the South African Grand Prix held at the Prince George Circuit in East London, South Africa then won the French Grand Prix in his home country.

Still in France, that same year he won the Deauville Grand Prix, a race held on the city's streets. Wimille won in his Bugatti T59 in an accident-marred race that killed drivers Raymond Chambost and Marcel Lehoux in separate incidents. Of the 16 cars that started the race, only three managed to finish.

In 1936, Wimille traveled to Long Island, New York to compete in the Vanderbilt Cup where he finished 2nd, behind the winner, Tazio Nuvolari. He also competed in the 24 hours of Le Mans endurance race, winning in 1937 and again in 1939.

When World War II came, following the Nazi occupation Wimille and fellow Grand Prix race drivers Robert Benoist and William Grover-Williams joined the Special Operations Executive of the French Resistance. Of the three, Wimille was the only one to survive.

Jean-Pierre Wimille married Christiane de la Fressange with whom he had a son, François born in 1946. At the end of the War, he became the No. 1 driver for the Alfa Romeo team between 1946 and 1948, winning several Grand Prix races including his second French Grand Prix. Jean-Pierre Wimille died at the wheel of a racing car during practice runs for the 1949 Buenos Aires Grand Prix.

In 2003, a book on his illustrious career was written in French & English and titled Jean-Pierre Wimille: à bientôt la revanche by Jean-Michel Paris and William D. Mearns.

Some of Jean-Pierre Wimille's race victories:

1932:

1934:

1936:

1937:

1939:

Post War - 1945:

  • Coupe des Prisonniers - Bugatti sprint car

1946:

  • Coupe de la Résistance - Alfa Romeo 308
  • Grand Prix de Roussillon - Alfa Romeo 308
  • Grand Prix de Bourgogne - Alfa Romeo 308
  • Grand Prix des Nations (Heat 1) - Alfa Romeo 158

1947:

1948:

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