“Running is immortal. » This sentence by Charles Faroux is engraved on the mive trophy awarded to the winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, including the start of the 91e edition is given Saturday, June 10, at 4 p.m. In fact, the event, which he co-founded, has crossed the ages and borders. Having become a reference in motorsport, it is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
In 1923, Charles Faroux is 50 years old, but he has already lived several lives. He was crowned world champion in billiards, among amateurs, in 1912 and 1919. L’homme au jeu “elegant, brilliant, scientific”according to his friend, the reporter Géo Lefèvre, would win another world title in 1927.e century.
Above all, he has knowledge of mechanics, the fruit of his studies at the Ecole polytechnique and his previous jobs in engineering. These will be worth to the creator of Automotive Life to be recruited by Car – ancestor of the everyday The Team – in 1905.” He has a strong network of contacts and a solid automotive culture.”writes about him the writer Gérard de Cortanze, Renaudot Prize 2002, in The History of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Dummies (Editions First, 2016).
The concept of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was born from his meeting, at the Paris Motor Show, in October 1922, with Georges Durand, member of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), and Emile Coquille, Director France of the British firm Rudge-Whitworth, specializing in the manufacture of bicycles, motorcycle wheels and sports cars. The race is intended as a test bench for production vehicles intended for civilian life.
Judo and pith helmet
“The idea was to offer the first race in the world to demonstrate the ability to produce solid and therefore reliable cars”, summarizes Bruno Vandestick, official speaker of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Many innovations – from fog lights to front-wheel drive and disc brakes, but also the technique of tarring the roads – will be born or will be tested in the Sarthe over the editions.
« The Le Mans endurance competition [pionne] the public. There is no longer a room left at Le Mans, precisely because the buyer sees on the road the very car he can acquire at the list price.boasts Charles Faroux in Car, on the eve of the first edition. From the start, he took over the direction of the race. “He was the boss and he wanted us to understand him like thatexhibits Hervé Guyomard, director of the Bugatti Le Mans circuit from 1971 to 2006. He had full power over the test and how to interpret what he saw. Which also reflects his way of being with a very strong ego. » “When we look at the images, we had the impression of seeing General de Gaullelaughs Bruno Vandestick. He had a very paternalistic side, that should not flinch. »
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