1930 French Grand Prix

The 1930 French Grand Prix (formally titled the XXIV Grand Prix de l'A.C.F.) was a Grand Prix motor race held at Pau on 21 September 1930. The race was held over 25 laps of a 15.835 km circuit for a total race distance of 395.875 km and was won by Philippe Étancelin driving a Bugatti. The race was notable for the fact that Tim Birkin came second in a 4.5 litre supercharged Bentley, which was a stripped-down road car.

1930 French Grand Prix
Race details
Date 21 September 1930
Official name XXIV Grand Prix de l'A.C.F.
Location Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques
Course Road course
Course length 15.867 km (9.860 miles)
Distance 25 laps, 396.6 km (246.5 miles)
Pole position
Driver La Perle
Grid positions set by ballot
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom William Grover-Williams Bugatti
Time 6:10
First Bugatti
Second Bentley
Third Bugatti

Pau had some Grand Prix traditions, as the town held the honour of arranging the first race ever to be called a Grand Prix back in 1901. For the 1930 Grand Prix a triangular, Le Mans-type track outside the city was selected. Known as the Circuit de Morlaas it should not be confused with the well-known street track in the Parque Beaumont. The French had hoped to run the race to the International Formula, but when the response was poor the event was postponed and changed to a Formula Libre event instead. The new date meant that the Italian teams were unable to attend, leaving it to be mostly an internal French affair with sixteen Bugattis, two Peugeots and a Delage among the twenty five starters. Among the top Bugatti drivers were Louis Chiron, Marcel Lehoux, Count Stanislas Czaikowski, Jean-Pierre Wimille, Philippe Étancelin and William Grover-Williams.

A curiosity in the largely single-seat entry list was Tim Birkin's 4½-litre supercharged "Blower Bentley" touring car, stripped down to racing trim, with headlights and mudguards removed. The race distance was twenty five laps of the 15.8 km track, making a total of 396 km. Guy Bouriat took an early lead, followed by Williams, Zanelli, Czaikowski and Étancelin, with Birkin as first non-Bugatti driver, in sixth place. Williams in a works Bugatti then became the next leader. Czaikowski fell back through the field and Bouriat in the other works Bugatti made a pitstop giving over the car to Chiron. Then Williams also had to make a stop for a new wheel. That all made way for Étancelin to advance and he was followed by Birkin, the track with its long straights suiting the supercharged Bentley perfectly.

At one-third distance Chiron led, followed by Étancelin, Williams and Birkin. Birkin's fourth place became a third as Williams got engine troubles but then Zanelli, who had made an early stop, came rushing through the field pushing Birkin back to fourth. At lap ten "Sabipa" crashed and was thrown out of his Bugatti, Birkin only avoiding the injured driver by the slightest of margins. After eleven laps Chiron encountered problems with oil pressure and Étancelin took over the lead. Soon Chiron was also passed by Zanelli and Birkin. The Bentley driver used his horn to warn the Bugatti to move over, surely a unique occurrence in Grand Prix racing! With seven laps to go Zanelli made another pitstop and Birkin was up into second place. While Étancelin, with a 2.5 minute lead, nursed his Bugatti home to take victory, Zanelli had not given up and was catching Birkin fast. At the flag the margin was down to fourteen seconds but it was enough for the British Bentley driver to make Grand Prix history, as this was the only occasion on which the iconic 4½-litre "Blower Bentley" was raced with any success. (It was the normally-aspirated 4½-litre and "Speed Six" models which had swept the board at Le Mans for the previous three years).

Starting Grid (3-3)Edit

Grid Driver
1   Louis Casali
2   Stanislas Czaykowski
3   Marcel Lehoux
4   Guy Bouriat
5   Jean-Pierre Wimille
6   Tim Birkin
7   Robert Senechal
8   "Grimaldi"
9   Jean de Maleplane
10   Charles Montier
11   Juan Zanelli
12   Albert de Bondeli
13   Jean de l'Espee
14   "Sabipa"
15   G.Daniel
16   Philippe Étancelin
17   Henri Stoffel
18   George Delaroche
19   Jean Gaupillat
20   "Williams"
21   J.Lumachi
22   Ferdinand Montier
23   Max Fourny
24   Robert Laly
25   René Ferrand



Pos No Driver Car Laps Time/Retire
1 44   Philippe Étancelin Bugatti T35C 25 2h43m18.4
2 18   Tim Birkin Bentley 4.5 SC 25 2h46m44.6
3 32   Juan Zanelli Bugatti T35B 25 2h46m58.8
4 6   Stanislas Czaykowski Bugatti T35C 25 2h51m27.0
5 38   Jean de l'Espee Bugatti T35C 25 2h54m28.8
6 20   Robert Senechal Delage 15-S8 25 2h56m28.6
7 28   Jean de Maleplane Bugatti T35C 25 3h00m58.0
8 48   Henri Stoffel Peugeot 174S 25 3h01m06.2
9 74   René Ferrand Peugeot 174S 25 3h09m08.4
10 72   Robert Laly Ariès 25 3h21m19.2
11 14   Guy Bouriat (laps 1–11)
  Louis Chiron (laps 12–24)
Bugatti T35B 24 Engine
NC 22   ″Grimaldi″ Bugatti T35C 21 +4 laps
NC 66   Ferdinand Montier Montier Ford 21 +4 laps
NC 4   Louis Casali La Perle 19 +6 laps
Ret 42   G.Daniel Bugatti T35B 16 Did Not Finish
Ret 36   Albert de Bondeli Bugatti T37A 15 Did Not Finish
Ret 58   "Williams" Bugatti T35C 12 Engine
Ret 40   "Sabipa" Bugatti T35C 10 Crash
Ret 54   Jean Gaupillat Bugatti T37A 7 Did Not Finish
Ret 30   Charles Montier Montier Ford 4 Did Not Finish
Ret 64   J.Lumachi Bugatti T35B 3 Engine
Ret 16   Jean-Pierre Wimille Bugatti T37A 2 Supercharger
Ret 68   Max Fourny Bugatti T35C 2 Engine
Ret 52   Georges Delaroche Bugatti T35C 2 Engine
Ret 10   Marcel Lehoux Bugatti T35B 0 Gearbox
DNA 2   Jean Poniato Alphi CIME Did Not Appear
DNA 8   Babe Stapp Duesenberg A Did Not Appear
DNA 12   Georges Bouriano Bugatti T35B Did Not Appear
DNA 24   Claude Arthez Bugatti T35 Did Not Appear
DNA 26   "Lenart" Bugatti T35 Did Not Appear
DNA 34   Albert Divo Bugatti T35 Did Not Appear
DNA 46   René Dreyfus Bugatti T35B Did Not Appear
DNA 50   Etienne Lepicard Donnet Did Not Appear
DNA 56   Jose Scaron Amilcar C6 Did Not Appear
DNS 60   Arthur Duray Amilcar C6 driver injured
DNA 62   "Rodansky" Bugatti T35 Did Not Appear

Fastest Lap: "W.Williams", 6m10.0 (154.070 km/h)

Note – Chiron drove car 14 for laps 12-24.


  1. ^ "1930 French Grand Prix | Motor Sport Magazine Database". Motor Sport.

External linksEdit

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