Born in Nice, in the French Riviera, Lucien Jean Bonnet worked as a car mechanic. Around 1952, when he began racing Panhards and Porsches in the hillclimbs of Southern France, he adopted the pseudonym Jean Lucienbonnet.
In 1961 he debuted in Formula Junior races, and the following year he participated in the Campionato Italiano Formula Junior (Italian Formula Junior Championship). He started the season very well, winning the first round at Caserta on 17 June, and finishing second in the next race at Monza in July, only just loosing out to "Geki" (Giacomo Russo) in the final sprint for the line. The next round was at Pergusa, a support race for the non-championship Gran Premio Mediterraneo Formula 1 race on 19 August.
In the race, Norberto Bagnalasta's Lotus lost a rear wheel at full speed. In attempting to avoid the wheel bouncing along in the center of the track, “Lucienbonnet” swerved to left but lost the control of his Lotus 22 Ford and crashed. The car rolled, throwing “Lucienbonnet” out. He died at the scene. Nasif Estéfano, who was close behing, also went off the road trying to avoid running over Lucienbonnet’s body. Fortunately Bagnalasta and Estéfano were unhurt, but both would be killed in other racing accidents years later – Bagnalasta in the 1964 Gran Premio della Loteria in Monza, and Estéfano in the 1973 Grande Premio de la Reconstrucción Nacional in Concepcción, Argentina.