Louis Rosier

Louis Rosier

5/11/1905 - 29/10/1956

A very tactical racer, Rosier participated in 38 Grands Prix. He won many post-war races non-championship races in his Talbot-Lago as well as Le Mans in 1950. He won the French Championship from 1949 to 1952 but was fatally injured when he crashed his Ferrari sports car during the Coupe du Salon meeting at Montlhery.

Louis Rosier was born in Chapdes-Beaufort in the Auvergne region in central France. His father was a wine merchant and Louis drove his father’s truck before starting work in a garage as an apprentice.

He first competed on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in hillclimbs in 1927 before switching to cars in 1938, once again in hillclimb events and the Le Mans 24 hour race. He opened his own garage selling Renault and Talbot caes as well as a transport company in Clermont-Ferrand. However the war interupted his racing, and it was 1947 before he could make his mark on a wider stage.

During the war he fought with the Resistance and as a consequence his wife and daughter were taken hostage and sent to Germany. After the war Rosier travelled to Germany to try to find them.

He started racing again in 1946 driving a private Talbot in the Monte Carlo Rally. He then acquired a Talbot-Lago Spéciale (90111) 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. He took victory by using strategy and reliability to beat faster cars.

In 1948, he joined the Ecurie France team and took delivery of a single-seater Lago-Talbot T26C with which he won the Grand Prix du Salon and finished fourth at the Comminges, Pau and British Grand Prix.

In 1949 he drove the Lago-Talbot T26C to victory in the Belgian Grand Prix. The car was far more economical than the 1½ litre supercharged cars, some of which were burning fuel at six times the rate of the Talbot. He went on to win the French Championship, a title he would hold for the next four years.

Alfa Romeo were the team to beat in 1950, the first year of the World Championship. With his tactical savy Rosier picked up points on a regular basis and was always poised to take advantage when others fell by the wayside, as he did by taking wins in the Albi and Dutch Grand Prix. Rosier also won Le Mans driving his T26GS converted to sportscar specification. He drove all but two laps himself in a truly remarkable display of endurance. For Talbot it was downhill from there and the firm went into administration in 1951.

In 1951 the Talbot was no longer competitive but Louis constantly managed to get the old car to the line and even took a couple of wins at the non-championship Dutch and Bordeaux Grand Prix.

1952 saw a change of rules, and Rosier aquired a Ferrari T375 and Ferrari T500 F2 car. With both cars painted French blue, Rosier won the Albi GP in the T375, and repeted this win in 1953. That year ge also won the Sables d'Olonne GP with the T500, while he raced the Talbot in the 12 Hour race at Reims, driving to second place with Giraud-Cabantous.

Rosier, now probably past his best, went on racing GP cars but also turned more and more to sports cars and rallies, including driving in the Carrera Panamericana in 1953. He raced a Ferrari 625 and later bought a Maserati 250F, as well as racing his own Ferrari 3-litre sports car.

In 1956 he took his last win, sharing a Maserati T300S with Behra in the Paris 1000 Km. He then went on to Montlhery to race his Ferrari in the Coupe du Salon. There, in pouring rain, Rosier spun, rolling the car. He suffered severe head injuries and died three weeks later. Benoît Musy was killed in a separate accident in that same race.

He was posthumously awarded the French Order of the Nation. The circuit at Charade, which he had campaigned for, was initiated in 1958 and later became the home of the French GP. The modern Charade race track bears his name.

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