Camille Jenatzy

4/11/1869 - 7/10/1913

Record updated 15-Jun-06

Famous for setting land speed records including the first over 100 mph, the Red Devil was shot by his friends when a practical joke went very wrong.

Camille Jenatzy
Belgian Racing Driver. Jenatzy is known for breaking the land speed record three times. On January 17, 1899 in Achères, France he achieved a speed of 66.66 km/h (41.42 MPH) over 1 kilometer, driving a CGA Dogcart. That same day the record was broken by Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat, but ten days later on January 27 he achieved a speed of 80.35 km/h (49.93 MPH). This record was again broken by Chasseloup-Laubat, but Jenatzy set his third and final land speed record on April 29, reaching 105.88 km/h (65.79 MPH) in the CITA No 25 La Jamais Contente. This was the first record over 100 km/h.

He was as popular as Michael Schumacher at the time. His image, the long red dust-coat, haggard face, red beard, driver's cap and protective glasses, gave Jenatzy his 'Red Devil' nickname. He also won the 1903 Gordon Bennet Cup race in Athy, Ireland, driving a Mercedes. Jenatzy died in 1913 in a hunting accident. He went behind a bush and made animal noises as a prank on his friends who were hunting with him. It worked too well, they heard the noise and shot because they thought there was an animal there. When they realised it was Jenatzy they tried to rush him to hospital but he died on the way. This fulfilled his own prophesy that he would die in a Mercedes.