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Charles Faroux and the first Porsche at Le Mans?


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#1 Jesper O. Hansen

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Posted 17 May 2008 - 23:45

Doing some historic research for the upcoming Le Mans 24h, I started a search for original race director Charles Faroux and as the first item I clicked onto this piece: http://www.theautoba...post.php?p=6923

In short, Faroux was part of a group that in 1947 got Ferdinand Porsche released from a 20 month imprisonment for using slave labour during WW2 – Wikipedia provided me with the last bit.

Although Ferdinand Porsche died on January 30th 1951, it sounds quite plausible to me that Faroux delivered the invitation to Ferdinand himself, but what part had Faroux in the release of Porsche, and who were the other persons in the partition, and why did they do the effort of getting Porsche released in the first place?

All of this, because I wanted to know who Charles Faroux was, so if anyone can tell something about him too, that will be appreciated in the best way.

Jesper

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#2 T54

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 01:19

Here is a tidbit of info for you about Charles Faroux, the father of the 24 hours at le Mans: in 1911, he wrote a wonderful booklet for the Berliet works, called "Le Voyage a Lyon", beautifully illustrated by a famous French artist. This "trip to Lyon" was also published in English language, part of a two-volume deluxe set printed by Draeger in Paris in a quality hard to see even today. I have the set and had it since I found it in the house we lived in when I was only 10 years old. Apparently the former owner was a Berliet dealer and this beautiful set in near mint condition was left in the house before our family moved in.
I will try to take pics of the two if I can find the things in my accumulation of stuff.

#3 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 01:25

I googled for Charles Faroux and found this site:
http://www.historicr...1&driverID=1682

As far as I know about the release of Professor Porsche, the French authority was not so much interested in that man's innocence but instead were looking for a high ransom. This is were Raymond Sommer was very instrumental for the release of Professor Ferdinand Porsche. But he was not alone, Charles Faroux and the Italian Piero Dusio had helped free the ailing Professor from French jail.

#4 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 08:00

End of October 1950 Charles Faroux, an old friend of Professor Porsche, came to visit the ailing designer and asked him to enter one of their sports cars in the 1100 cc class at the next Le Mans 24-hour race, where they would stand a good chance of a class win. The Porsche Company indeed entered at Le Mans in 1951 and won the 1100cc class. The Professor did not live to see this great success, he had died five months before.

#5 Jesper O. Hansen

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 12:00

Thank you for your replies, that has already helped me put things into a little more context. Doing some further investigation myself, I have half sussed/translated a bit about the Le Mans invitation from Faroux to Porsche happened at the Paris Automobile Show 1950. Porsche was delighted since he wasn't sure how a German entry in a French race would be reacted to, considering the near past.

Jesper

#6 Vitesse2

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 12:46

Jesper: according to Ferry Porsche in "We at Porsche" (and as Hans said), although his father had indeed visited the Paris Salon in October, the invitation from Faroux came at the end of the month, when the Frenchman visited his old friend in Germany.

Faroux and Ernest Henry were the two most influential French journalists in the inter-War period.

#7 Roger Clark

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Posted 18 May 2008 - 22:29

Originally posted by Vitesse2


Faroux and Ernest Henry were the two most influential French journalists in the inter-War period.

Do you mean Maurice Henry? I only know Ernest Henry as a designer.

#8 RStock

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Posted 19 May 2008 - 00:24

Charles Faroux was the race director and starter for many early races , most notably , perhaps , Monaco .

There is a plaque in his honor at the old Reims facility .

http://theracingline.../fra-reims.html

#9 Jesper O. Hansen

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Posted 24 August 2008 - 09:13

Found some info on that first Le Mans Porsche, which led me to admire the feat so much more. With a top speed of 160 kmh/100 mph it would have taken the best part of three minutes to cover Les Hunadiére. It must have put a lot of strain on the engine doing that lap after lap. So what about the even smaller Panhards or Renaults of the time!
Twenty years ago Kris Nissen told Danish television viewers that he was "relaxing" for about a minute at maximum speed on that very same straight in his Kremer 962.

At the recent Copenhagen Classic Grand Prix, the 60th anniversary of Porsche was celebrated with an excebition and a parade during which it was told that Porsche has accumulated a total of “28000 victories” It wasn’t mentioned weather this was class victories or overall wins, but that it was surpassing any other manufacturer in the world. Never thought of this before, but considering the efforts of Porsche as a factory team and it’s many privateer efforts I won’t be surprised. Who’s second, then?

BTW I’m missing a previous post by myself (back in May/June) – how do that happen?

Jesper

#10 Jesper O. Hansen

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 10:47

Looking through the Le Mans encyclopedia I found a BMW 328 present for the 1951 race - entered by Porsche AG! Driven by Raymond Chalut-Natal and a Clement, it was a non-starter, but what was Porsche doing with a BMW? I has a black registration plate numbered 814 M76, which doesn't look German.

Jesper

Edited by Jesper O. Hansen, 25 June 2011 - 10:52.