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Jules Goux Indianapolis 500 1913


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#1 Chris Bloom

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Posted 25 August 2001 - 09:14

I have read more than once that Jules Goux drank Champagne (reportedly 6 pints!) throughout the 1913 Indy 500 which he won! As I would not want to try and drive my road car after two glasses of wine, I wonder how anyone can drive flat out for 500 miles with a high percentage of alcohol in his blood system? I am pretty sure 6 pints is enough alcohol to kill some people, I like drinking wine myself and after one bottle standing upright tends to be come a major acheivment!

Also when did he manage to find the time to drink so much during the race? Presumably during the pit-stops? Surely not while he was driving?

I would not be surprised if this story has become distorted over the last 88 years, if not it is an amazing tale!

Chris

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#2 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 25 August 2001 - 10:50

From the Encyclopedia of Auto Racing Greats.

Goux was leading the race by the 5th lap. On the 15th lap he pitted with a shredded right rear tyre. Two tyres were changed and an order was placed by Jules for some chilled wine. (Thanks to members of the French Alliance, who had gathered from several points to root for the Peugeot team, wine - properly chilled - was on hand the next time Jules pitted.)
When Goux pitted the next time he had two bottles of champagne.
At 200 miles he stopped again for tyres and fuel and another bottle of wine.
He was in the pits for the last time after 310 miles, another tyre change, another bottle of champagne.

Beats me how he could still drive after drinking that amount of booze.

#3 Vitesse2

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Posted 25 August 2001 - 11:33

It was a very hot day (temperatures in the nineties Fahrenheit), so he probably sweated quite a lot of it out. Plus, his riding mechanic drank some as well!

It seems to have been quite common practice for French teams to refresh their drivers with champagne - I came across a reference the other day to SF Edge arriving at Belfort in the 1902 Gordon Bennett: the Panhard pit mistook his dust-covered Napier for one of their own cars and plied him Selwyn and Cecil (his cousin and riding mechanic) with champagne and sponge cake!

#4 Lemnpiper

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 00:05



Good Day Guys ,


In recently reading the 1946 Clymer's Indy 500 annual and it's coverage of the 1913 race ,it seems to indicate that Goux drank 6 pints of wine and not champagne.

The question i have is would 6 pints of either wine or champagne over a 6 hour time frame actually have much of an effect on Goux's ability to drive? Does anyone recall what Goux's height & weight were?
1 pint =16 fluid oz. which to me doesnt seem to excessive to consume considering how much owrk was needed to race those cars back then . Plus you have a time gap between consumption for it to disipate within the blood system.

I think part of the visual problem we may have with Goux's drinking is we are thinking he was consuming a whole bottle at each stop which doesnt seem to be the case.Basically it seems he was drinking a soda pop bottle size amount at each pit stop.

Opinons?




Paul

#5 Tim Murray

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 01:50

I assume we're talking about US pints here. If so, 6 pints equals 2.84 litres, or around three and three-quarter bottles. I understand that most modern wines contain around 12% alcohol - 9 units per bottle - but that the alcohol content used to be less than this, perhaps around 6/7 units per bottle. Assuming 7 units per bottle, Goux would have consumed around 25 units in well over six and a half hours, i.e. less than four units per hour.

Some years ago one of the UK motoring magazines (Autocar, I think) did some tests to see how quickly their test subjects (one of each sex) became unfit to drive after consuming varying amounts of alcohol at varying rates, on full and empty stomachs. IIRC the man, with a full stomach, could drink two pints of beer (4 alcohol units) per hour without any significant increase in his blood alcohol level, indicating that he was metabolising the alcohol as fast as he was drinking it. This leads me to think that Goux, working hard at the wheel, was probably doing the same.

This is all on the assumption that this legend is true ...

#6 TrackDog

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Posted 16 November 2009 - 04:18

I checked Donald Davidson's book, THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 and came across this paragraph...

"The conclusion, based on a variety of opinions, including from some who were there, is that champagne was indeed consumed, but in restricted quantity. The containers were small 'half-bottles', containing just under half a pint each, and it is believed that Goux requested one on four of his stops rather than on all six. While Goux and [riding mechanic Emil] Begin apparently did finish all of the first half-bottle between them, the other three occasions merely consisted of either just a swallow or two, or perhaps mere use of the champagne as a form of mouthwash."

The story was heavily promoted by the press, and prompted the AAA to instill a no-alcohol-on-raceday-by-participants rule.

Goux apparently milked the story for all it was worth, and in later years when asked, would invariably tell a different version of "the facts" each time the subject came up, ranging from complete denial to the consumption of a bottle during each stop.

Most likely, he actually drank less than half-a-pint of low alcoholic content champagne that would have had little or no effect on his driving ability.

Nice story, though...


Dan

Edited by TrackDog, 16 November 2009 - 04:20.


#7 robert dick

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 10:03

Goux was not the only one who preferred "something stronger" than soft drinks (from Automobile Topics, June 1913):

 

topicsjun13.jpg
 



#8 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 13:32

And then there's the somewhat similar question of how much alcohol was consumed by Giovanni Bracco when he won the 1952 Mille Miglia in the Ferrari 250S...

 

DCN



#9 Michael Ferner

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Posted 07 February 2022 - 22:07

The 1924 motorcycle TT in the Isle of Man was graced by a team of three Peugeot Senior (500cc) bikes, manned by a trio of French riders (René Gillard, Paul Péan et Jean Richard). The Isle of Man Examiner reported that "Gillard and Richard (...) after replenishing [their machines] saw to personal replenishment with champagne and bananas."



#10 fbarrett

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Posted 08 February 2022 - 21:01

Having read about Goux, I once decided to put his method to the test. In mid-summer I was driving a 1959 Mercedes-Benz from Denver to Omaha, across what I call "the barren steppes of Nebraska" on I-80. The car was not air-conditioned, and I recall that temperatures were well into the 90s.  I put a bottle of champagne in a cooler and allowed myself one sip every 50 miles. It kept me cool and did not seem to impede my driving ability, although I was not an unbiased judge!


Edited by fbarrett, 08 February 2022 - 21:01.


#11 MarkBisset

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Posted 12 February 2022 - 11:54

38939-FC2-BB79-4-D19-B2-B0-EEB4-A89-F974

 

Jules Goux is immortalised mid-gargle in 1913 (Indy Motor Speedway)



#12 D-Type

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Posted 12 February 2022 - 12:53

People are overlooking the fact that this was still the age of "Don't drink the water in a foreign country"



#13 DCapps

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Posted 13 February 2022 - 16:13

I checked Donald Davidson's book, THE OFFICIAL HISTORY OF THE INDIANAPOLIS 500 and came across this paragraph...

"The conclusion, based on a variety of opinions, including from some who were there, is that champagne was indeed consumed, but in restricted quantity. The containers were small 'half-bottles', containing just under half a pint each, and it is believed that Goux requested one on four of his stops rather than on all six. While Goux and [riding mechanic Emil] Begin apparently did finish all of the first half-bottle between them, the other three occasions merely consisted of either just a swallow or two, or perhaps mere use of the champagne as a form of mouthwash."

The story was heavily promoted by the press, and prompted the AAA to instill a no-alcohol-on-raceday-by-participants rule.

Goux apparently milked the story for all it was worth, and in later years when asked, would invariably tell a different version of "the facts" each time the subject came up, ranging from complete denial to the consumption of a bottle during each stop.

Most likely, he actually drank less than half-a-pint of low alcoholic content champagne that would have had little or no effect on his driving ability.

Nice story, though...


Dan

 

I asked Donald Davidson about this during one of our discussions given that relatively little regarding it was mentioned in the contemporary press, with only one or two members of the Fourth Estate seeming to really hone in on the story at the time. Donald's response was pretty much as quoted, which was pretty much as I had already long surmised. 

 

Not often considered in this instance of the typical auto racing historian not letting the facts get in the way of a good story is that the temperance movement was in full swing at this moment in the USA, with a large number of state and local governments having already enacted prohibition statutes against alcohol consumption. The competing forces regarding the issue of the prohibition of alcohol and its related issue of gambling (there are a number of states, California and New York among them, that outlawed betting on horse races just a few years before this race in 1913) engaged in some very bitter electoral and legal fights at this time. The Goux story ended up being another part of this battle.