Hello Monaco Winter 2018–2019 HelloMonaco #05 Winter 2018–2019 - Page 63

Famous Monegasques M one gasque and b orn to French parents, such was his renown and racing talent that all France embraced him as well as one of their own. «Run like the wind» is a famous saying for athletes just as «Race like Chiron» was a motto adopted for the most talented of racing drivers. Among the racing community, his style of driving was so admired that he was nicknamed «the perfectionist» and «the professional», a title later inherited by Alain Prost. Fitting also is the fact that what had been called «the fastest production car on the planet» in 2016, a 2.4 million pound-sterling Bugatti sports car capable of 500 kilometres per hour, with an amazing 1500 horse power, was named after Louis Chiron. What is also interesting about the Louis Chiron story is he was born of relatively humble beginnings. His parents were hoteliers. Early in his life, he supplemented his earnings as a garage owner in Nice as a dancer — often dancing to the delight of wealthy and famous ladies in Monaco’s best establishments, including the Hôtel de Paris. And it was within this circle that he was to make contacts that would enable him to follow his real passion — to be a racing driver. He was introduced to Alfred Hoffman, heir to the Hoffman-La Roche pharmaceutical empire, where he would score multiple successes as a member of Hoffman’s and then Ettore Bugatti’s racing teams, including the greatest number of podium finishes in a Bugatti. And it may be The Chiron legacy is also inextricably linked to the Monaco Grand Prix and its very birth. Did you know that he won it too — one of his many Grand Prix wins? And if winning the Monaco Grand Prix was not enough to land him in the history books, he also won the Monte-Carlo Rally. Even in the last year of his life he was to play a role in the Monte- Carlo Grand Prix being the Connoisseur General of the 1979 race. One could say that in 1979, with his death, the world saw the end of an era. But the legend of Louis Chiron continues after his death. No wonder his bust is on display next to the Monaco Grand Louis Chiron’s racing career spanned more than three decades from 1923 to 1958. © www.classicdriver.com When Louis Chiron wasn’t winning Grand Prix races he was also earning his place in the history books. He served in the French military in World War I, later to be chauffeur to two famous «Marechals», including Marshal Foch, Commander of the Western Front. Less than 30 years later the World was at war again and Louis Chiron used his talents on behalf of the allies. He helped many downed pilots travel back from neutral Switzerland during the Second World War, avoiding the clutches of their Nazi enemies as he steered them through occupied France and the Pyrenees back to England. Prix course and the «Swimming Pool corner» renamed after him. He ranks among the great Monegasques in the modern history of the Principality. that he was a little too successful, not only at racing but also at attracting the attention of Hoffman’s wife Alice, known as «Baby». That and a penchant for not being the most willing recipient of «team orders» got him fired from Bugatti only to team up with another legend Enzo Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari recruited him as part of his famous Alfa Romeo racing team. Louis Chiron’s racing career spanned more than three decades from 1923 to 1958. The 1930’s were the great years. In Bugattis and Alfa Romeo’s he chalked up so many wins he was regarded as a «local hero» in France, Czechoslovakia and, of course, in his beloved native Monaco where he eventually retired and died. Hello Monaco Winter 2018–2019 / 61