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Raymond Sommer

Raymond Sommer
Raymond Sommer in Montlhéry, 1933
Born (1906-08-31)31 August 1906
Mouzon, Ardennes, France
Died 10 September 1950(1950-09-10) (aged 44)
Circuit de Cadours, Tarn-et-Garonne, France
Formula One World Championship career
Nationality French
Active years 1950
Teams Ferrari, works and private Talbot-Lago
Entries 5
Championships 0
Wins 0
Podiums 0
Career points 3
Pole positions 0
Fastest laps 0
First entry 1950 Monaco Grand Prix
Last entry 1950 Italian Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years 19311935, 19371939, 1950
Teams Private
Best finish 1st (1932, 1933)
Class wins 2 (1932, 1933)

Raymond Sommer (31 August 1906, Mouzon, in the Ardennes département of France – 10 September 1950) was a Grand Prix motor racing driver.

Sommer was born into a wealthy Sedan, France carpet making family. His father, Roger, broke the Wright Brothers record for the longest flight in 1909. It was not until 1931 that Raymond started to display daredevil tendencies of his own, entering motor races in a privateer Chrysler Imperial. The following year, he won the 24 hours of Le Mans, despite having to drive over 20 hours solo after his teammate Luigi Chinetti retired ill. During the 1930s, Sommer was to dominate the French endurance classic, winning again in 1933 driving an Alfa Romeo alongside Tazio Nuvolari. He also led every race up until 1938, only to suffer a mechanical failure, once when 12 laps in the lead. Sommer traveled to Long Island, New York to compete in the 1936 Vanderbilt Cup where he finished fourth to the winner, Tazio Nuvolari.

However, his tendency to run in privately entered cars did him no favours on the Grand Prix scene, winning just one major international race, the 1936 French Grand Prix. At the time, the German manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union were the dominant force in GP racing, together with the French Bugatti team. Sommer turned to sports cars once more, winning the Spa 24 Hours endurance race with co-driver Francesco Severi. More wins came his way including at the "Marseilles Three Hours" at Miramas, the Grand Prix de Tunisie and La Turbie hill climb competition in 1938 and 1939 with Alfa Romeo 308 until the outbreak of World War II, where he played an active part in the French Resistance movement.

Following the war, Sommer quickly returned to winning ways, claiming victory in the 1946 René Le Bègue Cup race at Saint-Cloud. At the 1947 Turin Grand Prix in Valentino Park he won the first ever Grand Prix for Enzo Ferrari as an independent constructor. The following season, Sommer switched from the Ferrari team, again for a privately owned car, this time a Talbot-Lago. In 1950, the F1 World Championship began and Sommer drove in five Grand Prix races for Talbot and BRM, retiring in all but one.

In July 1950 he won the Aix les Bains Circuit du Lac Grand-Prix with a Ferrari 166.

In September 1950, he entered the Haute-Garonne Grand Prix [1] in Cadours, France where the steering failed on his 1100 cc Cooper and the car overturned at a corner. Sommer, wearing his traditional canvas helmet, was instantly killed.


  • Major career wins 1
  • Complete Formula One World Championship results 2
    • Non-Championship results 2.1
  • Footnotes 3

Major career wins

Complete Formula One World Championship results

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 WDC Points
1950 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 GBR MON
500 16th 3
Ferrari 166 F2 Ferrari V12 SUI
Raymond Sommer Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot Straight-6 BEL
Automobiles Talbot-Darracq SA Talbot-Lago T26C-GS Talbot Straight-6 FRA

Non-Championship results

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
1950 Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 PAU
Raymond Sommer Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot Straight-6 PAR
Automobiles Talbot-Darracq SA Talbot-Lago T26C-DA NED


  1. ^ Motor Sport, October 1950, Page 525: Obituary.
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Earl Howe
Tim Birkin
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1932 with:
Luigi Chinetti
Succeeded by
Raymond Sommer
Tazio Nuvolari
Preceded by
Raymond Sommer
Luigi Chinetti
Winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans
1933 with:
Tazio Nuvolari
Succeeded by
Luigi Chinetti
Philippe Étancelin
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