Camille Jenatzy (1868, Schaerbeek – 8 December 1913, Habay la Neuve) was a Belgian race car driver. He is known for breaking the land speed record three times and being the first man to break the 100 km/h barrier. He was nicknamed Le Diable Rouge ("The Red Devil") after the colour of his beard .
On 17 January 1899 at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France, he reached the speed of 66.66 km/h (41.42 mph) over the kilometer, driving a CGA Dogcart. That same day, the record was broken by Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat, topped on 27 January 1899 when Jenatzy achieved 80.35 km/h (49.93 mph). This record was again broken by Chasseloup-Laubat, who applied rudimentary streamlining to his Jeantaud. Jenatzy replied with his third land speed record on 29 April 1899, reaching 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph) in the electric CITA Nº 25 La Jamais Contente, the first purpose-designed land speed racer, and the first record over 100 km/h (60 mph). In 1902, he lost the land speed record to Leon Serpollet.
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. Alfred Madoux, director of the journal L'Etoile Belge, fired, believing it was a wild animal. When they realised it was Jenatzy, they rushed him to hospital by car; he bled to death en route, fulfilling his own prophecy he would die in a Mercedes. He is buried at the Laeken Cemetery in Brussels.
- J.R. Holthusen, The Fastest Men on Earth, (Sutton Publishing, 1999), p.6
- "The Electric Era". Thrust SSC. 1997. Retrieved 2006-10-18.
- Northey, Tom. "Land Speed Record", in Northey, Tom, ed. World of Automobiles" (London: Orbis, 1974), Vol 10, p.1162.
- eMercedesBenz, A Look Back At Camille Jenatzy And The 1903 Gordon Bennett Trophy (3 June 2008); Mercedes-Benz History:Â A Look Back At Camille Jenatzy And The 1903 Gordon Bennett Trophy | eMercedesBenz - The Unofficial Mercedes-Benz Weblog at www.emercedesbenz.com
- "Popular Science Monthly, Volume 57, August 1900". Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- JENATZY SHOT DEAD.; Famous Belgian "Red Devil" Auto Racer Killed in Hunting Accident. - The New York Times
- "The day the country stopped to watch the Great Race". Leinster Express. May 2003. Retrieved 2006-10-18.[dead link]