René Thomas (racing driver)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from René Thomas (auto racing))
Jump to: navigation, search
For other people with the same name, see René Thomas (disambiguation).
René Thomas
René Thomas at 1914 Indy 500.jpg
Thomas at the 1914 Indianapolis 500
Born (1886-03-07)March 7, 1886
Périgueux (France)
Died September 23, 1975(1975-09-23) (aged 89)
Paris, France
Nationality French
Known for Indianapolis 500

René Thomas (March 7, 1886 – September 23, 1975) was a French motor racing champion.[1] Thomas was also a pioneer aviator.[2] He won the 1914 Indianapolis 500.[3]

Biography[edit]

He was born on March 7, 1886 in Périgueux, France.

A leading driver in his native France, René Thomas traveled to the United States to compete in the Indianapolis 500 on four occasions. He won the 1914 Indianapolis 500 on his inaugural try driving a Delage.[4]

He was given time off from the French Army during World War I so he could continue to race.[4]

On July 6, 1924 at Arpajon, France, Thomas set a new world land speed record when he drove a Delage 143.31 mph (230.64 km/h).

On May 28, 1973, he returned to Indianapolis to drive his winning Delage in a series of parade laps, prior to the start of the 1973 Indianapolis 500. Although he did not drive the car himself, he did sit in the seat where the riding mechanic would sit.

He died on September 23, 1975 in Paris, France at age 89.[3]

Aviation[edit]

Beginning around 1910 Thomas flew airplanes for the Antoinette company whose president was Leon Levavasseur. Hubert Latham was one of Thomas's fellow Antoinette test pilots. Thomas competed in early aviation competitions throughout Europe. In Milan Italy in October 1910 Thomas was involved in the world's first mid-air collision when his Antoinette monoplane fell onto the Farman biplane of Scottish aviator Captain Bertram Dickson. Thomas miraculously wasn't seriously injured but Dickson suffered internal injuries and never fully recovered and died in 1913.

Indy 500 results[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ OldRacingCars.com : Rene Thomas
  2. ^ Champagne|Berceau De L'Aviation Du Monde: Rene Thomas
  3. ^ a b "Rene Thomas, 1914 Indianapolis Winner, Is Dead. French Racing Driver Who Set Record of 82.4 M.P.H. With a Delage Was 89". New York Times. September 25, 1975. Retrieved 2012-10-02. Rene Thomas, the French racing driver who won the Indianapolis 500 in 1914, died here yesterday. He was 89 years old. 
  4. ^ a b "Rene Thomas Coming Here To Race. Famous French Driver Gets Leave From Army. One of the Most Resourceful Pilots in the World". Boston Globe. February 27, 1916. Retrieved 2012-10-02. The internationally famed Rene Thomas, winner of the 1914 500-mile international sweepstakes race, has been given freedom from military service in France and will drive, May 30, in the sixth annal international sweepstakes race at ... 
Preceded by
Jules Goux
Indianapolis 500 Winner
1914
Succeeded by
Ralph DePalma