Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat

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Georges Bouton and the count de Chasseloup-Laubat on a steam automobile Trépardoux & Cie. Dog Cart de route (1885), possibly the winning vehicle of the Marseille-La Turbie contest of 1897.

Count Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat (7 June 1866, Paris, France[1] – 20 November 1903, Le Cannet, France)[2][3][4][5] was a French aristocrat and race car driver. He was the son of Prosper, Marquis of Chasseloup-Laubat, minister of Napoleon III, and of his American wife Marie-Louise Pilié.

He is known for setting the first recognised automobile land speed record on December 18, 1898, in Achères, Yvelines, using a Jeantaud electric car. The record was set as part of a competition organised by the French automobile magazine La France Automobile. He completed a single flying 1 kilometre (0.62 mi) run in 57 seconds to give an average speed of 63.13 km/h (39.23 mph).[6]

He further improved this record to 66.65 km/h (41.41 mph) one month later on January 17, 1899, also at Achères, in the first of a series of record setting duels with Camille Jenatzy. Ten days later Jenatzy managed to break this record with a speed of 80.35 km/h (49.93 mph), although it would revert to de Chasseloup-Laubat on March 4, 1899, when he increased it to 92.69 km/h (57.59 mph). Jenatzy finally took the record on April 29, 1899, with the first run to exceed 100 km/h (62.14 mph) with an average speed of 105 km/h (65.24 mph), a record that was to last 3 years.

Chasseloup-Laubat managed to win the Marseille-La Turbie long-distance race in 1897 with a steam vehicle built by Trépardoux & Cie, predecessor of De Dion-Bouton. This was the only major city-to-city event won by a steam car.

The count died in Le Cannet, near Cannes, aged 37, after a two-years long illness.


  1. ^ Jules Delarbre, Le marquis P. de Chasseloup-Laubat, Paris, 1873, p. 16.
  2. ^ L'Aérophile. Revue technique et pratique de la locomotion aérienne, 11 (1903), p. 245
  3. ^ La Locomotion automobile. Revue des voitures et véhicules mécaniques (1903), p. 755
  4. ^ Car Illustrated. A Journal of Travel by Land, Sea, & Air, 7 (1903), p. 6.
  5. ^ The New York Times, November 21, 1903, mistakenly placed his death in Paris.
  6. ^ J.R. Holthusen (1999). The Fastest Men on Earth. Sutton Publishing. p. 6.