René Le Bègue

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René Le Bègue (January 15, 1914 – February 24, 1946) was a Parisian-born French race car driver in Rally and Grand Prix motor racing. In his first year of top level racing, his best showing came at the 1936 Spa 24 Hours endurance race when he drove a Delahaye to a 2nd-place finish. In 1937 he and his co-pilot Julio Quinlin won the Monte Carlo Rally driving a Delahaye. That year Le Bègue also won the Coupe de Vitesse at the Autodrome de Montlhéry driving a Talbot-Lago T150 and had several top-three finishes. He then teamed up with André Morel to claim victory in the 1938 12 hours of Paris endurance race for sports cars. In 1939 he finished 3rd in the French Grand Prix behind the dominant Auto Union Silver Arrows then went on to win the Grand Prix du Comminges. The following year, Le Bègue traveled to the United States to compete in the 1940 Indianapolis 500. Driving a Maserati for the American/French owner Lucy O'Reilly Schell, he started in the last row in 31st position but drove to a 10th-place finish.

René Le Bègue continued racing until the German occupation of France during World War II when he joined the Free French Forces. With the war over, in 1946 he prepared to return to the racing scene and was elected vice-president of the French Drivers Association (AGACI, Association Générale des Amicales et Coureurs Indépendants). However, early that year before the season started the thirty-two-year-old Le Bègue was accidentally asphyxiated by gas leaking from a defective water heater in his bathroom. The June 9, 1946 Grand Prix race at Saint-Cloud, won by Raymond Sommer, was named the René Le Bègue Cup in his memory.

Indy 500 results[edit]