Raymond Sommer

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Raymond Sommer
FIA Super Licence Flag of France France
Formula One World Championship career
Active years1950 Formula One season
TeamsFerrari, works and private Talbot-Lago
List of Formula One World Drivers' Champions0
Career points3
Pole position0
Fastest lap0
First race1950 Monaco Grand Prix
Last race1950 Italian Grand Prix
24 Hours of Le Mans career
Participating years1931 24 Hours of Le Mans-1935 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1937 24 Hours of Le Mans-1939 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1950 24 Hours of Le Mans
Best finish1st (1932 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1933 24 Hours of Le Mans)
Class wins2 (1932 24 Hours of Le Mans, 1933 24 Hours of Le Mans)

Raymond Sommer (August 31, 1906, Mouzon, in the Ardennes Département in France of France - September 10, 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 in motorsport 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 4th 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 Germany 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 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 in Circuit de Cadours, France where the steering failed on his 1100 cc Cooper Car Company and the car overturned at a corner. Sommer was instantly killed, his traditional canvas helmet proving to be no use at all.

Major career wins:

  • French Grand Prix 1936
  • Grand Prix de Marseilles 1932, 1937, 1946
  • Grand Prix de Tunisa 1937
  • Grand Prix de L'U.M.F. 1935
  • Gran Premio del Valentino 1947
  • Madrid Grand Prix 1949
  • Spa 24 Hours 1936
  • Turin Grand Prix 1947
  • 24 hours of Le Mans 1932, 1933

Complete Formula One World Championship results

(F1 driver results legend 2)

Year Entrant Chassis Engine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 WDC Points
1950 Formula One season Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 125 Ferrari V12 engine 1950 British Grand Prix
1950 Monaco Grand Prix
1950 Indianapolis 500
16th 3
Ferrari 166 F2 Ferrari V12 engine 1950 Swiss Grand Prix
Raymond Sommer Talbot-Lago Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot Straight-6 1950 Belgian Grand Prix
1950 Italian Grand Prix
Talbot Talbot-Lago Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot Straight-6 1950 French Grand Prix

Non-Championship results

(F1 driver results legend 3)

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 engine 1950 Pau Grand Prix
1950 Richmond Trophy 1950 San Remo Grand Prix
Raymond Sommer Talbot-Lago Talbot-Lago T26C Talbot Straight-6 1950 Paris Grand Prix
1950 British Empire Trophy 1950 Bari Grand Prix 1950 Jersey Road Race 1950 Albi Grand Prix
1950 Grand Prix des Nations
1950 Nottingham Trophy 1950 Ulster Trophy 1950 Circuito de Pescara 1950 Sheffield Telegraph Trophy
Talbot Talbot-Lago Talbot-Lago T26C 1950 Dutch Grand Prix
British Racing Motors British Racing Motors BRM P15 British Racing Motors V16 engine 1950 BRDC International Trophy
1950 Goodwood Trophy 1950 Penya Rhin Grand Prix

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Francis Curzon, 5th Earl Howe
Henry Birkin
List of 24 Hours of Le Mans winners
1932 24 Hours of Le Mans with:
Luigi Chinetti
Succeeded by
Raymond Sommer
Tazio Nuvolari
Preceded by
Raymond Sommer
Luigi Chinetti
List of 24 Hours of Le Mans winners
1933 24 Hours of Le Mans with:
Tazio Nuvolari
Succeeded by
Luigi Chinetti
Philippe Étancelin