Murphy (Duesenberg)
12 Jimmy Murphy
Duesenberg Brothers
Duesenberg 183
De Palma (Ballot)
1 Ralph DePalma
Etablissements Ballot
Ballot 3-L
Goux (Ballot)
18 Jules Goux
Etablissements Ballot
Ballot 2LS


Circuit de la Sarthe - Le Mans (F), 25 July 1921 (Monday).
30 laps x 17.262 km (10.726 mi) = 517.86 km (321.78 mi)


1Ralph DePalmaEtablissements BallotBallot I3-L3.0S-8
2Louis ZborowskiSunbeam Motor Car Co LtdSunbeam I3.0S-8DNA - Did not appear
3Emile MathisSA MathisMathis I1.5S-4
4Kenelm Lee GuinnessAutomobiles TalbotTalbot I3.0S-8
5René ThomasTalbot-DarracqTalbot-Darracq I3.0S-8
6Albert GuyotDuesenberg BrothersDuesenberg I1833.0S-8
7Ugo SivocciFiat SpAFiat I801/4013.0S-8DNA -Did not appear
8Jean ChassagneEtablissements BallotBallot II3-L3.0S-8
9Dario RestaSunbeam Motor Car Co LtdSunbeam II3.0S-8DNA - Did not appear
10Henry SegraveAutomobiles TalbotTalbot II3.0S-8
11XTalbot-DarracqTalbot-Darracq II3.0S-8DNA - Did not appear
12Jimmy MurphyDuesenberg BrothersDuesenberg II1833.0S-8
13Pietro BordinoFiat SpAFiat II801/4013.0S-8DNA - Did not appear
14Louis WagnerEtablissements BallotBallot III3-L3.0S-8
15André BoillotTalbot-DarracqTalbot-Darracq III3.0S-8
16Joe BoyerDuesenberg BrothersDuesenberg III1833.0S-8
17Ferdinando Minoia Fiat SpAFiat III801/4013.0S-8DNA - Did not appear
18Jules GouxEtablissements BallotBallot IV2LS2.0S-4
19André DubonnetDuesenberg BrothersDuesenberg IV1833.0S-8

Jimmy Murphy wins the French Grand Prix with Duesenberg

by Hans Etzrodt
The seventh French Grand Prix in 1921 received 19 entries but not more than 13 cars made the start on a Monday morning. Only America, England and France took part at this international race while Italy had withdrawn just two weeks earlier. This was the last Grand Prix with a staggered start in pairs at one-minute intervals. Boyer (Duesenberg) led the first lap, but Murphy (Duesenberg) took first place on lap two until 11 after which he made his only pit stop. Chassagne (Ballot) then led from lap 12 to 17 when he had to quit, due to damage caused by the appalling road surfaces which broke up from the pounding given by the cars. Murphy was then first again from lap 18 to 30, winning the greatest event of the year, lapping the entire field of eight surviving cars. Another American, DePalma (Ballot), came second but needed 15 minutes more as he was almost two laps behind. The first French driver was Goux (2-L Ballot) finishing third. Dubonnet (Duesenberg) was fourth, Boillot (Talbot-Darracq) fifth, Guyot (Duesenberg) sixth, Wagner (Ballot) seventh, followed by the Talbots of Guinness and Segrave. Although the French were rather unhappy about their defeat, the Paris press issued praise without any limitation: "An American Duesenberg was victorious with the excellent American driver Jimmy Murphy."
Planned as the greatest event of the year, the Grand Prix did not attain its prewar importance when many nations were participating to fight for victory. It was the first French Grand Prix for seven years, almost three years after the end of the Great War hostilities in 1921. The French Grand Prix had been transformed into an invitational race. As a result, German and Austrian cars and drivers could not participate as they were not invited. The VII French Grand Prix was held on a Monday, preceded by the motorcycle race on Sunday and followed by the touring car Grand Prix on Tuesday, when the surface of the dirt roads had been already torn apart, exposing masses of stones.
      The triangular shaped circuit was the same where the August 1920 voiturette race had taken place. The start was given at kilometer point 0.180 on the road of common interest No. 113, from where it went clockwise along the straight until the dangerous right hairpin bend south of Pontlieue and Le Mans, leading onto the 7.815 km Mulsanne straight along National Route 158, including several fast kinks. Before nearing Mulsanne, a sharp right turn led west along a 2.485 km connecting road which included three additional rather sharp turns. At the last one, the sharp right Arnage turn, the course led north along the 6.815 km straight back to start and finish, after completing the 17.262 km circuit. The highest incline was 8% and required no downshifting. With the race running over 30 laps, the cars had to cover a total of 517.860 km.
Already one year earlier, during June 1920, the ACF (Automobile Club de France) published the rules for their upcoming Grand Prix, which stated that the 1921 race was to be the 16th Grand Prix de ACF. The last time the Grand Prix had taken place was in 1914, which had been the sixth time when the event was held. The only explanation for the different counting method must have been a rethinking by the ACF, now including nine of the earlier town-to-town races, which the club had organized before 1906.
      The regulations determined a maximum engine size of 3-liter. The minimum empty weight had to be 800 kg and included the body, four wheels, tires, also with oil in engine and transmission but without cooling water, fuel, spare parts and tools. In case the weight of driver and mechanic did not reach 120 kg, the difference had to be equalized with ballast. The winner was to receive a ACF gold medal, second a gilded medal and third received a silver medal.
      Before the actual race each engine had to undergo three hard technical pre-tests on an engine brake at different engine rpm to assure a certain minimum power output. Engines that did not attain the required hp were not allowed to race including the chassis of that manufacturer. The regulations further stated that this 16th Grand Prix de ACF was an international race but only for those countries, who received an invitation to attend. That sounded like the bashful admission, to exclude the formerly hostile countries, like Germany and Austria. The ACF sporting commission reserved the right to turn down applications without giving reasons. Every manufacturer could enter a maximum of five cars. The starting money amounted to 20,000 francs for one car, 35,000 for two, 47,000 for three, up to 65.000 for five cars.
      Applications had to be received not later than December 31, 1920. Applications received after closing were only accepted by including double the starting money and not later than February 28, 1921. The applications were accepted as final only by decision of the sporting commission, for reasons of safety or any other reasons for which they did not have to answer to limit the number of entries. The sporting commission further reserved the right to cancel the Grand Prix in case the number of entries remained below thirty.
      In September 1920, Louis Coatalen, leading designer of the British Sunbeam Company, explained that his factory would not participate at the French Grand Prix in case the proposition of a technical preliminary engine test would be maintained. He also explained that the power output demanded by the ACF, namely 30 hp at 1000 and 90 hp at 3000 rpm, were so close to the present upper limit, that only the most experienced engineers could hope to build engines to meet the conditions. He further stated that engine tests before a race had absolutely no justification.
      One month later the ACF sporting commission met again after listening to the objections from the various designer groups, like Jules Goux, manager of the Peugeot racing team; Ernest Ballot designer of the Ballot racing cars; Louis Delage and Michelat, chief designer at Delage; Ettore Bugatti, the famous designer of his cars; René Thomas, the famous racing driver and René de Knyff, leader of the ACF sporting commission. Afterwards the ACF published new rules in which the three planned technical pre-tests of the engine were removed and the starting money was reduced to 15.000; 26,000; 35,500 and 48,500 francs.
Entries and Practice:
Before the first closure of entries, a representative from the Peugeot factory explained end of 1920 that they would not enter at the French Grand Prix in spite of their racing cars having been tried and there would be other opportunities where their car's worthiness could be proven. Then, during April it became known that Peugeot had two of their 3-liter racecars entered at Indianapolis for Wilcox and Chassagne, to resume their 1920 effort when they entered four 3-liter cars.
      At the first close of entries, the ACF had received 15 entries: four Ballot, three Fiat, two Sunbeam, two Talbot, two Talbot-Darracq and one Mathis. Despite this rather lean entry, the ACF insisted in holding their Grand Prix, although the entire French industry did not attend, which reflected the general unreadiness of the manufacturers to go racing. Ballot was not considered part of the French Industry as they built only racecars and no production cars. The ACF had to face the shameful fact that they could set only one French company (Ballot) against the foreign contestants, which however was not a representative of the French automobile industry.
      At the second close of entries on February 28, the ACF could add to their 15 entries a further four from the American Duesenberg Company with help of William Fletcher Bradley, the AAA Contest Board agent in Europe with a double entry fee of $8,000. This was the car in which Tommy Milton had established new world records at Daytona over the kilometer and mile with an average speed of 250 km/h. The drivers entered were Guyot and Inghibert with Murphy, Tommy Milton or Hearne for the other cars. The ACF had now 19 entries from four Nations. During a meeting on April 6, the ACF sporting commission carried out the drawing of the starting numbers for the 19 cars: 1. for Ballot I; 2. Sunbeam I; 3. Mathis; 4. Talbot I; 5. Talbot-Darracq I; 6. Duesenberg I; 7. Fiat I; 8. Ballot II; 9. Sunbeam II; 10. Talbot II; 11. Talbot-Darracq II; 12. Duesenberg II; 13. Fiat II; 14. Ballot III; 15. Talbot-Darracq III; 16. Duesenberg III; 17. Fiat III; 18. Ballot IV; 19. Duesenberg IV.
      Fiat released an official statement at the beginning of July, that they would stay away from the French Grand Prix. This was the third bitter disappointment for the ACF in their unyielding attempt to hold the Grand Prix against the will of the manufacturers. First the withdrawal of the rules regarding the engine tests, then the absenteeism of the great French manufacturers at the close of entries and now the retreat of Fiat, who as the only Italian manufacturer would have given the Grand Prix a higher meaning. Fiat, who had won this year's Targa Florio with their 1914 grand prix car, had fallen behind in the construction of their 1921 grand prix car because the factory had to interrupt work several times due to labor strikes. Additionally, one of their more successful drivers, Ferdinando Minoia who would have been part of the grand prix team, had deserted to Milan to work for Alfa Romeo, who had finished so well at the Targa Florio.
      Ballot entered three 3-Liter cars, as raced in 1920 at Indianapolis, with a straight-8 (66 x 112 mm) 2973 cc engine, delivering 107 hp at 3800 rpm. The weight was quoted as 780 kg and top speed as 180 km/h. The American DePalma and the two Frenchmen Chassagne and Wagner were the assigned drivers. The fourth car was a 2-Liter Ballot 2LS which had a 1996 cc (69.9 x 130 mm), 4-cylinder, shaft driven twin o.h.c. 16-valve engine, giving 90 hp at 5000 rpm, capable of 170 km/h and was raced by Jules Goux. The car had previously been driven at the 1920 Gaillon hill climb by Renard. L'Auto reported that during the morning of July 16, Goux traveled along the circuit in a 6-cylinder Delage when he crashed with a light carriage pulled by a horse crossing the road at great speed. Goux smashed a foreleg of the horse, with the car ending in a ditch. The windshield shattered and a shard of glass cut deeply into Goux's wrist. He was treated at the Clinique Lagenière before he returned to his camp. Practice was done mostly in the early morning hours on roads with local traffic and therefore it was more dangerous than the race itself.
      Sunbeam, Talbot and Talbot Darracq were the S.T.D. cars. All had the same engine, differing only in the shape of their radiators and tails of Bodywork. The 1921 Grand Prix car had a 2973 cc (65 x 112 mm) 8-cylinder engine, twin o.h.c. with four valves per cylinder, producing 108 hp at 4000 rpm, capable of 160 km/h. The French driver René Thomas and André Boillot were assigned the light blue Tabot-Darracq with a streamlined tail. The British drivers Kenelm Lee Guinness and Major Henry Segrave were to drive the green Talbots which carried a spare wheel at the back. The two Sunbeams with the same engine were withdrawn.
      Duesenberg entered four cars, managed by George Robertson with Augie Duesenberg present to prepare the cars. The 3000 cc (63.5 x 116.8 mm) 8-cylinder engine with shaft driven single o.h.c. driving three valves per cylinder, two exhaust, one inlet, fed by two Miller carburetors in America but had Claudel carburetors in France, except Murphy's car which had Miller carburetors. All cars had Delcodynamo ignition and a new hydraulic four-wheel brake system, an invention of French engineer Emile Pilain. In the Duesenberg the system was for the first time achieved a practical test to their advantage as the drivers could brake later reaching the corners. Besides Albert Guyot, Jimmy Murphy and Joe Boyer, also included was Louis Inghibert, who had paid half of Duesenberg's race entrance fee of $8,000 to be able driving one of the cars. But instead on the day of the race André Dubonnet was driving the car because Inghibert had been injured during practice on the Le Mans Circuit. L'Auto reported that during the afternoon of July 14, Jimmy Murphy drove with Louis Inghibert as passenger in one of the Duesenberg, showing Inghibert how to improve his lap times, when suddenly a horse, which had escaped from a pasture, came running on the narrow road towards the car. Murphy had to brake hard and had to drive to the side where, due to a fairly deep hole, which the grass covered up, the car rolled over and fell through some undergrowth next to the track. Luckily the speed in that critical moment was rather low. Murphy received bruised ribs, while Inghibert was thrown from the car, suffered three broken ribs, had a concussion and was immediately transported to the Le Mans Hospital. Inghibert was in no danger, but could not recuperate in time to compete in the Grand Prix. His Duesenberg was then assigned to André Dubonnet, a wealthy French driver, son of the maker of Dubonnet Cognac. It was said that he had paid $1,000 to get the drive.
took place on Saturday at the weighing park, planned at 9 a.m. Ballot, 10:30 Talbot and Talbot-Darracq, 11:30 Mathis, 2:00 p.m. Duesenberg. Information weighing drivers and mechanics could not be found.

1Ballot I940 kgRalph DePalmaPeter DePaolo
3Mathis I - - - - Emile MathisKuntz
4Talbot I (green)944 kgKenelm Lee GuinnessBill Perkins
5Talbot-Darracq I931 kgRené ThomasAlbert Divo
6Duesenberg I926 kgAlbert GuyotFlohot
8Ballot II944 kgJean ChassagneRobert Laly
10Talbot II (green)933 kgHenry SegraveJules Moriceau
12Duesenberg II920 kgJimmy MurphyErnie Olson
14Ballot III932 kgLouis WagnerFuscier
15Talbot-Darracq III967 kgAndré BoillotThéo Ledru
16Duesenberg III - - - - Joe BoyerAlfred Nielsen
18Ballot IV823 kgJules GouxDucroze
19Duesenberg IV914 kgAndré DubonnetZambelli
Sunday's Grand Prix for the motor cycles had not attracted a great many onlookers, but Monday's race for the racecars seemed to act like a magical magnet and an immense crowd assembled for this race. In never ending columns cars coming from Paris arrived in Le Mans as early as four in the morning. Also, many spectators showed up from England and America, who of course were primarily interested in their national makes. Before the race Jimmy Murphy had been in the hospital to be taped from the armpits to the waist to try stabilize his chest with the bruised ribs. The weather before the start was threatening with a dark mist but rain did not develop.
      During the race a Morge chronometer was used, which could make accurate readings up to one-hundreds of a second. During February the ACF sporting commission had considered a flying mass start as used at the Indianapolis 500 race but in March they had decided against it, preferring the standing start for always two drivers in 30 second intervals. At 8:35 a.m. only 13 of the 19 cars originally entered were lined up on the grid. In the last moment the race organizers changed the half minute starting intervals, laid down in the regulations, to one minute. This was an alteration, which had not even been announced to the spectators ten minutes before the start. As of 9:00 a.m. two drivers were released, always in one-minute intervals. DePalma and Mathis started first followed by the others in order of their starting numbers, drawn by lots.
  9h00m ~~~~~




  9h01m ~~~~~




  9h02m ~~~~~




  9h03m ~~~~~




  9h04m ~~~~~




  9h05m ~~~~~




  9h06m ~~~~~


Thomas in the Talbot-Darracq was the first one to stop after only two kilometers due to a blockage in the fuel pipe. A few laps later he stopped at the pits to change plugs but the misfiring was found to be due to valves sticking. At the end of the first lap DePalma finished first after 8m16s, followed by Guinness, Chassagne, Guyot and Murphy. But in corrected time, Boyer, who made the same time as DePalma, was leading ahead of DePalma and Murphy with the field in the following order after the first lap:
1.Boyer (Duesenberg)  8m16s
2.DePalma (Ballot)  8m16s
3.Murphy (Duesenberg)  8m21s
4.Chassagne (Ballot)  8m21s
5.Wagner (Ballot)  8m38s
6.Guinness (Talbot)  8m39s
7.Boillot (Talbot-Darracq)  8m39s
8.Guyot (Duesenberg)  8m51s
9.Dubonnet (Duesenberg)  8m57s
10.Segrave (Talbot)  8m59s
11.Goux (Ballot)  9m00s
12.Mathis (Mathis)12m25s
13.Thomas (Talbot-Darracq)   18m40s1 lap behind

The race was between the blue cars of France and the sleek white cars from America with two green cars from England. From lap two onwards it was noticeable that Murphy would be a dangerous rival to the Ballot drivers. At the end of the second lap, Murphy was in front after 16m13s, Boyer also 16m13s, Chassagne 16m19s, De Palma 16m23s and in fifth place Boillot 17m03s. After the third lap, 23m59s for Murphy, Boyer and Chassagne followed both after 24m14s ahead of DePalma in 24m35s. This order remained the same on the fourth lap with Boyer two seconds ahead of Chassagne. For the spectators nothing remarkable happened, DePalma came past the grandstand always as first, followed by Chassagne, Murphy, Guyot and Boyer. But in corrected time, Murphy led as of the second lap, after a fast lap in 7m58s. After 5 laps, 86.310 km, Murphy had raised his advantage to half a minute over Boyer. Murphy's average lap time during the first five laps was 7m55.2s, enabling him to lap Mathis twice and Wagner three times, with Thomas stationary in the pits. The order was as follows after five laps:
1.Murphy (Duesenberg)    39m36s
2.Boyer (Duesenberg)    40m07s
3.Chassagne (Ballot)    40m14s
4.DePalma (Ballot)    41m08s
5.Guyot (Duesenberg)    41m27s
6.Boillot (Talbot-Darracq)    42m12s
7.Dubonnet (Duesenberg)    42m39s
8.Segrave (Talbot)    43m10s
9.Goux (Ballot)    43m25s
10.Guinness (Talbot)    46m47s
11.Mathis (Mathis)1h01m40s2 laps behind
12.Wagner (Ballot)1h04m27s3 laps behind
13.Thomas (Talbot-Darracq)   2h01m34sway behind

After the fifth lap, with the two Duesenberg pulling away steadily, the situation for the French competitors had become serious and hope for a victory had become doubtful. A breath-taking moment happened on the seventh lap, as the three favorites DePalma, Chassagne and Murphy, car behind car, were chasing past the grandstand, when Murphy drove in 7m43s at 132.2 km/h average speed, which remained the fastest lap of the race. Mathis retired with engine trouble on the seventh lap after having completing only five laps. On the eighth lap André Boillot received great applause when he changed his rear tire in the unbelievable time of 35 seconds. He left wheel and jack on the road in front of his pit which drew a protest from the Duesenberg team in the next pit. After 10 laps, 172.620 km, Murphy had raised his advantage to over 1 minute to Chassagne and Boyer. Murphy's average lap time during the last ten laps was 7m53.1s, enabling him to lap Segrave, Guinness and Goux who had run into a problem, with Wagner three laps behind. The order was as follows after ten laps:
1.Murphy (Duesenberg)1h18m51s
2.Chassagne (Ballot)1h20m18s
3.Boyer (Duesenberg)1h20m43s
4.Guyot (Duesenberg)1h21m47s
5.DePalma (Ballot)1h22m05s
6.Dubonnet (Duesenberg)1h24m59s
7.Boillot (Talbot-Darracq)1h25m55s
8.Goux (Ballot)1h28m09s1 lap behind
9.Guinness (Talbot)1h28m34s1 lap behind
10.Segrave (Talbot)1h29m56s1 lap behind
11.Wagner (Ballot)1h46m47s3 laps behind
12.Thomas (Talbot-Darracq)   2h48m55sway behind

On lap 12, Murphy stopped for a full two minutes at his pit to take on fuel and change rear tires. Only driver and riding mechanic were allowed to work on the car while the pit crew simply made the tools and materials available. Murphy changed the tires while Ernie Olson was adding the fuel. Henry Segrave in his book The Lure of Speed wrote, "After a few laps the road, especially in the corners, was cut up in a shocking manner, and the number of loose stones was incredible. The race was a long tale of tyre trouble. Boillot changed seven wheels, Guinness nine, and myself fourteen. When following Murphy along a short straight, the latter's car picked up a big stone off the road and hurled it back like a bullet. The stone struck my car with such force that it went clean through the wire-mesh stone guard which formed a sort of rudimentary wind-screen, through the molded steel scoop which was intended to protect our eyes from the wind, struck the steering wheel, severing the cord wound round it and then hit my mechanic, Moriceau, on the head, knocking him practically unconscious and cutting his head badly."
      In the meantime, Chassagne and Boyer were able to get past Murphy who had stopped at the pits. The excitement grew as Chassagne's blue Ballot took over the lead under thundering applause of the French crowd, with an advantage of 1m10s at the end of lap 12. De Palma stopped at the pits on the 12th lap for over four minutes. Murphy maintained his pace and the gap to Chassagne remained the same on lap 14. After 15 laps, 258.930 km, Chassagne in the leading Ballot was half a minute ahead of Boyer's Duesenberg and maintained his advantage of over 1 minute to Murphy. Chassagne's average lap time during the first 15 laps was 8m01.6s, enabling him to lap Dubonnet, Goux, Boillot and Segrave who all had to deal with car problems, while Wagner, Guinness and Thomas had dropped three laps or more behind. Chassagne was cheered by the crowd every time he passed the stands where the excitement was intense. At half-distance, the order was as follows after 15 laps:
1.Chassagne (Ballot)2h00m24s
2.Boyer (Duesenberg)2h00m57s
3.Murphy (Duesenberg)2h01m27s
4.Guyot (Duesenberg)2h01m59s
5.DePalma (Ballot)2h08m02s
6.Dubonnet (Duesenberg)2h10m39s1 lap behind
7.Goux (Ballot)2h11m13s1 lap behind
8.Boillot (Talbot-Darracq)2h11m54s1 lap behind
9.Segrave (Talbot)2h14m57s1 lap behind
10.Wagner (Ballot)2h31m16s3 laps behind
11.Guinness (Talbot)2h40m20s4 laps behind
12.Thomas (Talbot-Darracq)   3h42m30sway behind

After 17 laps Chassagne led Murphy by 33 seconds, but stopped at the pits on lap 18. The terrible road surface had brought about Chassagne's downfall and shattered France's hopes for a victory. The bumps and vibrations had fractured the tank mounts and dropped the fuel tank down on the prop shaft when it split open. The Ballot was beyond pit-repair. France had lost its best car and the race. Now three Duesenberg were heading the field. But then Boyer also retired on the 17th lap at La Tertre with a broken connecting rod on his Duesenberg. His radiator had been punctured by a stone and the car ran low on water.
      The Ballot pits were signaling their drivers positions and lap times by holding up a huge blackboard sign with white letters. The Duesenberg pits had a different signaling system assuring that Murphy always knew his position and time. The British cars were running well but suffered from numerous tire problems, caused by improperly cured Dunlop tires. They disintegrated under hard use after only a few laps, resulting in many stops. Boillot had to change seven tires during the race. Segrave also changed tires and had to stop for a minor repair, losing so much time, that he dropped several laps behind the leader. The tires generally caused the greatest problem which was not a surprise at these speeds, the gradually beginning great heat and the broken-up road surface. The circuit was disintegrating especially at Arnage corner. Boillot took 1m20 s to change two wheels on his Talbot-Darracq. Duesenberg carried no spare wheels and with a defective tire the drivers drove on the blown tire and on the rim to the pits where the wheel was changed at lightening-speed. With the field now down to ten cars, the lead went back to Murphy. De Palma made his second pit stop on the 19th lap for over four minutes. After 20 laps, 345.240 km, Murphy had a lead of 1m21s over Guyot's Duesenberg. DePalma with the fastest Ballot followed in third place but was now over one lap behind. Murphy's average lap time during the first 20 laps was 8m03s, with all cars lapped except Guyot. The order was as follows after 20 laps:
1.Murphy (Duesenberg)2h41m00s
2.Guyot (Duesenberg)2h42m21s
3.DePalma (Ballot)2h54m20s1 lap behind
4.Goux (Ballot)2h55m38s1 lap behind
5.Dubonnet (Duesenberg)2h56m14s1 lap behind
6.Boillot (Talbot-Darracq)2h59m44s2 laps behind
7.Wagner (Ballot)3h13m58s4 laps behind
8.Segrave (Talbot)3h23m13s5 laps behind
9.Guinness (Talbot)3h32m16s6 laps behind
10.Thomas (Talbot-Darracq)   4h35m53sway behind

As the track surface was breaking up, the cars left clouds of dust and stones in their wake. Murphy was in the lead while Goux had dropped from fourth to sixth place. The drivers suffered from numerous tire damages. On the 20th lap, Boillot had changed all four wheels on his Talbot-Darracq. Around lap 24, DePalma's Ballot misfired, resulting in another pit stop. They started the engine in reverse gear by pushing the car with the ignition. After 25 laps, 431.550 km, Murphy was over one lap ahead of Guyot. DePalma with the fastest Ballot followed in third place. Murphy's average lap time during the first 25 laps was 8m04s with the order as follows after 25 laps:
1.Murphy (Duesenberg)3h21m42s
2.Guyot (Duesenberg)3h34m00s1 lap behind
3.DePalma (Ballot)3h36m56s1 lap behind
4.Dubonnet (Duesenberg)3h38m55s2 laps behind
5.Boillot (Talbot-Darracq)     3h44m04s2 laps behind
6.Goux (Ballot)3h44m45s2 laps behind
7.Wagner (Ballot)4h04m46s5 laps behind
8.Segrave (Talbot)4h15m13s6 laps behind
9.Guinness (Talbot)4h18m15s6 laps behind

After De Palma's second pit stop on lap 19, he had slowed his pace considerably and eventually was called in for the third pit stop on lap 26. At this time the seam of the fuel tank had opened up and gas was leaking out. His riding mechanic Peter DePaolo, in his book "Wall Smacker" recalled: that Pete De Palma's brother Johnny encouraged him with some fast pep talk which resulted in the last four laps at a faster pace and a full fuel tank. After lap 26 Murphy led Guyot by 12m27s, after lap 27 by 12m45s. On lap 28 Guyot lost second position when he stopped to change tires, add fuel and water for a dry radiator. Due to the unbearable heat, Guyot's mechanic Flohot was totally exhausted with severe cuts on his face and head, he staggered off the circuit. Arthur Duray, who was there as spectator, then took the place next to Guyot which was permitted by the regulations. Guyot was unable to restart but Duray managed to start the engine. So, on lap 28 Guyot's gap to the leader had increased to 16m12s. On lap 29 this increased to 17m14s as Guyot's clutch was slipping and he had to stop again, now over two laps behind the leader. That allowed DePalma into second place but he also was far behind Murphy to have any hope of catching him. Murphy slowed down on his last lap to 10m31s due to a slow puncture in a rear tire. Thomas in the Talbot-Darracq, many laps behind, retired on his 24th lap, when a flying stone holed the oil tank.
      Murphy waved happily to de Knyff as he crossed the finish line, with his ribs taped, his radiator was empty for the last ten minutes of the race, a stone having hole it and his right rear tire was flat. He was cheered loudly by his countrymen. The crowd did not applaud the foreign winner but cheered DePalma, the American in a French car who finished second and they cheered Goux in the other Ballot who came third. Jimmy Murphy had finished after 4h07m11.4s at an average of more than 125 km/h. The American National anthem was played, which also the French listened to with headgear removed. While the winner drank a glass of champagne, the other drivers had to cover several laps before they could finish the race.



1.12Jimmy MurphyDuesenberg BrothersDuesenberg II1833.0S-8304h07m11.4s
2.1Ralph DePalmaEtablissements BallotBallot I3-L3.0S-8304h22m08.2s+ 14m56.8s
3.18Jules GouxEtablissements BallotBallot IV2LS2.0S-4304h28m38.2s+ 21m26.8s
4.19André DubonnetDuesenberg BrothersDuesenberg IV1833.0S-8304h30m19.2s+ 23m07.8s
5.15André BoillotTalbot-DarracqTalbot-Darracq III3.0S-8304h35m47.4s+ 28m36.0s
6.6Albert GuyotDuesenberg BrothersDuesenberg I1833.0S-8304h43m13.0s+ 36m01.6s
7.14Louis WagnerEtablissements BallotBallot III3-L3.0S-8304h48m01.0s+ 40m49.6s
8.4Kenelm Lee GuinnessAutomobiles TalbotTalbot I3.0S-8305h06m43.8s+ 59m32.4s
9.10Henry SegraveAutomobiles TalbotTalbot II3.0S-8305h08m06.0s+ 1h00m54.6s
DNF5René ThomasTalbot-DarracqTalbot-Darracq I3.0S-823oil tank
DNF16Joe BoyerDuesenberg BrothersDuesenberg III1833.0S-817connecting rod
DNF8Jean ChassagneEtablissements BallotBallot II3-L3.0S-817split fuel tank
DNF3Emile MathisSA MathisMathis I1.5S-45engine
Fastest lap: Jimmy Murphy (Duesenberg) on lap 7 in 7m43s = 134.2 km/h (83.4 mph).
Winner's average speed: 125.7 km/h (78.1 mph).
Weather: overcast, hot.

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobil-Welt, Berlin
Gazzetta dello Sport, Milano
La Stampa Sportiva, Torino
L'Auto, Paris
La Vie Automobile, Paris
Le Miroir des Sports, Paris
MOTOR, Berlin
Omnia, Paris
Special thanks to:
Giuseppe Prisco


© 2021 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 27.08.2021