Les Racers Français

Sébastien Faurès Fustel de Coulanges

See the Review

Accustomed to the world of automobiles and aeronautics, the author this time devoted his research to the history of motorboating in France.

A glorious and dramatic sporting epic supported by a detailed and rigorous narrative.

The work relates the adventure of French competition launches in the interwar period. Powered by Hispano-Suiza or Bugatti engines, they continue on the marine element the glory acquired in the air by the engines of the first, or on the circuits by the cars of the second.

Context, profiles of the protagonists, technical descriptions, research of paternity, account and classification of all the 12 liter races run in Europe during the interwar period, objective analysis of the facts, here is everything you will find in this work among the most complete and most documented published to date on the history of motorboating in Europe.

  • On 352 pages; 240 x 290 mm
  • With 500 period photographs and images. 15 unique drawings
  • Language: French
  • Publisher: OREP Editions
  • Info and orders: secretaire.phaf@gmail.com
  • Selling price: EUR 150.- plus shipping costs

About the Author:
An ESTACA engineer, the author is a regular contributor to the British monthly The Automobile, and the co-founder and secretary of the Association Patrimoine & Histoire del’Automobile en France (PHAF).
Specializing in the history of the automobile and aeronautics industry in the interwar period, he has published the monographs of the manufacturers Farman (Cugnot Award 2014) and Lorraine-Dietrich (Cugnot Award 2018), as well as targeted works on competition with Fiat in Grand Prix (Prix Bellecour 2009, Cugnot Award 2010) then Delage Records & Grand Prix (Motorsport Book of the Year 2021, Prix Bellecour 2021, Cugnot Award 2022).

Review by BugattiPage
For the Bugattiste who is interested in all aspects of Bugatti, there's a lot of new information in this well written book.

There are many Bugatti powered racing boats here. Apart from the France-Excelsior, there are more boats powered by either 8- or 16-cilinder Breguet-Bugatti aero engines. Then there is a racing boat with a T35 engine, with a different bore and stroke than usual, though still two liter.

And finally, there is the series of Niniette's. All Bugatti powered, and common belief was that the Niniette VI (and maybe also the V) was a Bugatti design. Sébastien shows that this is not the case; the hull was designed by Frenchman Paul Bonnemaison, who also had a patent for the Propulsion system. The patent by Ettore for this system was merely an improvement on the design by Bonnemaison.

Unfortunately Bonnemaison dies in August 1937, Niniette VI is ready in September, and Maurice Vasseur "drives" it to a record speed on November 27 that same year. Somehow, Ettore claims the boat to be of his own design, and this is taken over in some of the period press, and from there in books....

So finally, should you buy it? At 150 euro plus shipping, it is probably too expensive for the average Bugatti enthusiast, who is interested mainly in the automobiles. However, if you're interested in a bit more than Bugatti cars, and also in technology in a wider sense, this is a very good book.

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