Away from the wet start of the 1927 Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Robert Benoist surges his Delage (#4) into a lead he would hold to a victorious finish. The only world championship race he did not win that year was the Indianapolis 500, which he did not contest.
Louis Delage may have been born to a humble assistant station master and his wife in Cognac, France, in 1874, but he rose to become a dominator of world motor sport. Yet he died in poverty, in 1947, at the age of 73, bankrupt, swamped by mountainous debts and destitute.
I don’t use the term world dominator lightly. Louis’ fabulous Albert Lory-designed Delage 15 S 8 won four of the five Grands Prix—at Montlhéry, Lasarte, Monza and Brooklands—to bring him the 1927 World Championship for Car Constructors, all four of them won by France’s highly talented and courageous Second World War Resistance fighter, Robert Benoist. It wasn’t so easy though, because the 15 S 8’s exhaust system ran along the right side of the cockpit and singed the drivers’ feet so badly that their shoes were often heard to sizzle in the pits after a stint as they plunged them into bowls of cold water!
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