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Goux (Bugatti)Bourlier/Sénéchal (Delage)Costantini (Bugatti)

GRAN PREMIO DE EUROPA

Circuito de Lasarte - San Sebastián (E), 18 July 1926.
45 laps x 17.315 km (10.759 mi) = 779.175 km (484.2 mi).


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineRemarks

1Ferdinando MinoiaOfficine Meccaniche SAOM8C Grand Prix1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
2Bartolomeo CostantiniAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8
3Albert DivoAutomobiles TalbotTalbotGPLB1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
4Albert GuyotA. GuyotGuyot Special Argyle s/c1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
5Ernest EldridgeE. A. D. EldridgeEldridgeAnzani1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
6Marcel VioletAutomobiles Sima VioletSima Violet2-stroke1.5F-4DNA - did not appear
7Robert BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage15 S 8 19261.5S-8
8Jean GrafJean GrafJean GrafCIME1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
9Renato BalestreroOfficine Meccaniche SAOM8C Grand Prix1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
10Jules GouxAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8
11Henry SegraveAutomobiles TalbotTalbotGPLB1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
12XXA. GuyotGuyotSpecial Argyle s/c1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
14Michel DoréAutomobiles Sima Violet Sima Violet2-stroke1.5F-4DNA - did not appear
15Edmond BourlierAutomobiles DelageDelage15 S 8 19261.5S-8
16William Grover WilliamsJean GrafJean GrafLa Perle / Cime1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
18Giuseppe MorandiOfficine Meccaniche SAOM8C Grand Prix1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
19Ferdinando Minoia / DupierAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8
20Jules MoriceauAutomobiles TalbotTalbotGPLB1.5S-8DNA - did not appear
21Mauriceau BenoistAutomobiles Sima Violet Sima Violet2-stroke1.5F-4DNA - did not appear
22André MorelAutomobiles DelageDelage15 S 8 19261.5S-8
23Max FournyAutomobiles Sima VioletSima Violet2-stroke1.5F-4DNA - did not appear
Note: Race numbers 13 and 17 were excluded because of the common belief that they were unlucky numbers.


Jules Goux wins the European Grand Prix for Bugatti

by Hans Etzrodt
The European Grand Prix at San Sebastian, Spain was the third event of the World Championship to the new international 1500 cc formula. With 21 entries a great race was expected but on race day only six cars appeared, three Bugattis with Costantini, Goux and Minoia against three Delages with Benoist, Bourlier and Morel fighting a punishing race over 779 km in the Spanish July heat. It was a seven hour race with numerous driver changes after the first ten laps during which three lead changes had taken place between the two makes. The Delage cars were slightly faster than the Bugattis but multiple and lengthy stops caused the Delages to lose much time. Their drivers suffered burns, pain and sun and heat strokes due to the Delage's exhaust running too close to the driver, the cause of numerous driver changes. Goux won the race for Bugatti after six hours and 51 minutes. The Delage of Bourlier, which he shared with Sénéchal placed second and Costantini's Bugatti finished third. The Delage of Morel, which he shared with Wagner and Benoist, came fourth with only 41 laps but it did not classify. The same distance was completed by the Bugatti of Minoia who was relieved by Dutilleux (or Dupier) in fifth place, but also did not classify. The Delage of Benoist which he shared with Sénéchal and Wagner completed only 33 laps.
      After the race two of the Delages were disqualified due to unauthorized driver changes, elevating Costantini's Bugatti as the second finisher. At the international AIACR Court of Appeals in Paris Delage appealed and three months later the appeal was allowed as was the appeal of Minoia.
The Automobile week of San Sebastian, organized by the Real Automóvil Club de Guipúzcoa, took off with the IV Gran Premio de Europe for 1500 formula cars on Sunday, July 18. On July 22 the Touring Car Grand Prix took place and the Spanish Grand Prix on July 25. The three races were held on the 17.315 km Lasarte circuit, south of the Atlantic seaside resort of San Sebastian. For the European Grand Prix the course had to be lapped 45 times, a total of 779.175 km. It was a natural road circuit, winding through the foothills of the Pyrenees counterclockwise with a tarred Macadam surface. At the start and finish, between the villages of Lasarte and Oria, there were tram lines. The road then led through Andoain after 5 km, Urnieta at half distance, Hernani after 11 km, and Lasarte only 1.3 km before the start and finish. Many corners had been improved to reduce lap times. On the straights, beginning after km 5 and up to km 10.7, there were several opportunities to go full throttle.
Entries:
From the onset it was a very promising event with 21 entries but on race day only six cars appeared for the start, three Bugattis and three Delages. Ettore Bugatti himself was present with three new supercharged T39 models for his drivers Costantini, Goux and Minoia. Their reserve driver was the mechanic Louis Dutilleux also called "Dupier" but was not registered. Louis Delage himself did not appear but he sent the retired race driver René Thomas to manage the three Delage cars of Benoist, Bourlier and Morel, with Louis Wagner as their official reserve driver and also Robert Sénéchal who was not registered. The European Grand Prix was a battle between Bugatti and Delage, two French firms fighting each other. The remaining 15 cars from OM, Talbot, Guyot, Eldridge, Sima Violet and Jean Graf did not appear since the cars were not yet ready. However it was doubtful that such a poorly supported contest met the status of a European Grand Epreuve.
      The 1926 Bugattis were introduced three weeks earlier at the French Grand Prix and Spain was their second race. The new 1500 Delages were starting their first race as untested cars. The 8-cylinder racecars designed by Albert Lory were the smallest and lowest Grand Prix cars up to this time. They proved to be superior in speed to the Bugattis but had a serious design flaw. Lory had mounted the twin superchargers at the left side of the engine which placed the exhaust on the right side very close to the driver with the red-hot header pipe of the number 8 cylinder placed inches from the driver's right foot. This layout combined with the lack of proper bulkheads in the cars, caused the release of radiant heat and poisonous fumes from the special fuels used into the cockpits. This proved to be the 'Achilles Heel' of the new Delage. The sweltering July weather with the strong Spanish sun and hot winds provided the rest. All Delage drivers suffered burns, pains and sun and heat strokes.

Weights measured during scrutineering:
2 CostantiniBugatti822 kg
10 GouxBugatti822 kg
19 MinoiaBugatti824 kg
7 BenoistDelage946 kg
15 BourlierDelage916 kg
22 MorelDelage896 kg
Regulation weight empty no less than 600 kg
Race:
The huge grandstand was packed and large crowds gathered around the circuit. The public was informed by loudspeakers installed in front of the grandstand. The royal family was present with King Alphonso XIII of Spain and the Queen as well as the Spanish Dictator Primo di Rivera. In the meantime the officials supervised the six drivers on the starting grid, who lined up in numerical order.
Pole Position
10
Goux

Bugatti

7
Benoist

Delage

2
Costantini

Bugatti

22
Morel

Delage

19
Minoia

Bugatti

15
Bourlier

Delage

The race began in oppressive heat at 10:00 AM with a flying start behind a pilot car, a large open Hispano-Suiza which, after it had been push-started, then headed the six racecars. As they crossed the line the official in the rear seat lowered his white flag when Benoist immediately shot into the lead, followed by Goux, Costantini, Morel, Bourlier and Minoia. At the end of the first lap Goux was in the lead after 9m02s at 115 km/h average speed followed by Minoia with Benoist third ahead of Costantini, Morel and Bourlier.
      After the second lap in 8m42s at 119.4 km/h, Benoist held the lead one-hundred meters ahead of Costantini, both of them having passed Goux and Minoia, with Morel and Bourlier further behind. Benoist went even faster on his third lap in 8m35s at 121.0 km/h average speed. The first three held their positions but Morel had taken fourth place followed by Minoia and Boulier. The positions did not change on lap four, with Benoist still in the lead, Costantini followed about 60 meters behind, then Goux, Morel, Bourlier and Minoia, who stopped at the pits at the beginning of lap five to change plugs and left after about three minutes.
      Benoist kept the lead at 119 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after 5 laps:
1.#7 Benoist (Delage)43m36s
2.#2 Costantini (Bugatti)43m56s
3.#10 Goux (Bugatti)44m22s
4.#22 Morel (Delage)44m37s
5.#15 Bourlier (Delage)44m56s
6.#19 Minoia (Bugatti)50m44s

Benoist drove the sixth lap in new record time of 8m19s at 124.9 km/h average speed. Costantini followed one minute behind and stopped at the pits to add water to his radiator while Goux, Morel and Bourlier passed the Bugatti in the pits though Minoia remained in last place.
      On the seventh lap Benoist still held the lead but stopped at the pits and passed the lead to Morel, his teammate. Goux in the Bugatti followed closely in second place with Bourlier third and Costantini fourth. In the meantime Benoist lost about four minutes changing spark plugs at the beginning of lap seven, topping up with fuel, oil and water and removing newspapers from his radiator grill. He rejoined in fifth place just ahead of Minoia in last place.
      Morel completed the eighth lap in first place with a race time of 1h08m49s but his engine began to miss as it had done in the opening laps. Goux followed only 20 seconds behind, Bourlier was third after 1m08s, Costantini fourth after 2m02s, Benoist fifth after 3m38s and Minoia after 7m33s, who stopped again at his pit pouring water in the radiator and dropped one lap behind.
      On lap nine, Morel was leading ahead of Goux with Bourlier third followed by Costantini, who stopped at the pits for water and to change one wheel, which took 43 seconds. While Costantini was in the pits, Benoist passed him, making up lost time with a new fast lap in 8m14s at 126.2 km/h, breaking the lap record.
      On lap ten, the leader Morel stopped to refuel and passed the lead to Goux's Bugatti. Bourlier's Delage followed 14 seconds behind, with Benoist, in third place. Meantime, Morel, who stopped at the beginning of lap 11, was affected by the unbearable heat. He was barely able to stand, and suffered a sun stroke and burned feet. When he became unconscious he was carried away on a stretcher and was rushed to a hospital. Wagner, the designated spare driver, took over for Morel and rejoined the race in second to last place. At the end of lap 10 Goux was leading with 116.730 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after 10 laps:
1.#10 Goux (Bugatti)1h28m57s
2.#15 Bourlier (Delage)1h29m11s
3.#7 Benoist (Delage)1h30m18s
4.#2 Costantini (Bugatti)1h32m10s
5.#22 Wagner (Delage)1h34m05s
6.#19 Minoia (Bugatti)1h39m59s1 lap behind

At the beginning of lap 12 Benoist stopped at his pit. Immediately his mechanic poured water into the radiator, but apparently the car had no problem. Benoist was worn out suffocating from the heat of his exhaust pipe. He climbed from his car, stumbled and fell exhausted against the pit counter. He tried to rejoin the race, but collapsed again. His wife helped him to rest. It was an emotional scene when Benoist gave up resuming the drive, deciding to be replaced by the reserve driver. As Wagner was already driving there was no other substitute than the Delage team manager, veteran René Thomas, who with his age seemed to be very unenthusiastic about the prospect that awaited him. After a long wait and just as it was believed that he was going to take the wheel, there appeared from a nearby pit the enthusiastic driver, Robert Sénéchal, a French endurance driver since 1922. He volunteered to drive the car, pleaded with the Delage team manager and asked Ettore Bugatti, who approved the non-regulatory change of drivers since Sénéchal was not listed as Delage's reserve driver. The racing regulations required that any replacement driver had to have the written approval of the constructor who employed him; that he was insured and that he had been weighed. Sénéchal did not fulfill any of these conditions. Eventually Thomas, head of the Delage race team, agreed after having lost two laps debating the driver change. Sénéchal, who had never sat in a Delage racecar before, took the wheel of Benoist's car with applause from the crowd. Sénéchal in Benoist's Delage finally restarted two laps behind, meaning that he was on lap12 while Bourlier's Delage, Goux, Costantini and Wagner in Morels #22 car were covering lap 14 in that order.
      In the meantime, at the beginning of lap 12 Bourlier (Delage) had taken the lead from Benoist while Wagner was driving Morel's #22 Delage and had rejoined the race. Minoia had been in the pits since lap 11 due to difficulties with the spark plugs of his Bugatti. On lap 14 Bourlier's Delage was leading Goux by 20 seconds at a very regular pace of nine minutes per lap, equivalent to 115 km/h. Costantini was third three minutes behind, followed by Wagner in the Morel Delage. Sénéchal in the Benoist Delage was in fifth place having covered thirteen laps and Minoia in sixth place had completed twelve laps. On lap 15 Bourlier's Delage and Goux in the Bugatti were fighting a tremendous battle first one and then the other leading. Bourlier was leading at 116.2 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after 15 laps
1.#15 Bourlier (Delage)2h14m27s
2.#10 Goux (Bugatti)2h14m42s
3.#2 Costantini (Bugatti)2h17m55s
4.#22 Wagner (Delage)2h30m29s1 lap behind
5.#7 Sénéchal (Delage)- - -2 laps behind
6.#19 Minoia (Bugatti)2h59m18s5 laps behind

On lap 16 Goux' Bugatti was in the lead followed closely by Bourlier and Costantini in third position. Wagner, who was fourth in the Morel Delage, stopped at the pits after about three laps in a state of collapse, leaving his car without announcing his retirement. Sénéchal in the Benoist Delage also stopped at the pits, suffering from exhaustion and burned feet, expecting that the car would be retired. So both Delages #7 and #22 were standing motionless at their pits while mechanics cut cooling holes in them. Morel was in hospital; Wagner was suffering from exhaustion, Benoist from burns and sunstroke and Sénéchal was recovering. At this time only four cars were racing while the other two were sitting in front of the pits.
      On lap 17 Bourlier was leading having passed Goux with Costantini following in third place. At the beginning of lap 18 Bourlier stopped at the pits suffering from the heat and unable to continue. Sénéchal replaced him at the wheel and was now driving Bourlier's #15 Delage, while the other two Delages were still standing in front of the pits with their drivers recovering from exhaustion. Goux had regained the lead on lap18 and with Costantini second it seemed that victory had been decided in favor of Bugatti. The race continued with Goux driving a most regular race at an almost constant average of 115 km/h. Costantini followed him with a gap of 1m12s and Sénéchal in the Bourlier Delage was 6m20s behind. Minoia, who had several setbacks, was five laps behind when the leaders completed their 20th lap with the field in the following order:
1.#10 Goux (Bugatti)3h00m50s
2.#2 Costantini (Bugatti)3h02m02s
3.#15 Sénéchal (Delage)3h07m10s
4.#19 Minoia (Bugatti)3h51m26s5 laps behind
5.#7 Benoist (Delage)4h21m09s8 laps behind
6.#22 Wagner (Delage)4h21m10s8 laps behind

Shortly after lap 20 Morel returned from hospital. The people in the grandstand were informed by loudspeaker while the spectators around the circuit had no idea who was driving which Delage. On lap 21 Goux stopped for the first time to refuel and was applauded for his race while Costantini took the lead and managed to gain an advantage of half a lap. In the following laps Sénéchal, now more familiar with Bourlier's car, was recovering ground on Costantini. The Bugattis of Costantini and Goux were well ahead of Sénéchal in third place while the #7 and #22 Delages had been stationary at their pits for one hour with the drivers recovering from exhaustion.
      When Costantini completed lap 25, the sky became overcast and some clouds covered the sun while the hot winds from the mountains turned around 180 degrees and strong winds started blowing with a drizzle from the sea. The cooler weather helped Benoist who restarted the #22 Delage which had been in front of the pits since lap 16. The crowd applauded Benoist and he soon succeeded on his 18th lap in establishing a new lap record of 8m12s at of 126.7 km/h. About thirty minutes later Wagner also restarted but with the #7 Delage of Benoist/Sénéchal. The #15 Delage now driven by Sénéchal recovered ground magnificently. At the beginning of lap 25 Sénéchal stopped at the pits and after a lengthy break handed the steering to Bourlier. Costantini was leading with 114.1 km/h average speed with all cars again on the track in the following order after 25 laps:
1.#2 Costantini (Bugatti)3h47m52s
2.#10 Goux (Bugatti)3h52m17s
3.#15 Bourlier (Delage)3h54m20s
4.#19 Minoia (Bugatti)4h49m19s6 laps behind
5.#22 Benoist (Delage)- - -8 laps behind
6.#7 Wagner (Delage)- - -12 laps behind

On lap 28, Costantini was leading Goux by five minutes, Bourlier by two laps, Minoia by six laps, Benoist in the #22 car by eight laps and Wagner in the #7 car by 14 laps. Around this time the Bugatti of Minoia was taken over by Dutilleux the unofficial Bugatti reserve driver. Costantini was in the lead with 114.3 km/h average speed, followed by Goux and Bourlier/Sénéchal in third place with the times as follows after 30 laps:
1.#2 Costantini (Bugatti)4h32m39s
2.#10 Goux (Bugatti)4h37m16s
3.#15 Bourlier (Delage)4h46m05s1 lap behind
4.#19 Minoia (Bugatti)5h43m24s6 laps behind
5.#22 Benoist (Delage)5h50m13s8 laps behind
6.#7 Wagner (Delage)6h56m00s14 laps behind

On lap 31 Costantini still held the lead with Goux in second place battling with Bourlier's Delage for the entire lap. Bourlier reduced his gap to Goux to less than one lap and less than two laps to Costantini in first place, who averaged laps in 8m13s at 120 km/h. Benoist who was eight laps behind, on his 24th lap drove the Morel/Wagner Delage and stopped in front of the pits giving the car back to Morel. On lap 34 Bourlier stopped at the pits and Sénéchal again took command of the #15 Delage. Costantini beat the lap record on lap 35 with a time of 7m58s at an average of 130.4 km/h. He was leading at 115.680 km/h average speed, followed by Goux ahead of Sénéchal in the Bourlier Delage, next was Morel then Minoia and Wagner in the Benoist/Sénéchal Delage after lap 35.
1.#2 Costantini (Bugatti)5h13m52s
2.#10 Goux (Bugatti)5h22m44s
3.#15 Sénéchal (Delage)5h33m09s1 lap behind
4.#22 Morel (Delage)6h31m36s9 laps behind
5.#19 Minoia (Bugatti)6h36m40s10 laps behind
6.#7 Wagner (Delage)- - -14 laps behind

The order of Costantini, Goux and Bourlier/Sénéchal remained unchanged over 15 laps. When Costantini stopped to change a wheel it enabled Goux to reduce the distance that separated him from the leader.
      The Delages were pushing again. Wagner in the Benoist/Sénéchal Delage drove his 28th lap in 7m54.6s at an average of 131.340 km/h, which was the final fastest lap of the race. Wagner stopped and handed the #7 car to Benoist who was again driving his Delage after 30 laps in 6h50m13s, when he was stopped by the officials at the end.
      After lap 39 the order was Costantini, followed by Goux less than one lap behind, less than two by Sénéchal, eight laps by Minoia and Morel by nine laps. On lap 40 Costantini stopped to change spark plugs and Goux passed into the lead with 113.128 km/h average speed with the times as follows after 40 laps:
1.#10 Goux (Bugatti)6h07m30s
2.#2 Costantini (Bugatti)6h08m20s
3.#15 Sénéchal (Delage)6h17m26s1 lap behind
4.#19 Minoia (Bugatti)7h26m05s8 laps behind
5.#22 Morel (Delage)7h26m11s9 laps behind

At the end of lap 41 Goux had a lead of ten minutes over Sénéchal in second place who was driving very quickly and had reduced the distance to the leader but did not have enough time to snatch the victory. When Costantini had an engine breakdown and arrived slowly at the pits, Sénéchal took over second place just as Costantini was restarting and proceeded to launch into the pursuit. The race had now acquired new interest a few laps before the end. Delage continued with driver changes until the last moment when Benoist had again taken over the wheel of the #7 Delage. Goux in the Bugatti kept his position resisting the attacks of Sénéchal's Delage during the last laps.
      Goux kept the lead until the end of lap 45 at 113.550 km/h average speed after 6h51m52s. He was greeted with a huge ovation as he had led a race as the most regular driver on the circuit. Sénéchal in Bourlier's Delage finished second, eight minutes behind, and was cheered for his brilliant and improvised race, confirming his skills as a driver. Costantini's engine eventually recovered but he had dropped over 36 minutes behind, finishing third in 7h28m18s. He was received with an ovation as enthusiastic as the tribute to the winners. When the race of the leaders ended, the remaining three cars were still running. Morel's #15 Delage was stopped by the stewards at the end of his 41st lap, Minoia in the Bugatti was also stopped four laps behind and Wagner in the #7 Delage was stopped at the end of his 33rd lap.
      King Alphonso XIII of Spain called at the pits of Goux, the winner of the Grand Prix of Europe, and Sénéchal, who was classified in second place, congratulating them warmly. Goux received the trophy of the Spanish King and 50,000 pesetas. Wagner had driven the fastest lap at 131.34 km/h which was worth 10,000 pesetas. Bourlier/ Sénéchal, who finished second, received 20,000 pesetas. They were followed by Costantini in third place, who received 10,000 pesetas. However, when the officials disqualified the two Delages driven by Sénéchal, second prize went to Costantini while Benoist received the third prize and the fastest lap prize also went to Costantini.
      After the race an International Committee disqualified the two Delage cars which had been driven by Sénéchal, as he was not a pre-approved driver. Louis Delage filed a protest by appealing the disqualification. The Bugatti of Minoia was also disqualified for using a non-approved Bugatti reserve driver, the mechanic Louis Dutilleux, also named Dupier.

Official Results after disqualification:

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.10Jules GouxAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8456h51m52s
2.2Meo CostantiniAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8457h28m18s+ 36m26s
DNC22Morel/Wagner/BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage15 S 8 19261.5S-8417h35m22s
Fastest lap: Meo Costantini (Bugatti) on lap 35 in 7m58s = 130.4 km/h (81.0 mph) official after disqualification.
But the Delage appeal was allowed, regaining the second and fourth place for Delage, also the appeal of Minoia on October 26, at the international AIACR Court of Appeals in Paris, held under the chairmanship of Count von Rosen of Sweden deciding about the protest by the Delage Company against the European Grand Prix Committee for removing the two Delage cars from the European Grand Prix classification. Members present: Fritsch (Germany), Friedrich (Austria); Baron Nothomb (Belgium), W.S. Hogan (USA), O'Gorman (England), Senator Crespi (Italy), Count Raczinski (Poland), Decrauzat (Switzerland) and Kalva (Czechoslovakia).
      The point of discussion was when during the European Grand Prix in San Sebastian, an unregistered reserve driver relieved the official Delage drivers. The change of drivers happened with the approval of the race manager and the clerk of the course. But a complaint was filed that two of these drivers had not been nominated beforehand, the officials disqualified the two Delage cars driven by Sénéchal. In their evidence on appeal the Delage Company pointed out that they had been granted permission for the substitution by the course officials and that Bugatti, who had a right to object, had promptly agreed, sportingly, and had even offered his spare driver, Louis Dutilleux.

Results after re-instating the two Delages

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.10Jules GouxAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8456h51m52s
2.15Bourlier/SénéchalAutomobiles DelageDelage15 S 8 19261.5S-8456h59m42s+ 7m50s
3.2Meo CostantiniAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8457h28m18s+ 36m26s
DNC22Morel/Wagner/BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage15 S 8 19261.5S-8417h35m22s
DNC19Minoia/DutilleuxAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT39A1.5S-8417h35m36s
DNC7Benoist/Sénéchal/WagnerAutomobiles DelageDelage15 S 8 19261.5S-8337h26m31s
Fastest lap: Louis Wagner (#7 Delage) on his lap 28 in 7m54.6s = 131.3 km/h (81.6 mph) official after appeal.
Winner's average speed: 113.5 km/h (70. mph).
Weather: Sunny and very hot up to lap 25, thereafter warm.
In retrospect:
L'Auto reports omitted to mention the driver change when Sénéchal relieved Benoist in the #7 car at lap 12. They also reported wrongly that Wagner was driving Benoist's #7 Delage at around lap 18/20, when instead it was Benoist himself driving while Wagner drove the #22 Delage.

The intermediate times showed a distinct difference between the French and the Spanish sources. We decided to rely on the Spanish reports since they were more complete with less error. The intermediate and final classification times published in newspapers and magazines deviated often by fractions of a second and even minutes between the different reports. We hope that we have selected the correct times.

The 1926 World Championship standings after the European Grand Prix showed Bugatti with another victory and one point which gave them the lead with 8 points. Miller was second, adding 6 points with a total of 13 points, while Delage added 3 points with a total of 15. All remaining manufacturers had 17 points. It is strange that Guyot and Eldridge went all the way to Indianapolis to compete in the championship and then couldn't be bothered going to any of the four European races. Did they hope to sell their cars to rich Americans? Or was there maybe more money to be won at Indianapolis?

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
Automobil Motorsport, Budapest
Automobil-Welt, Berlin
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
L'AUTO, Paris
Madrid Automovil, Madrid
MOTOR, Berlin
MOTOR und SPORT, Pössneck
Omnia, Paris
Special thanks to:
Angel Elberdin, his book Circuito de Lasarte, Kutxa fundación, Bilbao, 1998



Costantini (Bugatti)Goux (Bugatti)Wagner/Benoist (Delage)

GRAN PREMIO de ESPAÑA

Circuito de Lasarte - San Sebastián (E), 25 July 1926.
40 laps x 17.315 km (10.759 mi) = 692.6 km (430.4 mi).


No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineRemarks

1XXXXSalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
2Marcel VioletAutomobiles Sima VioletSima Violet2-stroke1.5F-4DNA - did not appear
3Henry SegraveMajor H.O.D. SegraveSunbeams/c4.0V-12
4Roland CotyMaurice BéquetBéquet SpécialeHispano-Suiza11.6V-8DNS - did not start
5Bartolomeo CostantiniAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT352.0S-8
6Robert BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage 2LCV2.0V-12
7XXXXAmilcar1.1DNA - did not appear
8Albert GuyotA. GuyotGuyot Special Argyle s/c1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
9Jean GrafJ. GrafJean GrafCIME1.5S-6DNS - practice crash
10Henri BillietH. BillietBNCScap1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
11Ernest EldridgeE.A.D. EldridgeEldridgeSpecial Anzani1.5S-4DNA - did not appear
12XXXXSalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
14Michel DoréM. DoréSima Violet2-stroke1.5F-4DNA - did not appear
15Jules GouxAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT352.0S-8
16André MorelAutomobiles DelageDelage 2LCV2.0V-12
18XXXXAmilcar1.1DNA - did not appear
19XXXXGuyot Special Argyle s/c1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
20Rolland CottyR. CottyJean GrafLa Perle / Cime1.5S-6DNA - did not appear
21XXXXSalmson1.1DNA - did not appear
22Mauriceau BenoistAutomobiles Sima Violet Sima Violet2-stroke1.5F-4DNA - did not appear
23Ferdinando MinoiaAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT352.0S-8
24Louis WagnerAutomobiles DelageDelage 2LCV2.0V-12
25XXXXAmilcar1.1DNA - did not appear
26Max FournyAutomobiles Sima Violet Sima Violet2-stroke1.5F-4DNA - did not appear
27"Jean Sabipa"Louis CharavelBugattiDNA - did not appear
28"Williams"William Grover Williams BugattiT35T2.3S-8
29René de BuckR. de BuckBugattiT35T2.3S-8
30Jules FerryJ. FerryBugattiT352.0S-8
31XXXXBugattiDNA - did not appear
32XXXXBugattiDNA - did not appear
Note: Race numbers 13 and 17 were excluded because of the common belief that they were unlucky numbers.


Costantini triumphs with Bugatti at the Spanish Grand Prix

by Hans Etzrodt
The Spanish Grand Prix took place over 40 laps of the Lasarte circuit. The ten cars at the start comprised six Bugatti, three Delage and one Sunbeam. Segrave in the fast Sunbeam led the first three laps, but Morel (Delage) took the lead on lap four until lap six when Wagner (Delage) took first place on lap seven and kept it until lap twelve. Costantini in the fastest Bugatti led from lap 13 until the finish. The independent De Buck (Bugatti) retired after two laps, Benoist (Delage) followed suit on lap four, Segrave on lap six and Morel on lap seven. Before the first quarter of the race had come to an end, only six cars were left racing on this long track. Despite being a boring race, after the rain showers stopped Costantini drove at ever increasing pace, pulling continuously away from his rivals and finishing over 16 minutes ahead of his teammate Goux with Wagner (Delage) third who had been relieved by Benoist. Minoia in the third works Bugatti finished fourth ahead of the independent driver Ferry in a 2000 Bugatti who was relieved by Ivanowsky and trailed seven laps behind. Williams in an independent Bugatti had retired after 29 laps.
The Real Automóvil Club de Guipúzcoa organized the Gran Premio de España for formula libre racecars on July 25. This race followed a week after the European Grand Prix held on the same 17.315 km Lasarte circuit, south of the Atlantic seaside resort of San Sebastian. The course had to be lapped 40 times, a total of 692.600 km. It was a genuine natural road circuit, winding counterclockwise through the foothills of the Pyrenees with some parts in poor condition. At the start and finish, between the villages of Lasarte and Oria, there were tram lines. The circuit then led through Andoain after 5 km, Urnieta at half distance, Hernani after 11 km, and Lasarte only 1.3 km before the start and finish. The banking of many corners had been improved, resulting in faster lap times. On the straights beginning after km 5 up to km 10.7, there were several opportunities to go full throttle.
      The winner would receive the trophy of the Spanish Prince Asturias and 30,000 Pesetas. The driver in second place received 10,000, third 5,000, fourth 4,000 and fifth 3,000. A prize of 1,000 pesetas was awarded for the fastest lap and each driver taking the start received 500 pesetas.
Entries:
From the 30 entries only ten cars appeared for the race: six Bugattis, three Delages and one Sunbeam. Delage appeared with the same driver team as the week before at the European Grand Prix, namely Wagner, Benoist and Morel. Since it was a free formula race the Delages were V-12 supercharged 2-liter type in which they had won the 1925 San Sebastian Grand Prix and which had last raced three months earlier at the Targa Florio.
      Bugatti entered three of the previous year's unblown 2-liter Grand Prix cars for Costantini, Goux and Minoia. Two independently entered Targa Florio type Bugattis probably from 1926 with 2300 engines were driven by Williams and de Buck while Jules Ferry drove an unblown 2-liter Grand Prix Bugatti and used Boris Ivanowsky as reserve driver. The Targa Florio Bugattis, despite their greater displacement, seemed somewhat slower than the 2-liter works cars which perhaps were refined by the factory, something that had not happened to the Targa Bugattis as they were private entries.
      The 4-liter V-12 Sunbeam of Segrave was designed as a record car in 1925. At the March 16, 1926 Southport record runs it reached 245 km/h. At a later bench-test the V-12 reached 299 hp. The next outing was the July Spanish Grand Prix where the Sunbeam was the fastest car.
      The #4 Béquet Spéciale of Maurice Béquet was driven during practice by wealthy Roland Coty, but did not pass scrutineering and was eliminated due to a weight problem. The Special car used a 1923 Delage chassis mated by Béquet to a V8 Hispano Suiza aircraft engine of 12 liters (actually 120 x 130 mm with 11.76 L capacity). It weighed only 980 kg or 520 kg less than the minimum limit imposed by the International Regulation for racing cars over 8 liters which had to weigh 1500 kg. Ballast was prohibited as the weight was restricted to construction elements. Such absurdities must be accepted when common sense does not prevail.
      The Jean Graf car did not take part in the race. During practice Jean Graf drove into a tree and broke the rear axle of his car which prevented him from starting.
Race:
The attendance in the grandstand was less than on the day of the European Grand Prix but large crowds gathered all around the circuit. It was not a particularly hot day and an overcast sky suggested that it was going to rain. The public was informed by loudspeakers installed in front of the grandstand. The royal family was again present with King Alphonso XIII of Spain and the Queen. The cars were pushed from their pits to the starting area where officials supervised the ten drivers lining up.
Pole Position
3
Segrave

Sunbeam

5
Costantini

Bugatti

6
Benoist

Delage

15
Goux

Bugatti

16
Morel

Delage

23
Minoia

Bugatti

24
Wagner

Delage

28
Williams

Bugatti

23
de Buck

Bugatti

30
Ferry

Bugatti

At the flying start at 10:00 AM, Benoist with the Delage immediately took the lead, followed by Segrave's Sunbeam and Costantini, but after a few hundred meters the powerful Sunbeam sped to the front with Williams at the end of the field. After the first lap Segrave was leading after 8m02.2s at 129.323 km/h, 200 meters ahead of Benoist.
1.Segrave (Sunbeam)
2.Benoist (Delage)
3.Wagner (Delage)
4.Morel (Delage)
5.Costantini (Bugatti)
6.Minoia (Bugatti)
7.Williams (Bugatti)
8.De Buck (Bugatti)
9.Goux (Bugatti)
10.Ferry (Bugatti)

On lap two Segrave was still in first place followed by Benoist who had closed up with a lap of 7m57.8s at 130.405 km/h average, then Wagner, Morel and Costantini, while Goux stopped to replace plugs in 2m09s and restarted in last place. De Buck stopped his Targa type Bugatti at Urnieta, half way round the circuit, having skidded in a turn when he hit the palisade and twisted the steering rod. After the third lap the order was Segrave, Morel who had passed Wagner, Costantini and Benoist who was heading for the pits, Minoia, Williams, Ferry and Goux. It was announced that de Buck had stopped at the pits to retire. Up to the fourth lap the race average was 130 km/h but then strong rain began and the average speed dropped momentarily to 99 km/h.
      At the beginning of lap four Benoist remained for nine minutes in the pits working on the ignition system and changing eight spark plugs. At the end of the fourth lap Morel had passed Segrave who was now 300 meters behind, but ahead of Wagner third and Costantini fourth very close. Minoia was at a distance and just as he passed the grandstand, Benoist resumed the race after his pit stop. On lap five Benoist returned to the pits to retire but kept working on his car until the race had advanced to lap eight. Goux was experiencing brake problems which were later corrected. Morel held the lead at 123.678 km/h average with the field in the following order after 5 laps:
1.Morel (Delage)40m24s
2.Segrave (Sunbeam)40m30s
3.Wagner (Delage)40m35s
4.Costantini (Bugatti)40m44s
5.Minoia (Bugatti)42m03s
6.Williams (Bugatti)42m56s
7.Ferry (Bugatti)46m20s
8.Goux (Bugatti)46m29s

On the sixth lap the first two cars that passed the grandstand were the Delages of Morel and Wagner but Segrave was missing. It was announced that he had stopped at kilometer 6 with a broken front axle without serious injury to the driver. It had broken in the center while doing 145 km/h and when the front end collapsed, the sump of the engine held the car upright. Segrave appeared later on a motorcycle in front of the grandstand. The field was now down to six cars. After Morel retired the Delage on lap seven, Wagner's Delage took the lead followed closely by Costantini, Williams and Minoia. On lap eight Wagner, who continued in first place, lapped at 114 km/h per hour. It continued drizzling and the average speed remained low because the roads were slippery. On the ninth lap Goux caught up with Ferry and Minoia and passed them for fourth place on the tenth lap. At the end of lap 10 Wagner continued in first place, with Costantini holding second position, 20 seconds behind. Wagner's average lap time during the last five laps was 9m34s. He held the lead at 117.289 km/h average speed with the field down to six cars in the following order after 10 laps:
1.Wagner (Delage)1h28m28s
2.Costantini (Bugatti)1h28m48s
3.Williams (Bugatti)1h36m11s
4.Goux (Bugatti)1h36m29s
5.Minoia (Bugatti)1h36m39s
6.Ferry (Bugatti)1h36m43s

After 11 laps Wagner was still in the lead, but Costantini in second place started pushing harder while Goux passed Williams and gained third place. On lap 12, Wagner and Costantini both managed to lap Ferry and Minoia who were in the last places.
      Only now was it officially announced that the cars of Benoist and Morel had retired due to valves and spark plug difficulties, leaving Wagner in the only Delage who was now leading the race. Wagner had to fend off hard attacks from Costantini, who was reducing Wagner's advantage. On lap 13, Costantini managed to pass Wagner's Delage with an ovation from the public. Minoia who was having difficulties with his brakes remained in second to last place. On lap 15 the rain stopped, the roads dried and the pace increased again. Costantini managed to cover the lap in 7m53.8s at an average of 131.506 km/h which was a new record with Wagner second, 18 seconds behind. Goux in third place was driving very fast to make up lost time. Ferry stopped at the pits for 3m50s to refuel and was relieved by Boris Ivanowsky. Costantini's average lap time during the last five laps was 8m23s and he held the lead at 119.413 km/h average speed with the field in the following order after 15 laps:
1.Costantini (Bugatti)2h10m40s
2.Wagner (Delage)2h10m58s
3.Goux (Bugatti)2h18m58s
4.Williams (Bugatti)2h19m47s1 lap behind
5.Minoia (Bugatti)2h21m52s1 lap behind
6.Ferry/Ivanowsky (Bugatti)2h24m43s1 lap behind

On lap 16 Costantini continued to increase his pace beating the lap record again with a time of 7m44.8s the equivalent of 134.50 km/h per hour. He continued his fast pace on lap 17 and went even faster in 7m42.4s and on lap 18 in 7m41.6s at an average of 135 km/h, his final lap record. At the beginning of lap 18 Wagner stopped for two minutes at the Delage pits to add water and was relieved by Benoist. On lap 20 Costantini stopped for the first time to refuel, which the mechanic performed in 1m19s, earning an ovation from the crowd in the grandstand. On the same lap, Benoist stopped with Wagner's Delage to replace spark plugs. Costantini covered the first 20 laps in 2h49m13s at 122.704 km/h, Benoist followed seven minutes behind. Goux was in third position, 4 minutes behind Benoist and was one lap down. Williams was fourth, followed by Minoia and Ivanowsky in Ferry's Bugatti, who had suffered two punctures and was delayed by 8 laps. Costantini's average lap time during the last five laps was 7m43s. He led the six car field in the following order after 20 laps:
1.Costantini (Bugatti)2h49m13s
2.Wagner/Benoist (Delage)2h56m47s
3.Goux (Bugatti)3h00m16s1 lap behind
4.Williams (Bugatti)3h01m25s1 lap behind
5.Minoia (Bugatti)3h02m31s1 lap behind
6.Ferry/Ivanowsky (Bugatti)3h55m04s8 laps behind

On lap 21 Benoist in Wagner's Delage stopped at the pits to change spark plugs, which took 8m47s. Costantini also stopped very briefly at the end of that lap to replace a hood strap, then took off quickly. It rained again and the speed of most drivers slowed as the race average dropped on lap 22 to 118 km/h. Ivanowsky in Ferry's Bugatti had stopped at the pits on his 17th lap. The order remained the same and after 25 laps Costantini was leading Benoist in Wagner's Delage by 7m55s, followed by Goux, Williams and Minoia one lap down, and Ivanosky seven laps in arrears. Costantini's average lap time during the last five laps had increased to 9m15s due to the rain and he led at an average race speed of 120.568 km/h after 25 laps:
1.Costantini (Bugatti)3h35m27s
2.Wagner/Benoist (Delage)3h43m22s
3.Goux (Bugatti)3h48m06s1 lap behind
4.Williams (Bugatti)3h51m04s1 lap behind
5.Minoia (Bugatti)3h53m01s1 lap behind
6.Ferry/Ivanowsky (Bugatti)4h45m37s7 laps behind

On lap 27, Costantini lapped Benoist in Wagner's Delage, continuing his magnificent drive. At the end of lap 29, Williams stopped at the pits and after close examination he retired his Bugatti. He made an excellent two-thirds of the race and was forced to retire due to difficulties with the valves and driver fatigue, suffering from punctures and plug problems. The race was now down to five cars. On lap 30 Costantini had increased his advantage over Benoist to 10m13s, already one lap behind. Costantini's average lap time during the last five laps was 8m13s and he led at an average race speed of 121.2 km/h after 30 laps:
1.Costantini (Bugatti)4h16m41s
2.Wagner/Benoist (Delage)4h26m54s1 lap behind
3.Goux (Bugatti)4h29m46s1 lap behind
4.Minoia (Bugatti)4h36m00s2 laps behind
5.Ferry/Ivanowsky (Bugatti)5h34m15s9 laps behind

Sometime between lap 31 and lap 35 Goux broke his gearlever but continued his race going very fast past the grandstand. Another source claimed it was his handbrake lever and Goux had to drive the last third of the race using only his foot brake. Goux and Benoist stopped on lap 35 at the pits to refuel for the last time. Goux was in second position and the mechanic took 1m59s to perform the refueling. Costantini increased his lead over Goux in second place to 14m16s while Benoist had dropped to third place. Costantini's average lap time during the last five laps had improved to 7m56s. Costantini led at an increased average race speed of 122.704 km/h when the order was as follows after 35 laps:
1.Costantini (Bugatti)4h56m20s
2.Goux (Bugatti)5h10m36s1 lap behind
3.Wagner/Benoist (Delage)5h11m29s1 lap behind
4.Minoia (Bugatti) 5h16m52s2 laps behind
5.Ferry/Ivanowsky (Bugatti)

Costantini continued magnificently during the last few laps. When he finished his 40th lap, Goux who was in second place finished his 39th lap, as did Benoist in Wagner's Delage who was third. Minoia completed his 38th lap but all three carried on driving to complete the full distance of 40 laps. Ivanowsky in Ferry's Bugatti, which suffered from preparation deficiencies, was stopped by the officials with only 33 laps completed. At the end of the race King Alphonso XIII of Spain congratulated the admired winner, the great Meo Costantini, who received the trophy of the Spanish Prince Asturias and 30,000 pesetas. Costantini had also driven the fastest lap at 135 km/h which was worth 10,000 pesetas. Goux finished second and received 10,000, followed by Wagner/Benoist in third place with 5,000 and Minoia in fourth place who received 4,000 pesetas.
      Daniel Cabart in the DELAGE book referred to Le Chauffeur Français of August 1926, "the prize giving at the San Sebastian meeting was marked by several incidents. Mr. Bugatti had indeed refused the cup that his marque had won in the Grand Prix of Spain because he was not rewarded the cup for the Grand Prix of Europe at the same time, because of the protest tabled by Delage following the disqualification of the latter. Some unpleasant remarks passed between the manufacturer and representatives of the Royal A.C. of Spain and, at a banquet that concluded the meeting, we noticed that neither Bugatti nor Delage was present."

Results

Pos.No.DriverEntrantCarTypeEngineLapsTime/Status

1.5Bartolomeo CostantiniAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT352.0S-8405h35m47s
2.15Jules GouxAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT352.0S-8405h52m15s+ 16m28s
3.24L. Wagner/R. BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-12405h56m57s+ 21m10s
4.23Ferdinando MinoiaAutomobiles Ettore BugattiBugattiT352.0S-8405h57m26s+ 21m39s
DNF30Jules Ferry/B.IvanowskyJ. FerryBugattiT352.0S-8336h03m32sflagged
DNF28"Williams"William Grover WilliamsBugattiT35T2.3S-829valves
DNF16André MorelAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-126valves
DNF3Henry SegraveMajor H.O.D. SegraveSunbeams/c4.0V-125front axle
DNF6Robert BenoistAutomobiles DelageDelage2LCV2.0V-124valves, ignition
DNF29René de BuckR. de BuckBugattiT35T2.3S-82bent steering bar
Fastest lap: B. Costantini (Bugatti) on lap 18 in 7m41.6s = 135.0 km/h (83.9 mph).
Winner's average speed: 123.8 km/h (76.9 mph).
Weather: Overcast, warm, intermittent rain.
In retrospect:
L'Auto reported a wrong race distance of 708 km, which was the reason for their wrong speed figures, which were copied by Omnia who published the same mistakes. Their intermediate times differed regularly by seconds.

The intermediate times showed a distinct difference between the French and the Spanish sources. We decided to rely on the Spanish reports since they were more complete with less error. The intermediate and final classification times published often deviated. We hope to have selected the correct times.

Henry Segrave in his memoirs The Lure of Speed wrote,"One would scarcely describe the 4-litre Sunbeam as an ideal vehicle for fast road work on a course abounding with corners. But in point of fact it handled moderately well, and there was no car in the race that could look at it for speed or acceleration. In these circumstances we had no difficulty in leading the field from the start.
      "But I was not to go very far. Coming past some Grand Stands on the sixth lap I saw the spectators were behaving in a most unusual manner. They were shouting and waving and pointing, and I realized that something must be wrong with the car. I noticed at the moment that there was something odd about the look of the near-side front wheel. It appeared to be tilting inwards. This, in fact, was exactly what it was doing, and the other wheel was following suit.
      "I had been travelling fairly fast, but instantly slowed down. But whilst I was still moving at about 90 miles per hour [145 km/h] the front axle broke in two, the wheels folded in against the bonnet [hood], and the engine sat down on its sump on the road and tore up a hundred yards of it. By the grace of God the car kept its course perfectly, although it was absolutely unsteerable, and I came to no harm at all, except that when the car sat down on the engine I was flung forward on to the steering wheel and nearly knocked out.
      "I had amazing luck, because the axle broke almost exactly in the middle. Had it broken on either side, the car would have turned over on that side, but breaking where it did, the ends of the axle dug into the road and helped to bring the car to a standstill in a very short distance."

Primary sources researched for this article:
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Berlin
Allgemeine Automobil-Zeitung, Wien
AUTOMOBIL-REVUE, Bern
Automobil-Welt, Berlin
El Mundo Deportivo, Barcelona
La Vie Automobile, Paris
L'AUTO, Paris
Madrid Automovil, Madrid
MOTOR, Berlin
Omnia, Paris
Special thanks to:
Angel Elberdin Circuito de Lasarte, Kutxa fundación, Bilbao, 1998



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© 2019 Leif Snellman, Hans Etzrodt - Last updated: 13.01.2019