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The French Grand Prix returned to the calendar in 1912 after a four year absence. The Automobile Club de France introduced a formula with maximum cockpit width as its main limitation. The race was held at Dieppe once more and was run concurrently with the Coupe des Voiturettes for smaller, up to 3000cc cars.
This was a famous home victory with Peugeot’s Georges Boillot scoring the first of successive wins in the race – victories that made him the pride of France. The engine of the Ernest Henry-designed Peugeot L76 was a mere 7600cc – half the capacity of the rival Fiats.
Fiat had been pre-race favourites and David Bruce-Brown travelled from America and starred once more. He led the field at the end of the first day of competition but his challenge was ended by hitting a stray dog. That burst his fuel tank and Bruce-Brown was disqualified for refuelling out on the circuit, elevating team-mate Louis Wagner to second at the finish.
Filling the minor placings were the Sunbeam voiturettes of Victor Rigal, Dario Resta and Emil Medinger who came third, fourth and fifth overall.
The year ended with Caleb Bragg’s Fiat winning the American GP on a road course at Milwaukee. However, it was a tragic event for the team. Bruce-Brown – the winner of the race for the last two years and a national hero – was killed during practice.