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Although blessed with talent, looks and wealth, Guy Bouriat would never realise his potential. His father was a horse breeder from Le Mans and the younger Bouriat soon raced in that town’s already famous 24-hour race. He drove an EHP in 1926 and was fifth with Pierre Bussienne a year later. They also won their class in the 1927 San Sebastian 12 Hours.
Grand Prix debut
By the end of the decade, Bouriat worked as an agent for Bugatti in Paris and had Grand Prix ambitions. The Count’s T35 was seventh in the 1928 Italian GP – the car co-owned with friend and client “Georges Philippe” (Baron Philippe de Rothschild). They started 1929 as a private team, finishing first and second in the Bourgogne GP near Dijon (Bouriat just 0.2sec behind at the flag) and fifth when sharing a Stutz at Le Mans.
Works Bugatti driver
A month later both had joined the works Bugatti team. Bouriat finished fourth in the German GP (run to loose sports car rules) before they shared second place at San Sebastian. Bouriat was third in the 1930 Monaco GP and all-but won in Belgium. Leading on the last lap, he stopped before the line to allow delayed team leader Louis Chiron to win much to the displeasure of the crowd.
Bouriat led the opening lap of that year’s French GP, run on a 10-mile course outside Pau, and diced with team-mate “W.Williams” in the early stages. Bouriat handed his car over to Chiron at a pitstop but the race was lost when their oil pressure fell. His place as a nearly man of the sport continued in 1931 when fourth in Monaco and third in Italy.
1933 Picardy Grand Prix
Bugatti signed René Dreyfus and Achille Varzi for 1933 and Bouriat drove a private T51 to finish fifth in the opening race of the year at Pau. His next race was the Picardy GP at Péronne where he battled Philippe Etancelin’s Alfa Romeo for the lead. When they came to lap Julio Villars’ tardy Alfa Romeo, Etancelin went past with ease but Bouriat clipped the backmarker at approximately 120mph. His car was launched into a tree and burst into flames with Bouriat killed on impact.