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The son of a guest house owner and trained as a mechanic, Jean Trémoulet moved from his native Dordogne to the outskirts of Paris where he met Eugène Chaboud in 1936. A racing bond was formed and within two years these friends tasted victory in France’s greatest endurance race.
Debut in the Le Mans 24 Hours
They started Le Mans together for the first time in 1937 but Trémoulet was eliminated in a frightening six-car accident at Maison Blanche just eight laps into the 24 hours. His Delahaye came on the wreckage of René Kippeurt’s Bugatti and Pat Fairfield’s Frazer-Nash and hit the latter. He survived rolling 100 metres into the nearby fields but both Kippeurt and Fairfield died from the injuries they had sustained.
Trémoulet lost part of his right ear in the carnage but was fit enough to finish sixth in the French Grand Prix (a sports car race that year) just two weeks later when sharing a Delahaye with Chaboud once more.
Victory at Le Mans
They returned for the 1938 Le Mans 24 Hours and inherited victory when Raymond Sommer’s Alfa Romeo retired after 18 hours when comfortably in the lead. He drove the government-funded SEFAC at Pau in 1939 but ran out of fuel after 35 laps in its final unhappy outing.
Trémoulet joined the French Resistance during World War II and returned to his native Dordogne. He was killed in a motorcycle accident when on duty for the fourth regiment of the Francs-Tireurs et Partisans Français.
The road in which he had lived in the Paris suburb of Ivry-sur-Seine was renamed Rue Jean Trémoulet on July 27 1945.