Our new database page will launch shortly.
Louis Rigal was already 34 years old when he followed his older brother and started racing. That was in 1921 when he drove a Panhard in local hillclimbs and rallies a year before he acquired an Ariès with which he became a regular in the continent’s sports car events. It was for that marque that Rigal raced at Le Mans in 1924 and 1925 – finishing 13th on his debut.
Endurance racing success for Peugeot
He joined Peugeot for 1926 and partnered André Boillot in that year’s major endurance races. Their Peugeot 174S was running second in the Le Mans 24 Hours when they were disqualified due to a broken windscreen mounting. However, they enjoyed better luck at Spa-Francorchamps a month later by cruising to victory having eased up during the final four hours. 1926 ended with a Peugeot 1-2 in Monza’s 24-hour touring car race with Boillot and Tattini leading home Rigal/Serre’s similar car.
After a couple of minor sports car victories at the start of 1927 he returned to Ariès for the 1928 Le Mans 24 Hours and French Grand Prix (a sports car race that year) – retiring from both.
Brief single-seater foray
Rigal made a rare foray into single-seater racing when he bought an Alfa Romeo 6C-1750 for the 1929 season. He finished second at Cap d’Antibes and ninth and last in the inaugural Monaco GP. With the car converted to sports car trim and with Freddy Zehender as co-driver, Rigal finished third in that year’s Spa 24 Hours and won a 12-hour event at San Sebastian.
His third and final appearance in a Grande Epreuve was in the 1931 French GP – a 10-hour race at Montlhéry in which he shared René Ferrant’s ninth-placed Peugeot 174S. He returned to Le Mans for the last two races of his career in 1937 and 1938, driving a Peugeot DS402 on both occasions. His 10th-place finish in 1937 was both a rare finish on the Circuit de la Sarthe and his best result in seven attempts.