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Robert Brunet was a “bon vivant” who enjoyed the company of glamorous women and his life as a Grand Prix driver. Marriage to the Countess de Choisel in 1926 gave him the key to his chosen lifestyle. He had wealth.
Grand Prix privateer
Racing regularly from 1933, his senior debut was in that year’s snow-affected Pau GP where he crashed his Bugatti T35B. He returned in Tunis having bought Jean-Pierre Wimille’s T51 although the injuries he had sustained at Pau forced him to retire. Another accident followed at Péronne but made his full GP debut by the end of the year when 10th in the Italian GP at Monza.
Brunet was third in the 1934 Picardie GP at Péronne before replacing his Bugatti T51 with an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 “Monza” with which he finished second in the GP de l’UMF at Montlhéry. His year ended with Brunet crashing Ecurie Braillard’s Maserati 8CM in the Spanish GP – he had his fair share of accidents.
Sports cars with Delahaye
Continuing with Louis Braillard’s 8CM in national events during 1935 without success, Brunet switched to sports cars in 1936 as French authorities boycotted GP rules to avoid continued defeat to the German teams. He finished third in the French GP in the Delahaye 135S he shared with Goffredo Zehender – losing second position due to a late fuel stop.
Brunet returned to racing after World War II and finished fifth in the 1949 Le Mans 24 Hours with Georges Grignard and a Delahaye 135S. That was his third and final start in the race, all of which had been in this type of car. Brunet had hoped to race a Lago-Talbot T26C in GPs after the war but poor business decisions and bankruptcy meant he could no longer finance the life of the privateer racing driver.
His goddaughter Michèle Dubosc was well-known in the 1960s and 1970s as Matra’s respected timekeeper.