Annie Bousquet

Date of birth : April 13 1923
Deceased :  June 30 1956

Biography Annie Bousquet

Annie Bousquet was born in Australie but became famous as a female French driver, competing in both rally and circuit races. Her racing career started in 1953 in a Renault 4CV, and her talents became clear very soon, beating many of the more experienced male drivers. After a stay in hospital to recover from an accident, she took the chance to drive a Porsche 550 Spyder in the Tour de France, to finish 8th overall and 2nd in the “Coupe des Dames”, finishing just after the Belgian female driver Gilberte Thirion in a Porsche 356.

Annie Bousquet & Gilberthe Thirion
Annie Bousquet & Gilberthe Thirion

Josef Jeser, who raced Porsche 550-016 at the time, allowed her to co-drive the car in Paris. Huschke von Hanstein, race director at Porsche, who was a very close friend to Annie Bousquet, asked this favor to Josef Jeser in trade with a major support by Porsche for Jeser’s participation in the Le Mans 24h. Despite only having driven a few hours in Monthléry with the Porsche 550 Spyder, Bousquet seemed to have loved the ride.  She acquired her personal Porsche 550 Spyder, 550-043.  In 1956 she signed with Triumph to end 4th in class in the Mille Miglia. In june 1956 in June 1956, she raced at the 1000 Kms of Paris at Montlhéry in the Maserati 150S of Alejandro De Tomaso.

After she crashed the car in a speed record attempt at Monthléry, the car was sent back to Zuffenhausen to have it repaired and slightly modificated. She was to compete in the 12h of Reimes, sharing the Porsche 550 Spyder with USA citizen Isabel Haskell. It is believed so drove the Porsche 550 Spyder directly from Zuffenhausen to Reims to be in time for the race. She hadn’t slept properly for 1 or 2 nights. Despite her fatigue, she started the race herself.
In the 17th lap however, at a speed of nearly 170km/h, she got of the race track and the spyder fishtailed and barrel-rolled. Bousquet was thrown out of the car.  She was taken to the hospital in Reims, where she died from her injuries.   Richard von Frankenberg, winner of the race with Claude Storez, believed that her accident was due to the fatigue brought on from the previous days of getting her car in order.

This accident triggered the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizers of the Le Mans 24 Hour race, to ban female drivers from competing. A decision that’s only revoked several years later, in 1971.