Death of Jean-Louis Trintignant: beyond cinema, the passion for motorsport

Jean-François Pérès, edited by Ophélie Artaud

The actor, who died on Friday at the age of 91, was passionate about motorsport. Nephew of driver Maurice Trintignant, he had participated in the Monte-Carlo rally, the 24 hours of Spa, and had even been close to death in a terrible car accident in 1980 during the 24 hours of Le Mans, while his vehicle was driving. over 300 kilometers per hour.

The image will remain: that of Jean-Louis Trintignant, who drives at full speed at the wheel of his Ford Mustang 184, in the film A man and a woman by Claude Lelouch. He played the role of a racing driver. But, beyond the character, motorsport was the second passion of the actor, who died this Friday at the age of 91. A passion he shared with his uncle, Maurice Trintignant, the first Frenchman to win a Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monte-Carlo in 1955.

“I thought I was going to kill myself”

Such a love for motorsport that the actor even interrupted his film career for two years, at the end of the 1970s, to devote himself to racing. Several times at the start of the Monte-Carlo rally, he also finished second in the 24 hours of Spa, in Belgium. In 1980, during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the actor emerged unscathed from a terrible car accident. While driving at more than 300 kilometers per hour, one of the vehicle’s tires exploded, in the middle of a straight line.

“I had a big car, a twin-turbo Porsche that was going 360 kilometers per hour. I thought I was going to kill myself,” Jean-Luc Trintignant told Frédéric Taddeï’s microphone on Europe 1 in 2008. “But I was lucky enough to take the rail six times from one side to the other, and then it stopped.”

A passion he also shared with Marianne Hoepfner, his last wife, herself a racing driver. Both of them had run the Monte-Carlo rally in the early 80s. It was she who announced, somewhat symbolically, the death of the actor this Friday afternoon.

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