This former cycling champion drove in the 1937 Liège-Rome-Liège Rally before making his motor racing debut at Le Mans two years later. His new-found hobby would have to wait until after service with the French Army in North Africa during World War II.
Post-war racing career
He bought a Maserati 6CM during the war and Louveau entered Europe’s first post-war race meeting in the Bois de Boulogne on September 9 1945. Victory in the 2000cc Coupe de la Libération suddenly gave the previously little-known Parisian a public profile.
Buoyed by his success, Louveau undertook a full season of French races in 1946. Second at St Etienne, Perpignan and Albi, he shared victory in the Circuit des Trois Villes at Marcq-en-Baroeul. Louveau retired early that day but took over Raymond Sommer’s leading Maserati 8CL and maintained a comfortable advantage to the finish.
Grands Prix and success in sports cars
Louveau drove a Delage D6-3L in the Swiss, Belgian and Italian Grands Prix during 1947 and finished sixth in the latter. He also made a one-off appearance in Enrico Platé’s Maserati 4CL in the French GP at Lyons. Fastest in practice against a largely local field, Louveau finished second in the race when beaten by Louis Chiron’s Lago-Talbot.
Racing less in single-seaters as the decade progressed, Louveau was successful in sports cars – second in the Paris 12 Hours and winner of the Coupe du Salon during 1948. He almost won the first post-war Le Mans 24 Hours a year later for his Delage closed on Luigi Chinetti’s Ferrari in the final stages. However, he fell just short of overhauling the sick car and Louveau had to be satisfied with second overall and victory in the 3000cc class. He was also second in the Spa 24 Hours and third at Pescara that year.
Formula 1 with Louis Rosier
He continued his limited schedule in 1950 when seventh at Le Mans and invited by Louis Rosier to drive a Lago-Talbot T26C-GS in three Formula 1 races. He retired from the Italian GP and was also unplaced in the non-championship races at Pescara and Barcelona.
Continuing with Rosier in 1951, he emerged unscathed after crashing heavily at Pau but he was not so lucky during the opening world championship round of the year. Louveau hit a lamp post during the Swiss GP at Bremgarten and broke his leg, injured a shoulder and suffered concussion.
He decided that enough was enough and retired from racing to run the Paris garage he had established in 1949, expanding into the car rental business later in life.