Jules Goux

Full Name:
Jules Eugene Goux
Born:
6th April 1885
Valentigney, Franche-Comte
Died:
6th March 1965 (Aged 79)
Mirmande, Rhone-Alpes
Nationality:
French
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

When Jules Goux became the first foreigner to win the Indianapolis 500 in 1913, the locals claimed his liberal consumption of champagne during pitstops had aided victory. It is a legend that may have been exaggerated over time but is an enduring story of France’s first victory at the Brickyard. He was also a Grand Prix star of the 1920s and yet Jules Goux remains less well-known than his record warrants.

Family background and early racing career

His father Eugène was a manager at Peugeot’s bicycle plant and Jules Goux, who had trained as an engineer, joined the company in 1903 as a draughtsman. Fascinated by all things mechanical, he then became a test driver and soon made his competitive debut.

Goux drove a Lion-Peugeot in the major voiturette races of the 1900s and finished third in the Coupe des Voiturettes in 1907 and 1908 as well as the GP des Voiturettes that latter year. He then scored successive Catalan Cup victories on the roads around Sitges in 1909 and 1910.

His GP debut at Dieppe in 1912 was in the first French GP for four years. Goux’s Peugeot L76 ran third but was disqualified for refuelling away from the pits after a leak. He won that year’s Coupe de la Sarthe at Le Mans against a field mainly consisting of voiturettes.

Winner of the Indianapolis 500

Peugeot entered Goux and an L76 for the 1913 Indianapolis 500 but he caused controversy before the race when reported to have said that "the American drivers were not good enough to drive taxis in Paris." He vehemently denied the quote and proved his worth on raceday. The Frenchman took the lead on the fourth lap and was always in the hunt before winning by a record margin of over 13 minutes. A success perhaps helped as the wine flowed during his six pitstops.

Goux returned to Europe to finish second in the 1913 French GP and was then fourth in both the Indy 500 and French GP of 1914. Goux served in the French artillery as a lieutenant during World War I and was wounded at Belfort in 1915.

Grand Prix success

He resumed his racing career after the conflict and finished third in the 1919 Indy 500 when driving a Peugeot entered by the Speedway itself. The marque had withdrawn from the sport so he joined Ballot as GP racing restarted in 1921. Third in the French GP, Goux then scored a maiden such victory in the inaugural Italian GP at Brescia after the Fiats all hit problems.

The Frenchman lost a heroic battle for the 1922 Targa Florio when Giulio Masetti’s Mercedes passed his battered and brakeless Ballot near the end. That was the start of three fallow years for Goux before he moved to Bugatti in 1925. Europe was ravaged by economic depression at the time and just three cars (all Bugattis) started the 1926 French GP. Goux was the only classified finisher but a GP winner again nonetheless.

There was more opposition in Spain that July when Lasarte hosted its speed week. Festivities began with the European GP and the Formule Libre Spanish GP ended seven days of sport. Goux won the former after team-mate Meo Costantini had been delayed and finished second in the latter as Costantini gained his revenge in the rain.

He was named 1926 French Champion in what was Goux’s last full season. He continued to work for Bugatti and then Peugeot until 1954. A talented and charming man, he was part of motor racing’s first "superteam" with Paulo Zuccarelli and Georges Boillot. They, and the design prowess of Ernest Henry, made Peugeot great.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1926 World Championship
Usines Bugatti
4 0 3 2
50% win rate
0
1925 World Championship
Usines Bugatti
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1922 AAA National Championship
Jules Goux
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1920 AAA National Championship
Jules Goux
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1919 AAA National Championship
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
270
1914 AAA National Championship
Automobiles et Cycles Peugeot
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
140
1913 AAA National Championship
Automobiles et Cycles Peugeot
1 0 1 1
100% win rate
1000