This is Louis Chiron, driving a Talbot T26C grand prix car and braking for the tight corner in the center of picturesque Gueux village on the old version of the Reims circuit, as used up to 1952. As originally configured, the circuit of Reims-Gueux, as it was then known, used public roads and had a long straight past the pits and grandstand which continued on into the center of the village of Gueux where there was a sharp right hand corner. In 1952 the circuit was re-designed to avoid Gueux, thereby substantially raising its average lap speed to better compete with Spa-Francorchamps and Monza, and the turn in the village was replaced by a sweeping right hand bend shortly after the pits.
The race above was the XVI Grand Prix de Reims which took place on July 6, 1947. Chiron’s Talbot, powered by a normally-aspirated 4.5-liter straight 6-cylinder motor, was no match in speed versus the supercharged Maserati 4CLs but was rather more reliable in these early postwar races. Indeed, most of the Maseratis retired except for one driven by prewar Auto-Union driver Christian Kautz which won with Chiron’s Talbot second.
Louis Chiron lived in Monaco where he had been born and raced in numerous Grand Prix events between the World Wars. After the second war he continued competing at the premier level, both in Grand Prix and sports car races, including driving a Lancia D50 in the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix at the age of 56. After his retirement, he continued to play an active role in the management of the Monaco Grand Prix, often as chief steward, and can be seen waving the checkered flag there well into the 1960s.
This photograph is an example of what Klemantaski called shooting contre jour, that being against the light of the sun which often gave unusual and dynamic lighting effects as can be seen here.
Photo by Louis Klemantaski © The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com