28/2/1914 - 25/5/1995
French Formula One driver for OSCA and Gordini, he also drove sports cars. He was badly injured in practice for Le Man in 1955 and retired at the end of 1956. Elie Bayol died 27 years ago, he was 81
Élie Marcel Bayol was born in Marseille and started racing quite late in life in a Deutsch and Bonnet DB-Panhard in Formula 2 and hillclimbs around France in the early 1950s. In 1950 he drove at the le Mans for Automobiles Deutch et Bonnet in the D.B. Tank Panhard with René Bonnet finishing 23rd overall and 3rd in class.
He drove a 750 cc DB-Panhard during the 1951 season already 31 years old, with a best finish of fourth at the Circuit de Cadours. At Le Mans he again drove with René Bonnet finishing 21st overall and 2nd in class
In 1952 he ordered one of the latest OSCA F2 cars built by the Maserati Brothers. But, as it was not delivered until August, he had to start the season with a stripped down OSCA MT4 sports car which he drove to good effect, finishing fourth at Pau, fifth at Marseille and sixth in the Circuit du Lac. In August, with the new OSCA 20, he was disqualified for starting from the pit lane in the Grand Prix de Comminges. Then then came 7th in the Grand Prix de la Baule. He finished 13th overall in the Grands Prix de France Championship final standings with 5 points. He finished the season with a 6th at the Grand Prix at Modena in September. He took part in one World Championship Grand Prix, the Italian, qualifying 10th but going out on the first lap with gearbox trouble. At Le Mans with René Bonnet he failed to finish
He raced the OSCA 20 F2 car during the 1953 season, the highlight of which was an aggregate win in the Circuit du Lac at Aix-les-Bains. A fine win against the likes of Behra, Lance Macklin, Peter Collins, Harry Schell, Trintignant and de Graffenried. He was fourth again at Pau and took pole at Albi. He also qualified for the French GP at Reims and the Italian Grand Prix at Monza that year but failed to finish either. At Le Mans he drove a Talbot Lago T26GC with Louis Rosier but they went out with gearbox problems.
Accepting an invitation to join the Gordini team for 1954 partnering Jean Behra, Bayol made a fine debut, taking two ponts for a fifth place in the Argentine GP in a Gordini 16. He followed this with fourth at Pau and fifth at Bordeaux, both non-championship races, where he so upset Amedee Gordini by ignoring repeated signals to pit and hand his car over to team leader Jean Behra that he was fired.
He finished 10th at Le Mans that year back driving for Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet in a D.B. HBR Panhard with René Bonnet.
Having been forgived bu Gordini he rejoined the team for 1955. He failed to finish at Pau when the engine went in his Gordini T16 (16-0035). The same thing happened at the Grand Prix de Bordeaux and at Albi in May he suffered rear axle failure. His season was then prematurly curtailed after he sustained serious head injuries when he crashed the latest 3-litre Gordini in practice at Le Mans.
Thankfully he made a full recovery and briefly reappeared on the circuits the following year, 1956. He finished sixth at Monaco, sharing the car with Andre Pilette. In sports cars, at the 1000 km de Paris at Montlhéry driving a 2 litre Gordini T15S with Nano da Silva Ramos they had an accident and failed to finish. In the Reims 12 Hours sports car they finished 6th.
At the end of the year, at 42 years of age, he retired. He died in 1995 in La Ciotat, France.