An eclectic driver like many of its counterparts in the 1960s, Roger de Lageneste - who passed away on October 14th at the age of 88 - made his mark on both rally and circuit racing, participating namely in the 24 Hours of Le Mans six times between 1959 and 1967, four with the French marque Alpine.
A member of the Peugeot family, Roger de Lageneste debuted in motorsport in 1956 by competing at the Mille Miglia at the wheel of a Peugeot 203. Then he took on a 403 in 1957, the year of his triumph at the Tour de Corse, officially as Michel Nicol's co-driver (though he was in fact the driver!) with an Alfa Romeo, the constructor with which he won the French Rally Champion title in 1960.
All while pursuing rally racing (he won the now-defunct ACO rally in 1964) and participating in long races such as Liège-Rome-Liège and the Alpine Rally, Roger de Lageneste became an official Abarth driver, then joined Alpine.
It was with Alpine that the French driver took the start at the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times, and with which he achieved his best results at Le Mans, including the top spot of the prestigious energy efficiency index. He first won it in 1964 along with Henry Morrogh (17th overall), the founder of a string of well-known driving schools in Europe, with an official M64 - winner in its class at the 1964 12 Hours of Reims that sold at auction last year - then in 1966 along with Jacques Cheinisse (11th overall), who later became the head of the sporting branch of the marque created by Jean Rédélé, with an A210 entered under the banner of Écurie Savin-Calberson.
Between the two editions, in June of 1965, Roger de Lageneste beat a dozen world records sanctioned by the FIA (with four other drivers) at the Linas-Montlhéry circuit at the wheel of a Peugeot 404 coupe that now reigns at the French marque's museum in Sochaux.
Roger de Lageneste has joined one of his former co-drivers, Henri "Titi" Greder (later a driver namely at the 24 Hours of Le Mans), who passed away in 2012. The Automobile Club de l'Ouest expresses its sincerest condolences to Roger de Lageneste's family and loved ones.
PHOTO (Copyright - Archives/ACO): The Ecurie Savin-Calberson team's #44 Alpine A210 that won the energy efficiency index at the 1966 24 Hours of Le Mans thanks to Roger de Lageneste and Jacques Cheinisse.