Toulo de Graffenried
- May 18, 1914
- January 22, 2007
- Not Active
Baron Emmanuel 'Toulo' de Graffenried (1914-2007) was a nobleman and racing driver from Switzerland who was active in early years of Grand Prix racing.
His greatest success was a victory in the 1949 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, a year before the Formula 1 World Championship has been established. In the F1 Championship, he recorded 23 participations between 1950 and 1956, not scoring wins or podiums.
Participating in pre-war Grand Prix races
Born in May 1914 in Paris, Emmanuel de Graffenried started his racing career in the mid-1930. He raced with Maserati 6C-34 or Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 in pre-war Grand Prix events and sports car races, such were German Grand Prix at Nurburgring, Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten, Pau Grand Prix or Mille Miglia.
After the World War II, he reactivated himself in 1947, continuing to race with Maserati in Grand Prix events.
Winner of the 1949 British Grand Prix
Toulo de Graffenried significantly increased the number of racing events in 1949, gaining some success in major races. In April, he finished third at San Remo Grand Prix, behind Juan Manuel Fangio and Prince Birra, and then he was second at Pau Grand Prix, behind Fangio.
After that, on May 15, he recorded the greatest success of his career, winning the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Driving the #2 Maserati 4CLT, he defeated Bob Gerard (ERA) and Louis Rosier (Talbot Lago).
He was among the front-runners in several more races, such were BRDC International Trophy, Grand Prix du Roussillon or Grand Prix de l'Albigeois.
Four starts in the inaugural Formula 1 World Championship
In 1950, Graffenried raced in four of seven Grand Prix events in the inaugural season of the Formula One World Championship. He was driving Enrico Plate's Maserati 4CLT/48, retiring in the first two races at Silverstone and Monte-Carlo. Then, he finished sixth in his home event at Bremgarten circuit. He was sixth again in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
In the non-championship events, he reached a podium at Grand Prix des Nations in Geneve, finishing second in an Alfa Romeo 158, behind Fangio in the same car.
Scoring maiden F1 point at 1951 Swiss Grand Prix
In the 1951 F1 Championship season, Graffenried expanded his schedule to five races. He scored first championship points by finishing fifth in the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten, driving an Alfa Romeo 159.
Later in the season, he recorded DNFs at French Grand Prix, German Grand Prix and Italian Grand Prix, ending a season with the sixth place in the Spanish Grand Prix at Pedralbes Circuit. He participated also in many non-championship races but without any notable success.
Second place at Silverstone International sports car race in 1952
In 1952, Toulo de Graffenried recorded three F1 Championship starts with Enrico Plate's Maserati in Switzerland, France and UK, and also one unsuccessful attempt when he failed to qualify at Monza.
He achieved the best result that year at the Silverstone International sports car race in a Jaguar XK120, finishing in the second place behind Stirling Moss.
Point-scorer in three F1 Grand Prix events in 1953
The season 1953 turned to be the most successful in Toulo's Grand Prix career as he managed to score points in three races in a Maserati A6GCM.
His best result was the fourth place in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. He was fifth at Zandvoort and Nürburgring Nordschleife. He participated in seven F1 Championship races that year, finishing the season seventh in the points.
Slowing down with racing in 1954
Toulo slowed down his racing activities in 1954, driving a Maserati A6GCM in just two F1 Championship Grand Prix events - the season-opening Argentine Grand Prix (8th) and season-closing Spanish Grand Prix (DNF).
Outside F1, he won two Formula Libre races in Brasil in January, both in a Maserati A6GCS. First, he won Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix and then, a week later, the Sao Paulo Grand Prix.
One last start in the F1 Championship in 1956
In 1955, Graffenried skipped F1 Championship but raced with Ferrari or Maserati in many races in Europe and South America. His most notable result was the third place at Venezuela Grand Prix in a Ferrari 750 Monza.
In 1956, Graffenried recorded one more last start in the F1 Championship, participating in the season-closing Italian Grand Prix at Monza. He was driving the #14 Maserati 250F for Scuderia Centro Sud, finishing the race in the seventh place, four laps behind race winner Stirling Moss.
Doubling Kirk Douglas in a movie
While he was still active in racing, Toulo acted as a stunt double for the famous Hollywood star Kirk Douglas during the filming of The Racers movie, which was released in 1955.
Toulo retired from racing at the end of 1956, staying connected with cars because he was running a car dealership in Lausanne. During the 1970s and 1980s, he visited F1 events often as the corporate ambassador for Marlboro cigarette brand.
In 1988, he appeared at the wheel of a race car during the celebration of Silverstone's 50th anniversary, being honored as the winner of the 1949 British Grand Prix.
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