Camille Jenatzy

(1868, Schaerbeek - 8 December 1913, Habay la Neuve)


Camille Jenatzy was a Belgian race car driver. He is known for breaking the land speed record three times and being the first man to break the 100 km/h barrier. He was nicknamed Le Diable Rouge ("The Red Devil") after the colour of his beard.

On 17 January 1899 at Achères, Yvelines near Paris, France, he reached the speed of 66.66 km/h (41.42 mph) over the kilometer, driving a CGA Dogcart.
That same day, the record was broken by Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat, topped on 27 January 1899 when Jenatzy achieved 80.35 km/h (49.93 mph).
This record was again broken by Chasseloup-Laubat, who applied rudimentary streamlining to his Jeantaud.
Jenatzy replied with his third and final land speed record on 29 April 1899, reaching 105.88 km/h (65.79 mph) in the electric CITA Nº 25 La Jamais Contente, the first record over 100 km/h (60 mph).

In 1902, he lost the land speed record to Leon Serpollet.

Jenatzy regained the record in 1903, winning the Gordon Bennet Cup in Athy, Ireland, at the wheel of a Mercedes, the same year.

Jenatzy died in 1913 in a hunting accident. He went behind a bush and made animal noises as a prank on his friends who were hunting with him. It worked too well, they heard the noise and one of them, Alfred Madoux, director of the journal L'Etoile Belge, fired, believing it was a wild animal. When they realised it was Jenatzy, they rushed him to hospital by car; he bled to death en route, fulfilling his own prophecy he would die in a Mercedes. He is buried at the Laeken Cemetery in Brussels.

Date Location Driver Vehicle Power Speed over
1 Km
Speed over
1 Mile
January 17, 1899 Achères, France Camille Jenatzy CGA Dogcart Electric 41.42 mph (66.66 km/h)    
January 27, 1899 Achères, France Camille Jenatzy CGA Dogcart Electric 49.93 mph (80.35 km/h)    
April 29, 1899 Achères, France Camille Jenatzy CITA No 25 La Jamais Contente
Single Action 4-cylinder
Electric 65.79 mph (105.88 km/h)   First record over 100km/h


Camille Jenatzy
Picture of Camille Jenatzy and his wife riding the Jamais Contente vehicle.
CGA Dogcart