Victor Héméry

(1876 - 1950)


Date Location Driver Driver Country Vehicle Power Speed over
1 Km
Speed over
1 Mile
December 30, 1905 Arles, France Victor Hmry France Darracq V8 Special
90 degree V-8
IC 108.58 mph (174.74 km/h)    

Victor Hemery is one of the most successful racer in the early years of Grand Prix racing before the outbreak of World War I. The man who was born in Brest, France on 18 November 1876 was trained as a mechanic and worked at Leon Bollee from 1895 until 1900 before moving to head the Darracq as part of testing and racing began in 1900 until 1906.

Hemery joined in 1907 in Benz & Cie. as a driver and in 1908 he was escorted Benz on race victory in St Petersburg, Moscow and finishing second at the French Grand Prix at the back with Christian Lautenschlager and his Mercedes in front of the Hanriot Rene Benz also uses.

Ironically, Victor Hemery died not in the car or at the race track, but committed suicide on September 8, 1950 at the age of 74. He lived the rest live in poor conditions at Le Mans, France.

On November 9, 1909 , a 200 hp Benz became the first car to break the 200 km/h mark and in the process went faster than any car, aeroplane or rail vehicle before. Victor Hémery went on to set a total of five world land speed records at the wheel of this racing car, named the ‘Lightning Benz’, on the concrete track at Brooklands, United Kingdom.

Over the half mile distance with a flying start Hémery achieved an average speed of 205.666 km/h, and 202.648 km/h over one kilometre. He covered the one kilometre distance from a standing start in 31.326 seconds, the half mile in 25.566 seconds and the mile in 41.268 seconds, wiping from the record books the times previously set by Darracq.

Victor Héméry