Le Mans Ladies: “Jamais Content” Beaumont by Jes Zurell

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With a racing nickname like “Jamais Content” (Never Satisfied), it’s easy to imagine the determination of French driver Marie-Claude Beaumont. As a child in the 1950s, she followed her mechanic father to the Monte Carlo Rally year after year, eventually finding busywork as an English-French interpreter and navigator. Her lucky break came in 1963 when she met Claudine Vanson-Bouchet, a rally champ of the moment. Suddenly, the 23-year-old speed queen was in the driver’s seat.

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Beaumont alternated between rallying and navigating throughout the 60s, and brushed shoulders with names like Christine Beckers and Henri Greder, teaming up with each of them in separate rallies. Greder, a co-driver in Monte Carlo, dubbed Beamont “Jamais Content” because the young upstart was always looking for more powerful vehicles and bigger challenges – some of which had little to do with jostling for a position.

One of the biggest blows to her ego came when she drove on an NSU team. Though she scored in the top ten at the Tour de Corse and sixth in class at the Tulip Rally, she was the one the team picked on when it needed to scrap a car for parts. Needless to say, this didn’t go over well with her.

Word of her fiercely competitive spirit preceded her in the French Ladies’ Rally Championship, the Stuttgart-Solitude-Lyons-Charbonnieres and the Rally de Geneve by the early 70s; she was becoming less and less of a woman to trifle with.  Then, in 1971, she took the world of French motorsports by storm.

That year, regulations on female racers were loosened and Beaumont entered the 24 Heures du Mans with Greder. It was the first time since 1954 that a woman had entered Le Mans. The team’s Corvette finished 15th and Beaumont, being a bombshell blonde, saw no shortage of media attention.

But Jamais Content Beaumont wasn’t through with Le Mans just yet. She entered again the following year in another Corvette. They persisted until the 21st hour, forced to stop due to an accident.

Following the 24 Heures of ’72, Beaumont phased out of racing by 1976, when she landed a job in public relations for Alpine-Renault and began working as a freelance race photographer. It is rumored that she still freelances today.

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