Didier Bonnet.

Didier Bonnet.

Didier Bonnet was a major figure in French Endurance racing: Driver, team owner and manufacturer, who wrote his name in the history of the 24 Hours.

Born in 1949, Didier Bonnet built his reputation on hill climbs. He won fame in French Championship for twelve years, from 1971 to 1983. He achieved more than a hundred wins, and finished vice-champion of the 2nd Division in 1983 driving a Lola 2 litre.

Having switched to endurance racing, Didier Bonnet founded his own team Bonnet Auto Racing in 1989. In the process, he created his own car, with the help of former British manufacturer Tiga, whose cars he had the opportunity to drive previously. It was the birth of Debora, an acronym from Didier Bonnet Racing. In 1992, he participated and 24 Hours of Le Mans driving his own car, assembled a few miles from his native Besançon. In 1995, Debora LMP 295, equipped with a turbocharged 4-cylinder Ford engine, driving with Bernard Santal, Edouard Sezionale and Patrice Roussel, finished 20th overall. This is the best result of a car of Didier Bonnet in La Sarthe.

Debora was be seen at Le Mans until 2000. The last appearance of Didier Bonnet in the paddock of the circuit des 24 heures was during the 2009 LMstory. He died on the 13th Jan 2011 at the age of 61. He was married with two children.

Jean-Philippe Doret

Photo: 24 HOURS OF LE MANS 1992. First participation of Debora (here after scrutineering),  Didier Bonnet, Jacques Heuclin and Gerard Tremblay.