DELAGE TYPE 15 S8: THE TRIUMPH OF LOUIS DELAGE
In 1927, Delage achieved its only victory in the World Manufacturers' Championship
Ever since he founded his car company in 1905, the French Louise Delage had always had a great passion for competitions, so much so that he had already participated in it since 1906 when two vehicles were entered in the Coupe de Voiturettes held in Rambouillet.
Over the years the sporting commitment expanded more and more and in 1925, when the first world championship for racing cars was established, the French company did not want to miss on the starting grid to demonstrate the speed qualities of its vehicles.
Alfa Romeo won the championship that year, but Delage still managed to win the Montlhéry Grand Prix and the San Sebastiàn Grand Prix, one of the many races not valid for the championship.
The following year the regulation was changed and for this reason the designer Albert Lory designed a new car that took the name of Type 15 S8.
Based on a chassis with steel ladder frame covered by a body of the same material, the car was equipped with a new 1.5 16V eight-cylinder engine managed by a 5-speed manual gearbox and combined with rear-wheel drive.
Able to generate the power of 170 hp, the engine was able to push the car up to a maximum speed of 210 km / h thanks also to the low weight of 750 kg.
However, it was not considered a manufacturing defect, namely the positioning of the exhaust terminal next to the pilot's seat, who was forced to suffer tremendous hot flashes since the thermal insulation at the time was little more than an opinion.
This precluded the victory in the 1926 championship, although a brilliant victory in the British Grand Prix was held on the fast-paced Brooklands racetrack.
However, Lory knew that the project was valid and in 1927 he moved the exhaust system to the other side of the S8 and eliminated the seat reserved for the mechanic, obtaining a significant weight saving.
These changes allowed the Type 15 piloted by the Frenchman Robert Benoist to win 4 of the 5 races, giving Delage the title of world champion.
It was the highest moment in the sports history of the French company, which no longer managed to establish itself in the race after the crisis of 1929 and the subsequent acquisition by Delahaye.
Thank you to Valentina Zanola for the cooperation