Today the world of the motor car mourns the loss of Gérard Welter who died on 31st January aged 75. His creative spirit knew no bounds and he was the father of the Peugeot 205. He also made a name for himself in car racing at Le Mans with his WM team, in particular with the record for the highest speed ever achieved on Les Hunaudières (405 km/h).
He remained faithful to Peugeot for 47 years in the design department. And he also remained faithful to motor sport and never retired as he continued to race with his WM team (W for Welter and M for Michel Meunier, another designer who worked for the French car manufacturer), followed by WR (Welter Racing) and embrace new technologies. Welter, whose enthusiasm knew no limits, died on 31st January aged 75. His style has left its mark on the French motor car scene, both on the streets and on the roads, with successes such as the 304, 604, 305, 405 and 406 among others, and above all the 205. The result of his last collaboration with Peugeot was the RCZ.
On the racing scene he founded WM first of all and took part in the Le Mans 24 Hours from 1976 to 1989. In the 1988 race, Roger Dorchy at the wheel of the WM P88 with a Peugeot engine set a speed record of 405 km/h on Les Hunaudières that has never been equalled.
Then at the head of WR he continued racing in endurance and in the Le Mans 24 Hours. He was always a trail-blazer and came up with increasingly innovative projects; he was a candidate for the 56th garage, the entry awarded by the ACO to a car outside the technical regulations, that tests and develops tomorrow’s technologies. Welter was fully involved in the prototype project running on biomethane, a gas produced from organic waste, which he would have loved to have presented under the 56th garage banner.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest pays homage to “this man’s intelligence totally dedicated to the motor car and motor sport with a spirit that generated enthusiasm and positive energy. Gérard Welter was a driving force in the true sense of the word. It’s very sad news for us, for the ACO and for the motor car. In the name of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest I would like to send my warmest and most profound emotional thoughts to Gérard Welter’s family and loved ones.”