Marcel Renault was born in 1872 in Paris, France. His father, Alfred Renault had built a solid fortune in trade of fabrics and buttons and his mother Louise was a daughter of wealthy merchant. Marcel had two sisters and two brothers.
Marcel Renault gained business experience while working with his brother Fernand at their father’s textile firm. Their younger brother Louis was mechanical genious who built his first car at the age of 21. A year later the three brothers started the Renault Freres company on 1899. Marcel was responsible for administration, Ferdinand for marketing and Louis was dedicated completely to the design and construction of the cars.
Racing was a great opportunity for Renault brothers to bring the cars they built to the public eye. Marced Renault especially proved to be a skillful driver, taking many victories in the city-to-city races. His first win was the Paris-Trouville race in 1899. Marcel and Louis Renault won the light car category of the Paris-Toulouse-Paris race of 1448 km in 1900. Marcel Renault, with his mechanic Rene Vauthier, won also the Paris-Vienna race in 1902 driving the Renault Type K.
On May 24, 1903 Marcel Renault and his mechanic Rene Vauthier were victims in a fatal accident during the Paris-Madrid race. Marcel was competing against another racer, when he was blinded by a cloud of dust and the car went out of the road into a ditch. Vauthier got several fractures, but Marcel Renault died 48 hours after the crash without regaining consciousness.