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Sunday, 17 July 2016

Motorsport driver

One of the first auto races in history took place on June 13, 1895 from Paris to Bordeaux and back to Paris. The winning time by Paul Koechlin was 49 hours averaging 15mph. Koechlin was a second cousin to Maurice Koechlin, the structural engineer of the Eiffel Tower.

In order to attract backers for his prospective motor company, Henry Ford built a racing car and entered it against a top racer, Alexander Winton in 1901. He won the race at the Gross Pointe Blue Ribbon track in Detroit by over one mile.

Dorothy Elizabeth Levitt, (January  5, 1882, died May 17, 1922) was Britain’s first woman racing driver. In 1909 she advised female drivers to use a hand mirror to see the road behind them — thus inventing the rear-view mirror — and also carry a handgun if they were travelling alone.

Dorothy Levitt Frontispiece to The Woman and the Car.

Dorothy Levitt taught Queen Alexandra and the Royal Princesses how to drive.

It was at the wheel of the Brabham BT3 that Jack Brabham became the first driver ever in 1966 to score Formula One World Championship points in a race car of his own manufacture. It remains the only such achievement using a car bearing the driver's own name.

American filmmaker George Lucas originally wanted to be a race car driver, but an accident just before his high school graduation changed his mind.

Jochen Rindt (1942–1970) was the only racing driver to be posthumously awarded the Formula One World Drivers' Championship, after his death during the 1970 racing season.

British driver Jackie Stewart competed in nine Formula One seasons, winning three World Drivers' Championships. He retired at the end of 1973, and took up a career in broadcasting. He is also an expert clay pigeon shooter, and has come close to Olympic selection.

On August 1, 1976, Formula 1 driver Niki Lauda suffered horrific burns after being trapped inside his Ferrari following an accident at the German Grand Prix. He lost most of his right ear as well as the hair on the right side of his head, Remarkably, Lauda was back in his car six weeks later and finished fourth in the Italian Grand Prix, despite being, by his own admission, absolutely petrified.

Niki Lauda practicing at the Nürburgring during the 1976 German Grand Prix

The actor Paul Newman was an auto racing enthusiast, despite being colorblind, and first became interested in motorsports while training at the Watkins Glen Racing School for the filming of the 1969 movie Winning. He was a frequent competitor in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) events throughout the 1970s, eventually winning four national championships. Newman later finished second in 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 10, 1979.

Newman in The Prize (1963)

At the age of 70 years and eight days, Newman became the oldest driver to date to be part of a winning team in a major sanctioned race winning in his class at the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona.

A seven-time World Champion German Formula One driver, Michael Schumacher holds the record for most victories (91), fastest laps and most wins in a single season. 

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