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Sunday, 17 July 2016


Georges Bouton was the nominal winner of the 'world's first motor race' on April 28, 1887, when he drove his first four-seater steam quadricycle, two kilometers from Neuilly Bridge to the Bois de Boulogne. He was the only entrant.

The first official automobile race was held in France in 1894. The 19 competing cars traveled from Paris to Rouen. Despite finishing in first place, Jules-Albert de Dion did not win, as his steam-powered car was against the rules. A Daimler powered car was declared the winner.

The first official automobile race in America took place near Chicago on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1895. The race was a harrowing one—it was held during one of Chicago’s great snowstorms. Two of the contestants became comatose from exposure to the cold, and the contestants’ cars got stuck in snowdrifts, slid into other vehicles, and stalled repeatedly. It required 8 hours and 23 minutes for the winner, J. Frank Duryea, to travel the 54-mile (87-kilometer) course.

 J. Frank Duryea and his brother Charles (left) in their 1894 Duryea gasoline car.

The earliest motor racing racks were modified horse racing courses. Racing automobiles in such facilities began in September 1896, at Narragansett Park in Cranston, Rhode Island.

Britain’s first motor car race was held on May 19, 1902 in Bexhill-On-Sea in the south of England. The event was organised by the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland and attracted international attention.

The 1906 French Grand Prix, the first ever Grand Prix motor racing event, was held at the Sarthe circuit outside Le Mans, in France on June 26-27, 1906. Six laps of the 105 kilometres (65 mi) long circuit were run each day by the 34 cars. Lasting for more than 12 hours overall, the race was won by Hungarian Ferenc Szisz driving for the Renault team.

Ferenc Szisz at the 1914 French Grand Prix

The Brooklands motor circuit at  Weybridge in Surrey, England was the first purpose-built banked motor race circuit in the world. The first competitive event was held on 28–29 June 1907, with three cars competing to break the world record for distance covered in 24 hours, and the first race meeting was held on July 6, 1907, attracting over 10,000 spectators.

In 1907 a 9,317 mile automobile race from Peking (now Beijing) to Paris was held after a French newspaper asked if anyone could prove their claim that if a man has a car, he can go anywhere. The race was held despite the race committee cancelling the race. It started from the French embassy in Peking on June 10, 1907. The winner Prince Scipione Borghese arrived in Paris on August 10, 1907, winning a bottle of champagne.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a raceway in Speedway, Indiana, first opened in August 1909.

Probably the world's best known sports car race in endurance racing, is the Le Mans 24-hour Grand Prix d'Endurance, which has been run annually, with few exceptions, since 1923 at the Sarthe road-racing circuit near Le Mans, France. The first Le Mans was won by André Lagache and René Leonard.

A poster for the 1923 24 Hours of Le Mans

The first Monaco Grand Prix, held on April 14, 1929, was won by William Grover-Williams driving a Bugatti. The Monaco Grand Prix represents one leg of the Triple Crown of Motorsport; other events being the Indianapolis 500, and The 24 Hours of Le Mans.

William Grover-Williams at the 1929 Monaco Grand Prix.Wikipedia Commons

Benito Mussolini entered his Alfa Romeo in the 1936 Mille Miglia, the 1000 mile race from Brescia to Rome and back. However Mussolini's driver, Ercole Boratto only came thirteenth.

NASCAR is an acronym which stands for "National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing."

NASCAR was founded on February 21, 1948 by Bill France Sr. Originally there were three divisions. Modifieds, Roadsters and Strictly Stock.

The first race in the "strictly stock" division was held on June 19, 1949 at a 3/4 mile dirt track called Charlotte Speedway. Jim Roper won that very first race. This division grew to become the Sprint Cup series that we know today.

The first World Championship for motor racing drivers under the jurisdiction of the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) was contested in 1950.

The first stock car race meeting in Britain was held at the Old Kent Road Stadium, London in 1954.

In auto racing's worst moment, Pierre Levegh's Mercedes flew into the crowd and exploded at the Le Mans Grand Prix in 1955. Including Levegh, 82 died and 100 others were injured.

When Marcel Fässler, Benoît Tréluyer, and André Lotterer won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012, it was the race's first victory in a hybrid car.

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