10-11 June: This Week in Motor Sport History

Momentous motoring racing events that took place during this weekend in history …..

~ 10 June ~

1907: Five vehicles left Peking at the start of the Peking-Paris rally sponsored by Parisian daily newspaper Le Matin. There were no rules in the race, except that the first car to Paris would win the prize of a magnum of Mumm champagne. The race went without any assistance through countryside where there were no roads or roadmaps. Continue Reading →

1914: The Tourist Trophy held on the Isle of Man was won by Kenhelm Lee Guinness driving a Sunbeam 3255cc.

1954: The NHRA’s Drag Safari (later called Safety Safari) set out on their first country wide trip to help local organizers set up and run safe drag races.

1962: Jack Hinkle drove a Maserati Tipo 61 “Birdcage” to victory in a sports car race at Ponca City, Oklahoma, US.

1962: Heavy rain stopped the NASCAR Grand National ‘Atlanta 500’ in Hampton, Georgia after 328.5 miles, but it took NASCAR officials five hours to declare Fred Lorenzen the winner (a situation not helped by the fact that the scoreboard operator ran for cover when the deluge hit). It was the first superspeedway win for the Elmhurst, Illinois driver, who was driving a Holman-Moody Ford.

1979: Paul Newman, the blue-eyed movie star-turned-race car driver, accomplished the greatest feat of his racing career by racing to second place in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 1969, he starred in “Winning” as a struggling race car driver who must redeem his career and win the heart of the woman he loves at the Indianapolis 500. To prepare for the movie, Newman attended the Watkins Glen Racing School. Continue Reading →

1979: Bobby Unser drove the “Norton Spirit” Penske-Cosworth to victory in both races of the Trenton Twin Indy at Trenton Speedway in Trenton, New Jersey, US.

1984: Al Holbert and Derick Bell drove a Porsche 962 to victory in the Mid-Ohio 500km IMSA Camel GTP race in Lexington, Ohio, USA. It was the first race win for the 962.

1989: Alain Ferté of France, in a Jaguar XJR-9LM recorded the fastest lap in the Le Mans 24-hour race, 3 minutes 21.27 seconds, an average speed of 242.1 km/h (150.4 mph).

1990: Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna driving a McLaren MP4/5B won the Canadian Grand Prix held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the second time. It was Senna’s third win for the season having won the season-opening United States Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix just two weeks earlier. Senna won by ten seconds over fellow Brazilian Nelson Piquet who drove a Benetton B190. Continue Reading →

2001: The Canadian Grand Prix (formally the XXXIX Grand Prix Air Canada) held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal was won by Ralf Schumacher driving for the Williams team. Michael Schumacher finished second, driving a Ferrari car, with Mika Häkkinen third for the McLaren team. Ralf Schumacher’s win was his second of the season and also marked the first time that two brothers finished first and second in a race.

2007: Having started in pole position, British driver Lewis Hamilton won his first F1 race in an incident-strewn Canadian Grand Prix. The safety car was deployed an unprecedented four times during the course of the race, on one occasion due to Polish driver Robert Kubica’s crash, which resulted in him suffering a sprained ankle and concussion. Brazilian Felipe Massa and Italian Giancarlo Fisichella were disqualified for failing to stop at the end of the pit lane when the exit was closed.

~ 11 June ~

1895: The first ‘real motor race’, held over three days, from Paris to Bordeaux and back, began. The first to finish was Emile Levassor of France in a Panchard-Levassor two-seater, with a 1.2-litre Daimler engine developing 3. Continue Reading →

1895: The first US patent for a gasoline-driven automobile by a US inventor was issued to Charles E. Duryea. Early in 1896, the Duryea Motor Wagon Co. Continue Reading →

1933:The French Grand Prix, the most important event of the year, so the withdrawal of the entire Bugatti-Equipe came as a great surprise. The favorites Tazio Nuvolari and Louis Chiron retired early on with 11 other cars to follow. Giuseppe Campari and Philippe Etancelin, the only front-running survivors of this battle, provided a tense duel right until the last lap, which the Italian decided in his favor. Continue Reading →

1933: The Małopolski Klub Automobilowy organized race through the streets of Lwów, was dominated by Nordic drivers. Only three drivers finished. Norwegian Bjørnstad won in an Alfa Romeo 8C-2300 Monza and Swede Widengren was moved up to second when Balestrero was disqualified after the race for an illegal pit stop procedure.

1949: (11-13th): The Isle of Man TT races held were dubbed the British Grand Prix. The three races, at 500, 350 and 250 cc, became the first races in the newly instituted World Motor-cycling Championships.

1949: Sam Collier drove an MG TC to victory at Bridgehampton, New York, USA, in a race for supercharged cars up to 1250cc and unsupercharged cars up to 1950cc

1955: Over 80 people died at Europe’s worst-ever motor-racing disaster when three cars crashed at 105 mph at Le Mans and ploughed into the spectators’ grandstand. More than another hundred people were injured, but despite this the organisers of the 24-hour race decided not to stop the event. The winning Mercedes drivers gave up their title after discovering that one of their team cars was at the centre of the accident. Continue Reading →

1964: During preparations for Le Mans, a 4.8 litre Ford-powered AC Cobra Coupe GT driven by Jack Sears car was clocked at 185mph at 4:30 in the morning on the newly built M1 motorway. Although the motorway was empty at the time the report caused uproar and questions were even asked in the House of Commons. The following year, a 70 mph limit on the M1 was introduced.

1966: Jud Larson (43) died as a result of injuries sustained in a sprint car crash which also claimed the life of Red Riegel.

1966: American driver Jimmy Davies (36), who finished third at the 1955 Indianapolis 500, was killed in a midget crash at Santa Fe Speedway in Chicago. On the same day another leading American driver who drove twice in the Indy 500, Jud Larson (43), died at Reading Speedway in Pennsylvania when racing side-by-side with Red Reigel – the pair collided, both cars started somersaulting and both men were killed.

1972: International race driver Joakim Bonnier (42) died. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, he was a wealthy gentleman driver of the competitive kind and a very likable personality, Jo Bonnier started in Formula 1 in 1957 with a Maserati and his greatest claim to fame was to claim BRM’s maiden Grand Prix victory at Zandvoort in 1959. He continued as a GP regular in private entries, although with decreasing success, and was one of the driving forces behind the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association. Continue Reading →

1972: Graham Hill and Henri Pescarolo drove a 3 litre Matra-Simca MS670 to victory in the ’24 Hours of Le Mans’ as an all out “win or bust” effort by Matra paid off with a 1-2 finish, marking the first LeMans win by a French car in 22 years. Hill’s victory gave him wins at LeMans, the Indianapolis 500 as well as the World Drivers Championship title.

1978: Didier Pironi and Jean-Pierre Jaussaud drove an Alpine-Renault to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

1989:Mercedes-Benz returned to Le Mans 34 years after the 1955 and won the race.

1995: The Canadian Grand Prix ended in farce as hundreds of fans burst through fences to celebrate the maiden win of Ferrari’s Jean Alesi in his 91st race. He had taken the lead 12 laps from the end when Michael Schumacher’s Benetton was forced to pit stuck in third gear. “When I took the lead I started to cry in the car,” Alesi said. Continue Reading →

2006: The British Grand Prix at Silverstone was won by Fernando Alonso in a Renault R26. He became the first Spanish driver and the youngest driver (at 24 years 10 months 13 days) to get the ‘hat trick’ of pole position, chequered flag and fastest lap in the same Grand Prix. This race also featured the first-ever pit stop to involve a woman, as ITV’s then pit-lane reporter Louise Goodman became the left rear tyre changer during a pit stop for Portuguese driver Tiago Monteiro.

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