11-12 December: This Weekend in Motorsport History


Discover the most momentous motorsports events that occurred this weekend in history ……

 

~11 December ~

1921: The 1.25 mile board oval San Carlos Board Speedway in San Francisco, California staged its first race – the 250 mile main event was won by Jimmy Murphy in a Duesenberg.

1955: Joe Weatherly and Jim Reed, the first two finishers in the 100-mile race at West Palm Beach, were both disqualified for technical violations. Herb Thomas was declared the official ­winner.

1960: Jim Hall, driving a Maserati Tipo 61, won the feature race at Las Vegas, Nevada, US.

1975: A fortnight after the death of Graham Hill, the sponsors of his F1 team, tobacco company WD & HO Wills, announced the withdrawal of its backing for the Hill team, dooming it to closure. “There is not enough time to rebuild the team to the standards of competitiveness we had set ourselves for the coming season,” a spokesman said.

1998: China’s first F1 grand prix, provisionally scheduled for March 28 1999, was dropped after the FIA decided that the Zuhai circuit organisers needed another year to finalise arrangements. In fact, it was not until 2004 that the race took place.

2003: Michael Schumacher tried to prove he was faster than a speeding plane when he took on an Eurofighter Typhoon in his Ferrari F2003 at the Baccarini military airport near Rome, Italy. However, he lost 2-1 over three distances – 600,900 and 1200 metres. The Ferrari boasted a top speed of 370kph against the fighter’s 2450kph; the jet, which was stripped of weapons, weighed in at 21,000 kilos against the Ferrari’s 600. 

 

~12 December~

1906: The first Brooklands Automobile Racing Club meeting was held in England with Lord Lonsdale as President.

1953: NASCAR president Bill France disclosed plans for a 2.5-mile superspeedway in Daytona Beach. France estimated the facility would cost $1,674,000 to build and could open as early as 1955.

1959: At 22 years and 104 days of age, Bruce McLaren became the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix race as he earned first place at Sebring, Florida. Jack Brabham won the 1959 World drivers title, whilst Cooper-Climax clinched the Constructors’ Championship. Brabham ran out of fuel in the final race of the season, the US Grand Prix at Sebring, and had to push his Cooper-Climax half a mile home, still managing to finish an amazing fourth!

1973: Jackie Stewart, who had recently retired after securing his third world championship, was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, the second Formula One driver to win the accolade after Stirling Moss in 1961. Although John Surtees won in 1959 it was for his achievements on a bike rather than in a car. Eleven years earlier to the day Stewart had made his debut in an F1 car at the non-championship Rand Grand Prix.


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