12-13 June: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

Discover the most momentous motor sports events that took place this weekend in history ……..


~12 June~

1903: Racer Claude Loraine-Barrow died in Libourne, France from injured suffered when his De Dietrich crashed during the recent Paris-Madrid race – his riding mechanic, Pierre Todez, was killed instantly.

1909: The first races sanctioned by the American Automobile Association (AAA), which were also the first races staged at the Portland Road Course (OR), were run. The main event, a 7-hp lap affair for the Wemme Cup was won by Bert Dingley in a Chalmers-Detroit.

1926: Langhorne Speedway (Pennsylvania, US) built by a group of Philadelphia racing enthusiasts, known as the National Motor Racing Association (NMRA), staged its first race. Freddie Winnai of Philadelphia qualified in 42.40 seconds, a new world’s record for a one-mile (1.6 km) track, and went on to win the 50-lap main event.

1927: The great Tazio Nuvolari (Bugatti 35) scored his first major win in an automobile race, the Royal Prize of Rome. Mario Lepori and Renato Balestrero (both Bugatti 35C) followed in second and third. Sadly, the race was marred by an accident which killed a spectator and an official.

1966: Gerhard Mitter, driving with a broken leg, won the Rossfeld Alpen-Bergpreis at the wheel of a Porsche.

1966: The Belgian Grand Prix – cover image – at Spa-Francorchamps was won by British driver John Surtees driving a Ferrari 312 in a race that saw the field decimated in heavy rain. Eight of the 17 cars crashed out on the first lap, including Swedish driver Jo Bonnier’s Cooper T81 making a spectacular exit through the upstairs window of a house on the edge of the track. Jackie Stewart’s BRM P261 crashed into a telephone pole and then landed in a ditch, leaving him stuck upside down inside his car in a pool of fuel for 25 minutes.

1969: AMC SC/Ramblers finish 1-3-5 in the 2-wheel drive passenger car class of the Baja 1000 (an off-road race that takes place in Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula),with Bob Bondurant driving the winning car.

1983: René Arnoux won the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal from pole position in dominant style, by a margin of nearly 45 seconds, in a Ferrari 126C2B.

1988: Rusty Wallace started second and held off Terry Labonte to score the last victory in NASCAR’s top series at Riverside (California) International Raceway’s 2.62-mile road course. Wallace, a 2013 NASCAR Hall of Fame inductee, led 43 of 95 laps and was .34 seconds ahead of Labonte at the finish. Pole-starter Ricky Rudd was third. The race also marked the last of two career Cup starts — both at Riverside — for current team owner Rick Hendrick, who finished 15th as the first driver one lap down.

1988: Ayrton Senna driving a McLaren-Honda MP4/4 won the Canadian Grand Prix. Team-mate Alain Prost second and Thierry Boutsen third in a Benetton-Ford.

1994: Rusty Wallace charged past Dale Earnhardt on the final lap and holds on to win at Pocono, Pennsylvania (US). A late caution flag set up the final one-lap dash.

1994: The Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, contested over 69 laps, was won by Benetton driver Michael Schumacher, who took his fifth victory of the season and extended his lead in the drivers’ standings to 33 points. Damon Hill and his team, Williams, were second in their respective championships, as well as second in the race, and were Schumacher and Benetton’s main rivals over the season. Jean Alesi completed the podium by finishing in third place for Ferrari.

2005: Kimi Räikkönen driving a McLaren-Mercedes MP4-20 won the Canadian Grand Prix at Montreal. It set a ratings record and was the most watched F1 race in history.

2005: Carl Edwards drove to victory in the Pocono 500 at Pocono Race­way, Pennsylvania, US. The win was bittersweet because it caused Edwards to miss a rain-delayed NASCAR Busch Series race at Nash­ville and thus lost his points lead in NASCAR’s second highest series.

~13 June~

1895: The Paris–Bordeaux–Paris Trial of June 1895, sometimes called the “first motor race” although it did not conform to modern convention whereby the fastest finisher is the winner, ended. The Comte Albert de Dion led a group of organizers for a motor race between Paris and Bordeaux before returning to Paris, a distance of 732 miles. Regulations for the event stipulated a pure race where the winner was the first car home, seating more than two passengers. Drivers could be changed during the race and repairs were allowed only with materials carried on the car, supervised by “Commissaires”. Manufacturers were prohibited to enter several identical cars so as not to “swamp” the smaller amongst them but were allowed an unlimited number of cars if they were deemed sufficiently different. Twenty-three vehicles took of from Versailles, amongst this group were steamers from de Dion, Serpollet and Bollées and petrol cars from Benz, Peugeot, Panhard et Levassor and an electric car from the famous carriage maker Jeantaud. The face was a triumph for Émile Levassor who arrived first after completing the 1,178 km in 48 hours, nearly six hours ahead of the runner-up and at a stout average speed of 15 miles per hour. However, the official winner was Paul Koechlin, who arrived third in his Peugeot, exactly 11 hours slower than Levassor, but officially the race had been for four-seater cars, whereas Levassor and the runner-up drove two-seater cars. However as witnessed by the statue later erected at Porte Maillot in his honor it was Levassor who gained glory from the crowd. Nine out of twenty-three cars finished the race, eight of them petrol. The sole steamer was the Bollée which was built in 1880 and carried seven passengers. One car that finished, but outside of the 100 hour window was entered by the Michelin brothers and had pneumatic tires. The car they were driving was called the Lightning, not because of its speed but rather due to an issue with it’s steering mechanism its trajectory followed the zigzag outline of a lightning bolt.

1920: The first race at the Circuit of Mugello (Italy) was won by Giuseppe Campari in an Alfa Romeo. It was also the first racing victory for the marque.

1937: Bernd Rosemeyer driving an Auto Union Typ C won the XI Adac Eifelrennen run over 10 laps (228.1 km) of the Nürburgring.

1953:  The highlight of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 21st Grand Prix of Endurance was the introduction, by Jaguar Cars, of disc brakes on all four wheels of each C-type car, which gave Jaguar 1st, 2nd, and 4th place finishes. This race saw the death of American driver Tom Cole Jr. when his Ferrari was involved in an accident late in the race.

1954: Al Keller made history in the first road-course event in NASCAR’s top series, notching the only win for Jaguar at the Linden, New Jersey (US) airport. Keller, whose only other win came in a Hudson, led 28 of 50 laps on the 2-mile runway layout. Joe Eubanks was second in a Hudson while pole-starter Buck Baker was third, one lap down. Keller’s car was one of 13 Jaguars in the 43-car field, which also featured MGs, an Austin Healey and a Porsche.

1965: The Belgian Grand Prix held at Spa-Francorchamps was won by British driver Jim Clark who led every lap of the race driving a Lotus 33. It was one of the Scot’s most dominant wins. In the rain, he pulled away and with a third of the race to go, the Lotus driver was leading his fellow Scotsman Jackie Stewart by 1 minute and 20 seconds.

1971: Dr Helmut Marko and Gijs van Lennep, driving a Porsche 917K, set a new record for the 24-hour Grand Prix d’Endurance at Le Mans, France, covering 3,315,203 miles.

1976: The 1976 Swedish Grand Prix held at the Scandinavian Raceway in Anderstorp, Sweden, is the only ever Formula One race to be won by a car other than four-wheeled – indeed, the best four-wheeler could do no better than third, and it was the second race in succession that it took no less than 16 wheels to bring home the podium-finishers: South African Jody Scheckter and Frenchman Patrick Depailler in six-wheeled Tyrrell/Ford P34s and Austrian Niki Lauda in a four-wheeled Ferrari 312T2. The six-wheel design, with four 10-inch-diameter (250-mm) wheels at the front to reduce drag and increase grip, was banned by the FIA in 1983. When it was revealed it was the instant sensation of the 1976 season.

1981: Racer Jean-Louis Lafosse was killed when his Rondeau crashed during the 24 Hours of Le Mans – also killed in the incident was race marshall Jean Pierre Mobila.

1982: Riccardo Paletti (23) died when his car ran into the back of the stationary Ferrari of Didier Pironi who had stalled on the start grid of the Canadian Grand Prix. Nelson Piquet won driving a Brabham-BMW BT50. Paletti was the last driver to be killed during a Formula One race weekend until the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, when Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna died on consecutive days.

1993: Not a day to look back on fondly for the Williams pit crew as they ruined Damon Hill’s hopes of a 1-2 with Alain Prost when they botched a pit stop at the Canadian Grand Prix. As Hill, who was in second, came in for a tyre change, the crew realised too late they had the wrong specification replacements ready and the delay allowed Michael Schumacher to nip past. Hill made the podium after Ayrton Senna was forced to retire six laps from the end with alternator trouble.

1999: Heinz-Harald Frentzen suffered a brake failure and had a massive crash with four laps to go at the Canadian Grand Prix. Frentzen was unhurt, but his crash caused this contest to be the first ever F1 race to finish behind the safety car. Mika Häkkinen won the race in a McLaren-Mercedes MP4-14.

2004: The Loton Park Hill Climb (nr Shrewsbury, England: 1349 yards) record was set by Adam Fleetwood, with a time of 44.90 seconds for an average speed of 67.19mph (108.14 km/h).

2004: Williams and Toyota were both disqualified from the Canadian Grand Prix an hour after the finish after air ducts which were used to cool the brakes were found to be in contravention of the FIA’s rules. ‘It was a mistake and it was unintentional,” said BMW technical director Sam Michael. “There was no performance gain and no gain for brake cooling because the inlet area was not bigger. However, the duct is not in compliance with the technical regulations, therefore we accept the FIA decision.” The race was won by Michael Schumacher with his Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello second, but Ralf Schumacher, who had come third, was replaced on the podium by Jenson Button. “I’m now thinking ‘what have I done to deserve this’,” said a dejected Schumacher. “Breaking a rule is breaking a rule and somebody must be punished for that. I have to accept it, even if it really hurts.”

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