13-14 May: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

~13 May~

1900: Friz Held driving a Benz won the Mannheim-Pforzheim-Mannheim road race.

1950: The very first round of the Formula One World Championship was held on the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire. The event was graced by the presence of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth – the first and only time a reigning monarch has attended a motor race in Britain. Silverstone was originally a military airfield and the British Racing Drivers’ Club had organised the first post-war British Grand Prix there in 1948 after pre-war circuits such as Brooklands and Donington Park had fallen into disuse. Continue Reading →

1951: Chico Landi in a Ferrari 125C F1 won the Saõ Paulo Grand Prix held at Interlagos.

1956: Race 2 of 8 in the 1956 World Championship of Drivers was held in Monaco. .As a result of Alberto Ascari’s accident the previous year, the Monaco chicane had been altered so that a repeat of the crash would be less likely in the future. Continue Reading →

1960: American driver Harry Schell (38) died in practice for the non-championship International Trophy event at Silverstone in 1960, when he crashed his Cooper at Abbey Curve. Schell was driving at approximately 100 mph when his car slid into the mud on the side of the track and lost a wheel. The Cooper somersaulted and penetrated a safety barrier, causing a brick wall to collapse.

1961: Eddie Sachs, of Center Valley, Pennsylvania, US A, became the 3rd driver in Indy 500 history to win the pole for consecutive races by qualifying at 147.481 mph, the second-fastest qualifying speed posted up until that date.

1967: Over 100,000 people attended the burial of racing driver Lorenzo Bandini who had died from injuries sustained from an horrific crash at the Monaco Frand Prix.

 1971: Mark Donohue recorded the first sub-50 second lap (49.73 seconds) and first 180 mph lap (180.977 mph) at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

1978: Joie Chitwood, Texas-born race car driver, set a world record when he drove a Chevette 5.6 miles on just 2 wheels.

1979: At the Belgium Grand Prix in Zolder, Ferrari driver, Jody Schecter came from seventh on the grid to win in a time of 1:39:59 over polesitter, Jacques Laffite in the Ligier. Didier Pironi in a Tyrrell finished in third. Even though he finished out of the points in 7th, Gilles Villeneuve clicked off the fastest lap of the race. Continue Reading →

1990: Italian driver Riccardo Patrese driving a Williams FW13B won the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. It was Patrese’s third Grand Prix victory, his first since 1983 and his first for Williams. Patrese took a five second victory over Austrian driver Gerhard Berger driving a McLaren MP4/5B. Continue Reading →

 1994: Duncan Hamilton (74), British amateur racing driver who famously won Le Mans 24 Hours, died. Hamilton was a garage owner as his primary job description and raced a Talbot-Lago and an HWM in a handful of Championship Grands Prix as an amateur driver. He won Le Mans in 1953 sharing a works Jaguar C-type with his close friend Tony Rolt. Continue Reading →

1995: Tony Stewart won the Indiana Sprint Classic at Indianapolis Raceway Park in Indianapolis, Indiana, US.

~14 May~

1909: E.G. “Cannonball” Baker finished a transcontinental motorcycle ride from San Diego, California, to New York, a distance of 3378.9 miles, in 276 hours aboard a two-speed Indian motorcycle. His best-remembered drive was a 1933 New York City to Los Angeles trek in a Graham-Paige model 57 Blue Streak 8, setting a 53.5 hour record that stood for nearly 40 years. This drive inspired the later Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, better known as the “Cannonball Run”, which itself inspired at least five movies and a television series. In 1941, he drove a new Crosley Covered Wagon across the nation in a trouble-free 6,517-mile (10,488 km) run to prove the economy and reliability characteristics of Crosley automobiles. Other record and near-record transcontinental trips were made in Model T Fords, Chrysler Imperials, Marmons, Falcon-Knights and Columbia Tigers, among others.

1949: The 1949 British Grand Prix held over 100 laps (288.870 miles) of Silverstone was won by Emmanuel de Graffenried driving a Maserati 4CLT.

1960: Mickey Thompson, aka “Mr. Speed,” broke Bernd Rosemeyer’s 22-year-old record for the standing mile and standing kilometre, when he drove his “Assault” car to record speeds of 149.93 and 132. Continue Reading

1961: Naples Grand Prix was a motor race, run to Formula One rules, at Posillipo Circuit, Naples. The race was run over 60 laps of the circuit, and was won by Italian driver Giancarlo Baghetti in a Ferrari 156 in only his second Formula One race, having also won his first. Baghetti went on to win his next Formula One race as well, his first World Championship race, and is the only driver to have achieved this feat.

1961: The Monaco Grand Prix was held on the Circuit de Monaco in Monte Carlo, Monaco. It was the first round of the 1961 World Championship of Drivers, and the first World Championship race under the new 1.5 litre engine regulations. Continue Reading

1966: The 18th BRDC International Trophy, run to Formula One rules, was held at the Silverstone Circuit, England. The race was run over 35 laps of the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit, and was won by Australian Jack Brabham in the Brabham-Repco BT19. With no Race of Champions in 1966, the International Trophy formed the first major race of the European season, being run just a week before the start of the FIA World Championship in Monaco. Continue Reading

1966: Chuck Rodee (38) died while attempting to qualify for the 1966 Indianapolis 500. He spun on a second lap warm-up and backed the car into the wall exiting Turn 1. The impact appeared minor but the rigid chassis

1972: The Monaco Grand Prix was held. This was the last race on the original Monaco circuit, before the swimming pool was installed and the tunnel was lengthened. Jean-Pierre Beltoise’s victory was the only one of his Formula One World Championship career, and the last for BRM.

1977: Pole-sitter Tom Sneva turned the first official 200-mph laps at the Indianapolis Speedway.

1995: The Spanish Grand Prix held at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona proved to be the final race for former champion Nigel Mansell, who quit the McLaren team after the race. Both Damon Hill and Rubens Barrichello experienced gearbox problems on the final lap, Hill dropping from 2nd (which would have kept him in the lead of the championship) and Barrichello from 6th. This gave the Benetton team their first 1-2 finish since the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix.

2005: The seventh Gumball 3000 rally began at Trafalgar Square and progressed 3000 miles from London to Brussels, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, and onto to Dubrovnik in Croatia. The cars then were transported by ferry to Bari, Italy, followed by a transit to the Targa Florio circuit in Sicily, before heading north to Rome and Florence. The finish line was in Monaco’s Casino Square prior to the Formula One Grand Prix. Continue Reading

2006: The Spanish Grand Prix (formally the XLVIII Gran Premio Telefónica de España) was held at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain. The race, contested over 66 laps, was the sixth round of the 2006 Formula One season, and the 48th running of the Spanish Grand Prix. Victory was taken by Renault driver, and polesitter, Fernando Alonso at his home race. Continue Reading →

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