17-18 June: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

17 June

1904: The Gordon Bennett Cup, formally titled the V Coupe Internationale, was held on the Homberg Circuit in Germany. The race consisted of four laps of the circuit to make the total distance 527km (79.465 miles). Continue Reading →

1907: Brooklands, the first purpose-built banked motor race circuit in the world. officially opened, having been built by Hugh Fortescue Locke King on his Weybridge estate in Surrey at a cost of £150,000. It was the builder’s idea that the motor course would give British motor-car manufacturers a place to test their products with immunity from the 20-mph speed limit. Continue Reading →

1922: Less than a month after setting the Land Speed Record at 133.75 mph at Brooklands in the hands of Kenneth Lee Guiness, the famous 18.3 litre driven by Malcolm Campbell won the Saltburn Sands hillclimb at Redcar, Yorkshire

1923: Enrico Ferrari, who would go on to an historic career as a driver for Alpha Romeo before being put in charge of their racing division, won his first race, a 166-mile event at the Circuito del Savio in Ravenna, Italy. After the Ravenna race, Ferrari met for the first time the Count Enrico Baracca and his wife, the Countess Paolina, who would later suggest to Ferrari that he use the prancing horse emblem of their son. “Ferrari,” remarked the Countess, “why don’t you put my son’s prancing horse on your cars; it will bring you luck. Continue Reading →

1926: The Langhorne (PA) Dirt Track staged its first event, a 50-mil race won by Fred Winnai in a Duesenberg.

1928: The same Bentley 41/2 that had crashed in 1927 won the Le Mans 24 hours with Woolf Barnato and Bernard Rubin at the wheel. Sometime before the end of the race the car cracked its chassis, causing the entire contents of the radiator to drain away – with temperatures off the clock, Barnato nursed the car over the line. One more lap and it’s unlikely he’d have made it.

1951: In the Belgian Grand Prix, held at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Juan Manuel Fangio’s pit crew took 14 minutes 18 seconds to put him back in the race. His Alpha Romeo had been fitted with special, very expensive, concave wheels .. Continue Reading →

1962: Jim Clark won his first Formula One Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, and the first of four consecutive victories in Belgium for the Scotsman (despite thoroughly disliking the circuit) and Team Lotus. It was also the first win for the famous Lotus 25, and the beginning of the famous 6-year-long rivalry between Clark and Graham Hill. Clark would go on to one of the most storied careers in F1 history. Continue Reading →

1972: George Follmer drove an AMC Javelin to victory in the SCCA Trans-Am race at Watkins Glen, New York, US.

1973: Denny Hulme in a McLaren-Cosworth M23 won the first World Championship level Swedish Grand Prix, held at the grandly-named Scandinavian Raceway.

1984: Brabham’s defending World Champion Nelson Piquet scored his first win and indeed his first points for the season at the Canadian Grand Prix held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

1986: Before the start of the last race of Italian Sport Prototype Championship meeting, at Pergusa, Italy a service van driven by a circuit security guard crashed head-on into a private car passing in the one-way only small service road, all around the track. The female driver of the car was killed at the scene, her passenger, a young boy, sustained serious injuries. The Pergusa race director immediately stopped the racing event and sent the autodrome ambulance to rescue the unfortunate by-passers, and the start of the race was postponed.

1990: “Handsome” Harry Gant became the oldest driver to win a Winston Cup race when he won the Miller Genuine Draft 500 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania, at the age of 50 years, 158 days. Bobby Allison had previously held the record for winning at 50 years, 73 days. Gant benefited from a race plagued by the yellow caution flag, in which the winning speed was just 120mph and 23 cars finished on the lead lap. Continue Reading →

1994: The most watched car chase in the world was transmitted live when O J Simpson failed to turn himself in after the murder of his ex-wife and her friend Ronald Goldman 5 days earlier. At 6.45 am, Simpson’s 1993 white Ford Bronco was spotted going north on Interstate 405 by a patrolman. Continue Reading →

2001: The Audi R8 of Frank Biela, Tom Kristianson, and Emanuele Pirro won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Corvette C5Rs finish 1-2 in the GTS class with the Ron Fellows/Johnny O’Connell/Scott Pruett car beating the Andy Pilgrim/Frank Freon/Kelly Collins car.

2007: Lewis Hamilton became the first rookie to win the United States Grand Prix and the second-youngest driver to win a major event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The 73-lap race was the seventh round of the 2007 Formula One season and was won by McLaren-Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. His teammate, Fernando Alonso, finished the race in second position whilst Ferrari driver, Felipe Massa, completed the podium by finishing third. Continue Reading →

18 June

1927: The Nürburgring motor-racing circuit in Germany held its first race meeting, with the first motorcycle race won by German Toni Ulmen on an English 350-cc Velocette. Car racing began on the following day, with German Rudolf Caracciola the winner of the over-5,000-cc class in a Mercedes Compressor. The track was open to the public in the evenings and on weekends as a one-way toll road. Continue Reading →

1940: Alfa Romeo test driver Attilio Marinoni was killed on the Milan-Varese Autostrada when his modified Tip 158 collided with a truck.

1946: Joe Dawson (57), winner of the 1912 Indianapolis 500, died. Dawson competed in the Indianapolis 500 race three times, beginning in 1911 when he drove a Marmon to a fifth-place finish. The following year, Dawson won after Ralph DePalma, who had led for 196 laps of the 200 lap race, dropped out with a mechanical failure. Continue Reading →

1950: Juan Manuel Fangio in an Alfa Romeo 158 won the Belgian Grand Prix Spa-Francorchamps. By the time of the Belgian Grand Prix, the pace of the season was beginning to tell, with only 14 cars arriving at the Spa circuit. These included the dominant Alfa Romeos of Nino Farina, Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli. Continue Reading →

1950: Bill Blair won the 100-mile NASCAR stock car race on the 1/2-mile dirt track in Vernon, New York, USA. This was the first NASCAR win for Mercury.

1961: The organisers of the Belgian Grand Prix invited 25 entries, but were only going to pay starting money to 19: sixteen pre-selected cars plus the 3 fastest of the remaining 9. The race was completely dominated by the Ferrari team, with the four works drivers finishing 1-2-3-4. While Graham Hill made an amazing start to the lead from the third row, he could not hold off the Italian cars and all had passed him by the end of the first lap. Continue Reading →

1966: Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, driving a Ford GT40 Mk2, won the Le Mans 24-hour race, becoming the first to exceed 3,000 total miles during the event.

1967: Giacomo Russo (29) died. Racing under the pseudonym ‘Geki’, Russo entered Formula 1 as multiple Italian Formula Junior and Formula 3 Champion, initially by renting one of Rob Walker’s Brabham-BRMs for the 1965 Italian Grand Prix. He failed to qualify for his home Grand Prix at the time but made the grid with a third Team Lotus entry the following year. Continue Reading →

1967: At the wheel of his Anglo American Racers’ Eagle T1G-Weslake V12, American Dan Gurney won the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix, setting the fastest lap and a new record average speed of 145.99 mph (234.946 km/h). It would remain the only win in Formula 1 for the marque, as well as for engine supplier Weslake. It was the first Grand Prix victory for an American driving an American car since Jimmy Murphy won the 1921 French Grand Prix at Le Mans in his Duesenberg 46 years earlier.

1989: Belgian driver Thierry Boutsen won his first Formula One race, the Canadian Grand Prix. It was the first win for the Williams-Renault partnership, which lasted until the end of the 1997 season and went on to win four Drivers’ and five Constructors’ World Championships in that time.

2000: The 38th Canadian Grand Prix and the 22nd to be held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, run held over 69 laps was won by eventual 2000 World Champion, German driver Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari F1-2000. The win was Schumacher’s fifth win of the season and his fourth Canadian Grand Prix victory, a new record.

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