26-27 June: This weekend in Motor Sports History

Discover the most momentous motor sporting events that took place this weekend in history

~26 June~

1902: (26th- 28th) The 1902 Gordon Bennett Cup was run over a distance of 565 km from Paris to Innsbruck in conjunction with the Paris-Vienna motor car race. The race started in Paris on June 26. Competing were 30 heavy cars, 48 light cars, six voiturettes, three motorcycles, and three motorcyclettes. Each nation was allowed to nominate up to three cars to compete for the Gordon Bennett Cup, but only six entries were received, three French and three British. The Automobile Club of Great Britain announced that car No. 160 driven by Mr White, and car No. 45, made by Napier & Son of London with Dunlop tyres, driven by Mr Edge would represent the club. The Times announced on June 30th that Edge had won the Gordon Bennett Cup. 

1906: The inaugural French Grand Prix, staged in Le Mans by the Automobile Club of France (ACF), was won by Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz in a 90hp 13 litre Renault Typ AK at an average speed of 63 mph. Although this wasn’t the first event to carry the title, history has cemented its place as the start of ‘grand prix’ racing proper. The idea for the grand prix arose from the annual Gordon Bennett Cup races after the French – then leading the world in car production and sales – had thrown a strop because Gordon Bennett rules limited competing cars to three per nation.

1915: The two mile Chicago board track opened with a 500-mile AAA saunctioned race, won by Dario Resta’s Peugeot at 97.58 mph. Before the race Barney Oldfield set a speed of over 111 mph in an exhibition run.

1960: NASCAR Hall of Famer Glen Wood scored a wire-to-wire victory at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, US, starting third and leading all 200 laps of the International 200. Wood finished half a lap ahead of Lee Petty, the last driver on the lead lap. Rex White took third place.

1977: The Grand Prix de Rouen-les-Essarts was won by Eddie Cheever in a BMW – aged 19 years, 168 days – to become the youngest winner of a Formula 2 race.


~27 June~

1901: The Paris-Berlin Trail began. Run over 687 miles and three stages (June 27th Paris-Aachen – 285 miles; June 28th Aachen-Hanover – 278 miles and June 29th Hanover-Berlin – 186 miles) the race was won by Henri Fournier (France) driving a Mors in a time of 15 hours 33 minutes 6 seconds. Charles Stewart Rolls with mechanic Claud Crompton entered in a Mors and finished 18th.

1902: The first Susa-Mont Cenis (Italy) speed hillclimb was won by Vincenzo Lancia in a Fiat.

1914: The International Austrian Alpine Run was one of the most famous races of its time. August Horch took part in an Audi for the first time in 1911 and won first prize. This encouraged him to enter an Audi team in the challenge trophy in the years 1912 to 1914. Audi won the team prize in each of these three years. The Alpine Challenge Trophy was presented to the Audi drivers on this day.

1926: The smallest field ever to start a classic Grand Prix was made up of just three Bugattis, at the French Grand Prix at Miramas. One driven by Jules Goux completed the 100-lap distance, one finished 15 laps behind and the third retired.

1948: The San Remo Grand Prix, a non-Championship Voiturette motor race was held at the Autodromo di Ospedaletti, in San Remo, Liguria, Italy. Contested over 85 laps, it was won by Alberto Ascari in a Maserati 4CLT/48, starting from pole position. Luigi Villoresi finished second also in a Maserati 4CLT/48 and Clemar Bucci third, driving a Maserati 4CL 1502.

1965: Jim Clark in a Lotus Climax won the French Grand Prix on his way to clinching the World Drivers Championship. This race turned out to be the last win Jim Clark would score with the Lotus 25. It was the last time he ever drove the car in a World Championship race.

1982: David Pearson rolled from the pole position to land his only victory in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, winning the Coca-Cola 200 at North Carolina Motor Speedway in Rockingham, US. Pearson, who made just six Nationwide starts in his Hall of Fame career, led a sweep of the top four positions by Pontiac drivers. Dale Earnhardt finished second with Phil Parsons third.

1994: Samuel Hanks (79), believed to be the only Indianapolis 500 driver to participate in the race before World War II, serve in the war effort, then return to race again after the war, died. It has also been conjectured that Hanks may have been a distant relative to Abraham Lincoln. He is remembered as a fair but determined racer, recognized, respected and admired as a true sportsman.

1999: Contested over 72 laps of the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, the French Grand Prix was won by Heinz-Harald Frentzen driving a Jordan car after starting from fifth position. Mika Häkkinen finished second driving for McLaren, with Rubens Barrichello finishing third for the Stewart team. 

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