27-28 May: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

~27 May~

1905: White’s ‘Whistling Billy’ steam car made its racing debut, with Webb Jay winning the opening 10-mile race at Chicago’s Harlem Racetrack. Arguably the most famous steam car ever produced, ‘Whistling Billy’ was one of the fastest cars of the American dirt track races in the early 20th century, before being all but destroyed in a crash in 1912 and left to rust on an American farm. Whistling Billy was engineered specifically for racing. Continue Reading →
1916: Barney Oldfield ran a qualifying lap in his front-wheel-drive Christie at 102.6 mph. It was the first time any driver had rounded the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in excess of 100 mph. Continue Reading →
1923: The first Le Mans 24-Hour race concluded. Winners Andre Lagache and Renee Leonard covered 1,372.928 miles in a 3 litre Chenard et Walcker.Continue Reading →

1951: Stirling Moss made his Formula One debut at the Swiss Grand Prix held at Bremgarten. Juan Manuel Fangio in his Alfa Romeo was on pole and set fastest lap of the race to his winning in a time of 2:07:53. over a minute later, Piero Taruffi in his Ferrari was second after starting sixth and Giuseppe Farina in an Alfa was third, he started second on the grid. Consalvo Sanesi was fourth in his Alfa Romeo one lap down from the winner, Emmanuel de Graffenried was fifth in another Alfa.
1953: The four-day East African Coronation Safari in Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika began, as a celebration of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1960 it was renamed the East African Safari Rally and it kept that name until 1974, when it became the Safari Rally. .
1962: The 1498 cc Lotus-Ford Twin Cam engine made its race debut in a Lotus 23 sports car during the Nurburgring 1000 km race.

1970: The 1970 London-Mexico World Cup Rally, the first of two World Cup Rallies to be held and the second of four marathon rallies to be held in a nine-year period beginning with the 1968 London-Sydney Marathon, ended. The motor rally started at Wembley Stadium in London on 19 April 1970 and finished in Mexico City, covering approximately 16,000 miles (25,750 km) through Europe and South America. It was won by Hannu Mikkola and Gunnar Palm, driving a Ford Escort.
1972: Dennis Priddle achieved the first six-second run outside the United States with a 6.995 /185 he followed it up with a 6.93/208 mph at the Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire.
1972: Gary Bettenhausen led 138 laps of the Indianapolis 500 until his engine blew on lap 176. Jerry Grant gained the lead but pitted for new tyres on lap 188 in teammate Bobby Unser’s pit. Bettenhausen’s Penske team mate Mark Donohue win after leading 13 laps. Continue Reading →
1977: The Donington Park circuit closed in 1939 due to World War II, when it became a military vehicle depot, re-opened.
1979: The 37th Monaco Grand Prix won by polesitter Jody Scheckter in a Ferrari 312T4 ahead of Clay Regazzoni (Williams FW07) and Carlos Reutemann (Lotus 79). Patrick Depailler set the fastest lap of the race in a Ligier JS11. It was the last race of 1976 World Champion James Hunt’s Formula One career.
1984: Rick Mears won his second Indianapolis 500. Race rookies included Michael Andretti, Roberto Guerrero, and Al Holbert.

1990: Arie Luyendyk (Netherlands) completed the Indianapolis 500 in 2 hours 41 minutes 18.404 seconds, at an average speed of 299.3 km/h (186 mph), in a Lola-Chevrolet.
1990: The 48th Monaco Grand Prix held over 78 laps of the three kilometre circuit for a race distance of 259 kilometres was won by defending race champion Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna, who led every lap of the race driving a McLaren MP4/5B. Like his previous win in the US, Senna’s rival for the race was the unexpected form of young French driver Jean Alesi driving a Tyrrell 019. Senna held a one second gap over Alesi at the finish. Continue Reading →
2001: Michael Schumacher driving for the Ferrari team won the Monaco Grand Prix, contested over 78 laps. Rubens Barrichello finished second in the other Ferrari with Eddie Irvine third for the Jaguar team. Schumacher’s win was his fourth of season, and Irvine’s third place was the first podium position for the Jaguar team.

~28 May~

1900: The Bologna-Corticella-Pog R–Malalbergo-Bologna road race in Italy was won by Lorenzo Ginori in a Bolide.

1907: The first Isle of Man TT Races took place, over the triangular St John’s Circuit. from St John’s → Ballacraine → Kirk Michael → Peel → St John’s. The race was ten laps of the 15 mile 1,430 yards course, a total race distance of 158.125 miles. At 10am 25 riders started in pairs in a time-trial format for the road-legal touring motorcycles with exhaust silencers, saddles, pedals and mud-guards. On lap 1, Jack Marshall riding a Triumph suffered a fall and F. Applebee Junior a puncture to his 5 hp Rex machine. By lap 2, Stanley Webb riding a 5 hp Triumph had to stop at St. Johns to adjust a belt and retired on lap 3 with an engine exhaust-valve problem. At the compulsory 10‑minute replenishment stop, Oliver Godfrey had to retire when his 5 hp Rex motorcycle caught fire. The single-cylinder class race was won by Charles R. Collier riding a Matchless in 4 hours, 8 minutes and 8 seconds at an average race speed of 38.21 mph. His brother Harry Collier, also riding a Matchless, had problems with an engine seizure on lap 2 and eventually retired on lap 9. The twin-cylinder class and overall race was initially led by Rem Fowler riding a Norton. On lap 1, Fowler completed the course in 23 minutes and 19 seconds, in second place was Billy Wells in a time of 23 minutes and 21 seconds and Charlie Collier in the single-cylinder class with a time of 23 minutes and 45 seconds. The overall lead fell away as Fowler suffered a number of problems with drive-belts and spark-plugs, and on lap 7 crashed at nearly 60 mph due to a burst tyre at the “Devils Elbow” on the Kirk Michael to Peel section of the course. Fowler nearly gave up, but was told by a spectator that he led the twin-cylinder class by 30 minutes from Wells and went on to win at an average race speed of 36.22 mph and set the fastest lap of the race at 42.91 mph.
1932: The legendary Hockenheim circuit staged its first race, a motorcycle race, run over a 12 km unpaved layout. It was an anti-clockwise circuit, and it was used until 1937, after which it was remodelled to form the 7.7 km/4.78 mile circuit. Continue Reading →
1933: The international Eifelrennen was the only major race at the Nürburgring in 1933 but the organization and meaning of the event held now on the North Loop portrayed that of an earlier German Grand Prix. Initially Chiron held the lead until his car gave trouble. Then Tazio Nuvolari took over from lap two onwards, never to relinquish the lead. Continue Reading

1933: Clashes in the calendar meant that the Targa Florio entry list was the weakest in many years with only 14 Italian drivers and with Scuderia Ferrari as the only team. What looked to be a foregone conclusion turned to a surprise when Borzacchini who was dominating the race crashed, handing the victory to his Bugatti team mate Pietro Ghersi.
1955: Bob Sweikert won the Indianapolis 500 with an average speed of 128.213 mph.
1961: “Lucky” Casner and Masten Gregory drove the Camoradi Maserati Tipo 61 to victory in the 1000 kilometre sports car race on the Nurburgring in Germany using only one set of tyres.
1973: Rain delayed the start of the Indianapolis 500 until the afernoon. At the start, Salt Walther tangled with another car and flipped into the catch fencing, injuring several spectators. Rain prevented the race from resuming. Continue Reading →

1978: Al Unser easily led the Indianapolis 500 but bent his Lola’s front wing in the pitlane on lap 180. Tom Sneva charged to catch the crippled Lola but was 8 seconds short at the finish. Unser led 121 laps and held on for a third win on a very hot day. Continue Reading →
1983: Driving a Porsche 956, Stefan Bellof set the record for the fastest lap on the 12.9-mile Nürburgring track, .6 minutes and 11.13 seconds, averaging 125.6 mph. In 1975, on the 14.2-mile track, F1 champ Niki Lauda lapped a Ferrari 312T in 6 minutes and 58.6 seconds, averaging 122 mph.
1989: Two time Formula 1 Emerson Fittipaldi won a thrilling Indianapolis 500 at an average speed of 167.581 mph.Continue Reading →
1989:The Mexican Grand Prix held at the Autodrome Hermanos Rodriguez, was won from pole position by Ayrton Senna driving a McLaren-Honda MP4/5 in a time of 1:35:21. Fifth place starter. Riccardo Patrese drove well to finish second 15. Continue Reading →
1995: Jacques Villeneuve became the first Canadian to win the Indianapolis 500. Because of a 2-lap penalty for passing the pace car, he covered 505 miles to get the win. Also in this race, Honda became the first Japanese engine to participate in the 500.
2000: Juan Pablo Montoya dominated the Indianapolis 500 by leading 167 of the 200 laps and winning for Chip Ganassi Racing. He was the first rookie to win the coveted event since Graham Hill did it in 1966.
2006: The Monaco Grand Prix is remembered by many people for Michael Schumacher’s actions during the closing stages of the qualifying session for the race. Schumacher stopped his car in the Rascasse corner preventing his rival Fernando Alonso improving his time and most likely taking pole off Schumacher. Whether the move was deliberate is still a matter of debate. Continue Reading →
2006: Sam Hornish Jr. earned his first Indianapolis 500 victory – and the record 14th Indy win for team owner Roger Penske – in dramatic fashion by passing rookie Marco Andretti on the last lap, just before the finish line. Hornish’s margin of victory was 0. Continue Reading →

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