1901: The Paris–Berlin Trial over 687 miles (1105 km) was won by Henri Fournier (France) driving a Mors in a time of 15:33:06. The race is in retrospect sometimes referred to as the VI Grand Prix de l’ACF.
1902: Marcel Renault won the four-day Paris-to-Vienna race, driving a car of his own design. The early city-to-city races were the largest sporting events of that era. Some three million people turned out to cheer Renault on to victory during the 15-hour, 615-mile race. These races were discontinued in large part due to Renault’s fatal accident the following year at the Paris-Madrid race. The French government halted the race in Bordeaux following the tragic accident. Millions of people lined the raceways during the first years of car racing, and dozens were killed each year. Race organizers were unable to keep up with the rapid advancement of engine technology that propelled the racers at higher and higher speeds each year. Road racing in Europe was banned in most places after 1904. It would take years to erase the damage to motor racing’s reputation that was incurred in those first few gladiatorial years.
1907: Mongini and Zach covered 1,037 miles driving a Locomobile in winning the 24 hour race at the Hamline Avenue race track in the “Twin Cities” of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, US.
1907: Selwyn Edge completed a single-handed 24 hour drive to celebrate the opening of the Brooklands Track. Resting only when his 60 hp Napier had to be refueled or provided with fresh tyres, he covered 1,581 miles 1,310 yards at an average speed of 65.905 mph and afterwards drove back to his hotel in Cobham. During the run 24 tyres were changed. Such was the advantage of the banked Brooklands track that the Napier’s 24 hour distance record would stand until the fourth running of the Le Mans 24 hour race in 1926. Edge also pushed the one hour distance record to 70.07 miles in same attempt.
1923: A Fiat 803 won the 340 mile race at Brescia, Italy. This was the first European race won by a supercharged car.
1929: The “Blower” Bentley, a 4.5-litre with a Villiers supercharger, made its racing debut with Tim Birkin’s car retiring in the Brooklands 12 Hour Race with bearing failure.
1941: Legendary German driver Walter Bäumer died in a freak accident on the road between Herford and his hometown Bünde at an age of 32. Bäumer was being kissed by a female passenger when the car door opened in a corner and Bäumer fell out on a field, receiving fatal wounds in his neck from a sharp wooden object.
1947: Jean-Pierre Wimille in an Alfa Romeo 158 won the Belgian Grand Prix contested over 35 laps of the 8.70 mile Spa-Francorchamps road circuit.
1952: Tom Cherry bagged the 100-mile NASCAR Speedway Division race at Langhorne Speedway, the final event staged for the new open-wheel class. A paralyzing nationwide steel strike and a blisteringly hot summer were factors in the early demise of the once-promising series.
1952: NASCAR traveled to the US auto manufacturing center in Detroit Michigan for a scheduled 250 mile event, dubbed the Motor Sports 250. The race was held at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Speedway; a one-mile dirt oval built in 1899. NASCAR offered its first 5-figured purse of $11,675 to the contestants, and driver Tim Flock came away with the winners share of $5,050. Fans watched as Flock led laps 88 – 110, until driver Buddy Shuman took the lead for one lap on the 111th circuit. Flock retook the fourth and final lead change on the next lap, and went on to lead the remaining laps of the event. Shuman finished the event in second place, capturing a total of $2,225. The 4-plus hour event concluded with over half of the 47 contestants still running at the drop of the checkered flag.
1957: Giuseppe Bacciagaluppi, managing director of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, staged the first race at his newly remodeled track, a match race between the top 10 Indy Car drivers and the top 10 Formula One drivers in the world. Monza enjoyed the reputation of being Europe’s fastest racetrack. Jimmy Bryan of the United States won the Two Worlds Trophy in a Salih roadster at 160mph. The race did little to settle the dispute as to where the world’s best drivers reside, on the high-speed ovals of the United States or on the curvy Grand Prix tracks of Europe. In those days, many racers bridged the gap between the two worlds– like Jim Clark, who won at Indy in the same year he captured the F1 crown. Today it is widely held that the world’s best drivers compete on the F1 circuit, though the specialized cars of today make the two types of racing more difficult to compare.
1958: Rex White took command when Cotton Owens drops out with wheel bearing failure, notching win No. 2 in NASCAR’s top series at Asheville-Weaverville (North Carolina, US) Speedway. White, who led 127 of 200 laps on the half-mile asphalt track, was one lap ahead of runner-up Buck Baker at the finish. Speedy Thompson came home third.
1965: Ferdinando Latteri drove a Ferrari 330 GTO to victory in the Coppa Sila Hillclimb in Italy.
1980: Alan Jones driving a Williams-Cosworth FW07B won the French Grand Prix held at Paul Ricard Circuit. This race also saw the final appearance of Shadow Racing Cars.
1997: The French Grand Prix (formally the LXXXIII French Grand Prix) contested over 72 laps of the Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours, was won by Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari car after starting from pole position. Heinz-Harald Frentzen finished second driving for the Williams team, with Eddie Irvine third in the other Ferrari. Schumacher’s win was his third of the season and his second consecutive win having won the preceding Canadian Grand Prix.
2003: Contested over 60 laps of the Nürburgring, the European Grand Prix was won Ralf Schumacher driving a Williams-BMW FW25. Juan Pablo Montoya, also driving for Williams finished second, with Rubens Barrichello third in a Ferrari.
1901: The Coppa Italia run over 4 laps of the 75 km circuit at Padua was won by Guido Adami driving a Panhard 16 hp.
1910: The seventh Glidden tour ended in Chicago, and was won by Ray McNamara in a Premier. The original Glidden Tours were held from 1902 through 1913. They were named after Charles J. Glidden, a financier and automobile enthusiast, who presented the AAA with a trophy first awarded to the winner of the 1905 tour.
1929: The French Grand Prix (formally, the XXIII Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France) held over 37 laps of a 16.34 km (10.15 miles) Le Mans circuit for a total race distance of 604.58 km (375.67 miles), was won by “W. Williams,” driving a Bugatti T35B.
1956: “Tiger” Tom Pistone prevailed in the first of three races for NASCAR’s Convertible Series at Chicago’s Soldier Field (US). Pistone, a Windy City native, took the lead from Curtis Turner with six laps left to secure the first of two career wins in the old ragtop division. Turner, who led the other 194 laps, settled for second place. Bill Lutz came home third, two laps down on the half-mile asphalt track.
1963: Jim Clark took the lead at the start from Richie Ginther in the BRM at the French Grand Prix at Reims. All Graham Hill’s hard work in qualifying second despite mechanical problems in practice came to nothing when his engine died on the grid and his car had to be push started. The subsequent one-minute penalty dropped him well back. Clark led dominantly, his lead being extended when a stone pierced Ginther’s radiator, forcing him into the pits. Jack Brabham took second place after a strong fight with Trevor Taylor, who also suffered mechanical problems. Brabham then began to gain significantly on Clark as the Scot’s Climax engine started to splutter, however this proved to be a sporadic fault and he had enough of a lead to maintain the position. It was Brabham himself who dropped out when a lead came adrift, handing second and third to Tony Maggs and a delighted Hill. Clark was over a minute ahead of them after yet another start-to-finish victory. However, Hill was awarded no championship points for his third place after his push start.
1966: Giuseppe Antonio ‘Nino’ Farina (59) – cover image, Italian racing driver died. He stands out in the history of Grand Prix motor racing for his much copied ‘straight-arm’ driving style and his status as the first ever Formula One World Champion.The first ever Formula One World Champion came from a privileged background and had a stylish driving technique that was adopted by many drivers. A hard and determined racer, Farina relied on a combination of profound self belief and raw courage to compensate for the superior skills possessed by many of his more naturally talented opponents. Yet he also drove recklessly and few Formula One drivers ever competed with such apparent disregard for their personal safety.
1970: Kelly Petillo (68), winner of the 1935 Indianapolis 500, died. Petillo competed in the Indianapolis 500 on ten occasions, winning the race in 1935 in a year that marked the first win by a car powered by an Offenhauser engine. Petillo went on to win the 1935 AAA National Driving Championship. In 1937, Petillo participated in the Vanderbilt Cup but engine problems forced him out of the race. In 1942, Petillo sustained a concussion and lacerations after a road accident when his car collided with a freight train. Petillo was denied entry to the 1946 Indianapolis 500, and sued the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for $50,000. Off the track, Petillo had numerous run-ins with the law, including charges of attempted rape and attempted murder. Police arrested him in victory lane after winning a race at Owosso Speedway, on charges of assault to commit murder seven days earlier. He was sentenced to ten years in the Indiana State Prison. He was released on parole in 1955, but went missing. He was re-captured in 1957, incidentally, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was returned to prison until 1959, after which he was denied entry to the Indianapolis 500 in 1959 and 1960, officially due to age. After his exclusion in 1959, he again filed a lawsuit for $50,000 against the speedway and the United States Auto Club.
1974: Eddie Johnson (55), American racecar driver died in a plane crash near Cleveland, Ohio. The National Transportation Safety Board ruled the probable cause was pilot error, specifically attempting to fly visually in unsuitable weather and structurally overloading the airplane. He drove in the AAA and USAC Championship Car series, racing in the 1950–1952 and 1955–1966 seasons with 33 starts, including the Indianapolis 500 races in all of those years but the first two. He finished in the top ten 9 times, with his best finish in 3rd position, in 1959 at Trenton. Late in his career, Johnson frequently came to Indianapolis without an assigned car only to be signed on to a team which needed a driver to put a struggling car in the race. In 1965, Johnson became the last person on the track in the Indianapolis 500 mile race with a naturally aspirated Offenhauser in a roadster. Johnson was flagged to finish in 10th place. Johnson was a high school acquaintance of 1950 Indianapolis 500 winner Johnny Parsons.
1996: The French Grand Prix held over 72 laps of the Circuit de Nevers, Magny-Cours, France was won by Damon Hill for the Williams team, from a second position start. Jacques Villeneuve finished second in the other Williams, with Jean Alesi third for the Benetton team. Pole-sitter Michael Schumacher retired on the formation lap when his engine failed and Johnny Herbert was disqualified from 11th because of bodywork irregularities.
2013: Nico Rosberg won the British Grand Prix for the Mercedes team, from a second position start. Mark Webber finished second in a Red Bull car, with Fernando Alonso third in a Ferrari. Lewis Hamilton took pole position ahead of teammate Rosberg, with Championship leader Sebastian Vettel third. The race was marred by several tyre punctures. Hamilton, along with Felipe Massa, Jean-Éric Vergne and Sergio Pérez suffered left-rear tyre blowouts, while Esteban Gutiérrez was subject to a left-front tyre blowout and Alonso’s right-rear deflated just before a pitstop.