Thursday 14th June 1900
The first of the famous Gordon Bennett Cup races, instigated by the eponymous proprietor of the New York Herald after he moved to Paris to set up a French edition of the paper, was run over a 340-mile course (Paris-Chartres-Orléans-Nevers-Moulins-Roanne-Lyon). France, Germany, England, Italy, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the United States were invited to take part and each nation could enter a maximum of three cars powered by an internal-combustion engine, steam or electricity. There was a minimum requirement of 40 kg weight, an insistence on two seats and a requirement that the cars should be built entirely in the country they represented. In future the race was to be held each year in the country that won the cup. Only four teams were represented at the start that year – the United States, France, Germany and Belgium. Fernand Charron won the race for France in a Panchard at an average speed of 39 mph, beating fellow countryman Léonce Girardot by 1 hour 27 minutes.