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1-2 July: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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~1 July ~

1899: Mme Labrousse, believed to be the first woman to compete in an automotive speed event, finished fifth in the Paris-Spa race.

Mme Labrousse
Mme Labrousse

1900: Vincenzo Lancia made his racing debut, winning a speed trial at Padua, Italy in a 6-hp Fiat. The winner of the quadricycle class in the Padua-Vicenza-Padua was Ettore Bugatti in what would be his last known racing competition as a driver.

1934: The French Grand Prix (formally the XX Grand Prix de l’Automobile Club de France) held at Montlhéry over 40 laps of the12.5km circuit, was won by Louis Chiron driving an Alfa Romeo B/P3.

1948: Italian racing driver Archille Varzi (43) died during practise for the Swiss Grand Prix. A light rain fell on the Bremgarten track. Varzi’s Alfa Romeo 158 skidded on the wet surface, flipping over and crushing him to death., which resulted in the FIA mandating the wearing of crash helmets for racing, which had been optional previously.

1951: Round 4 four of the 1951 World Drivers’ Championship, the French Grand Prix was won by Juan Manuel Fangio and Luigi Fagioli driving an Alfa Romeo 159. It was the first of three occasions where two drivers would be credited with a Grand Prix win after sharing a car.

1956: Peter Collins showed his win at Spa was no fluke with a thrilling victory over Ferrari team-mate Eugenio Castellotti at the French Grand Prix, a result which gave him a four-and-a-half point lead in the drivers’ championship. This was the first time a Briton had led the World Drivers Championship. The self-effacing 24-year-old admitted afterwards he only raced for the fun of it. Continue Reading →

Hugh Randall's fatal crash
Hugh Randall’s fatal crash

1962: Racer Hugh Randall (29) died when his Vargo Special crashed during the 100-mile USAC Championship Race in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, US.

1965: Matra recorded its first racing victory, with Jean-Pierre Beltoise winning the Formula 3 International Trophy race at Reims, France.

1973: Ayrton Senna entered and won his first go-kart race.

1973: Swede Ronnie Peterson in a Lotus-Cosworth 72E, won his first Formula 1 race, the French Grand Prix held at the Paul Ricard Circuit. Tyrrell driver François Cevert finished in second place, whilst Carlos Reutemann finished in third place, driving a Brabham. This race was notable for a collision involving Jody Scheckter and Emerson Fittipaldi. Continue Reading →

1979: The French Grand Prix was held at Dijon.It marked the first victory of a turbocharged car in Formula One, with Renault overcoming the reliability problems that had initially plagued their car. For Jean-Pierre Jabouille it was a victory on home soil, driving a French car (Renault), on French tyres (Michelin), powered by a French engine (Renault), burning French fuel (Elf). Jabouille was the first Frenchman to win the French Grand Prix since Jean-Pierre Wimille in 1948.

1989: Davey Allison took control when pole-starter Mark Martin runs out of fuel while leading with five laps left to win the Pepsi 400 at Daytona International Speedway, Florida, US. For Allison, it was the sixth of his 19 wins in NASCAR’s top series. Morgan Shepherd held on for second, . Continue Reading →

2001: Contested over 72 laps, the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours was won by Michael Schumacher driving a Ferrari car, from a second position start. Ralf Schumacher finished second for the Williams team with Rubens Barrichello third in the other Ferrari.

2006: A1 Grand Prix underwent an official branding change and the series officially became known as A1GP World Cup of Motorsport to better convey its nation versus nation concept.

2007: Contested over 70 laps of the Magny-Cours Circuit, the French Grand Prix was won by Kimi Räikkönen for the Ferrari team after starting from third position. Felipe Massa, who started the race from pole position, finished second in the latter Ferrari, with Lewis Hamilton third in a McLaren.

~2 July ~

1899: Fritz Held won the Great Gold Medal in the 120 mile (193.2 km) Frankfurt-Cologne endurance race at an average speed of 14 mph (22.5 km/h); another 8 hp Benz, driven by Emil Graf, came 2nd.

1900: The first Padova to Bovolenta automobile, voiturette and motorcycle race in Italy began. The first day had a 10-kilometre (6.2 mile) straight race between the cities of Padova and Bovolenta in Italy, followed by a 1-kilometre (0. Continue Reading →

Jenatzy, 1903 Gordon Bennett winner, driving a Mercedes.
Jenatzy, 1903 Gordon Bennett winner, driving a Mercedes.

1903: The fourth Gordon Bennett Cup began. It was the first international motor race to be held in Ireland, being run over seven laps (327.5 miles) of the Athy Circuit in County Kildare, which consisted of closed roads. Continue Reading →

1905: The world’s first 24-hour race began at the Driving Park track in Columbia, Ohio, US. The Soules brothers won the race in their Pope-Toledo, covering 828.5 miles.

1907: Thirty eight cars started the French Grand Prix at one minute intervals to complete 10 laps of a 48-mile (77 km) circuit on a triangular circuit near the city of Dieppe. The field was led away by Vincenzo Lancia’s Fiat. The race was run under a fuel consumption limit of 30 litres per 100 kilometres (7. Continue Reading →

1921: H. Le Vack on an Indian, won the 500-mile motorcycle race at Brooklands in England.

Start of the 1923 French Grand Prix at Tours
Start of the 1923 French Grand Prix at Tours

1923: Henry Seagrave driving a Sunbeam won the French Grand Prix, run over 35 laps of a public road circuit in Tours (496 miles) in a time of 6 hours 35 minutes and 19 seconds.

1938: Geoffrey Taylor, driving a 2-litre Ala Romeo, set a 1/2-mile record of 80.18 mph at the Brighton Speed Trials.

1939: Raymond Sommer in an Alfa Romeo 308 won the Grand Prix des Remparts, contested over 80 laps (1.287 km) of the Circuit des Remparts in Angoulême, France. This urban race track returned after World War II as part of the Grand Prix season from 1947 to 1951, hosting events where famous drivers could be seen, such as Juan Manuel Fangio, Maurice Trintignant, Raymond Sommer, Robert Manzon, André Simon and the like. Continue Reading →

1950: Juan Manuel Fangio put on a stunning display, including a 116 mph practice lap, to win the French Grand Prix at Reims, driving a Alfa Romeo 158. A total of 22 cars entered the event, four of which did not start the race. Gianfranco Comotti did not attend the event, Eugène Chaboud did not start in his own car, instead sharing Philippe Étancelin’s Talbot-Lago, and the two Scuderia Ferrari entries of Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari withdrew in practice. Continue Reading →

1961: Giancarlo Baghetti won the French Grand Prix for Ferrari at Reims, the only driver to win their first Grand Prix. The DeTomaso made its Formula 1 debut ay the Grand Prix, but the Type F2/001 driven by Georgio Scarlatti retired with engine failure.

1964: Racer Glenn ‘Fireball’ Roberts (35) died from injuries suffered during a NASCAR race on 24 May in Charlotte, North Carolina, US.

1967: Jack Brabham in a Brabham-Repco BT24 won the first French Grand Prix to be held in Le Mans since the first ever running of the race in 1906. The new Bugatti circuit at Le Mans used the main pit straight at Le Mans, which back in 1967 did not have the Dunlop Chicane, but then turned right at “La Chapelle” into an infield section comprising the third gear “Le Musée” left hander and the second gear “Garage Vert” corner which led onto the back straight, whose only distinctive feature was the “Chemin Aux Boeups” left hand kink (now a left-right chicane) some two-thirds along, before heading back to the pit straight via the “S Bleu” and “Raccordement” corners near the entrance to the pits. Graham Hill was on pole and led away for the first lap until Jack Brabham took over. Continue Reading →

57765b01095aa1967: The first Formula Ford race was staged at Brands Hatch, England. Of the 20 cars that competed, 10 were MRS Lotus 51s, including the eventual winner, Ray Allan. Formula Ford is not a one-make championship. Continue Reading →

1972: Jackie Stewart in a Tyrrell-Cosworth 003 won the French Grand Prix held at Clermont-Ferrand. The Charade circuit’s natural setting around the base of an extinct volcano created safety concerns due to the dark, volcanic rocks which fell from the mountain onto both sides of the track.Drivers who skirted the track edge would often send rocks flying into the middle of the road and into the path of pursuing competitors. Continue Reading →

Start of the 1972 French Grand Prix
Start of the 1972 French Grand Prix

1985:Former Formula One driver David Purley (40) died when his Pitts Special aerobatic biplane crashed into the sea off Bognor Regis, Sussex. Purley is best known for his actions at the 1973 Dutch Grand Prix, where he abandoned his own race and attempted to save the life of fellow driver Roger Williamson, whose car was upside down and on fire following a serious accident. Purley was awarded the George Medal for his courage in trying to save Williamson, who suffocated in the blaze. Continue Reading →

1995: Michael Schumacher in a Benetton-Renault B195 extended his championship lead over Damon Hill to 11 points, by winning the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours.

2002: Michael Schumacher won the French Grand Prix to secure his 5th World Drivers’ Championship title, equalling Juan Manuel Fangio’s record set over 40 years before. McLaren-Mercedes drivers Kimi Räikkönen and David Coulthard finished second and third, respectively.

2006: Michael Schumacher won the United States Grand Prix for a fifth time, becoming the first five-time winner of a major event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

2006: Scott Moran, set a Harewood Speed Hillclimb, West Yorkshire outright record of 49.19sec in his 600 bhp (450 kW) Gould GR61x single seater race car.

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