Discover the momentous motor sporting events that took place this weekend in history ………
1898: The Paris–Amsterdam–Paris Race which began on the 7th July and run over 889 miles of unsurfaced roads was won by Fernand Charron, driving a Panhard et Levassor, in a time of 33 hours at an average speed of 27 mph.
1924: The first Coppa Acerbo was staged and won by a then-unknown junior driver by the name of Enzo Ferrari, later to find fame as the creator of Ferrari and head of the Formula One team Scuderia Ferrari. The race was ran annually until 1961 for the top class of international competition. The only real limiting factor on vehicle specifications being the cars’ ability to transmit power through the inadequate tyres of the day. The race was named after Tito Acerbo, the brother of Giacomo Acerbo, a prominent fascist politician. Following Italy’s defeat in World War II, and the consequent demise of fascism, the race was renamed the Circuito di Pescara.
1947: The first race for 500 cc cars that were to become the basis of the first International Formula 3 in 1950 was run at Gransden Lodge in Cambridgeshire. Winner was Eric Brandon, driving a Cooper – a foretaste of the marque’s coming domination of the class.
1963: Glen Wood notched the last of his four wins in NASCAR’s top series, outdueling Ned Jarrett at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Wood started from the pole position and led 95 laps of the 200-lap main event, finishing five seconds ahead of Jarrett at the checkered flag. Buck Baker took third place, two laps down. Wood, who was enshrined in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2012, scored all four of his wins at Bowman Gray before cementing his legacy as a car owner and mechanic.
1968: Al Unser Sr. won his first USAC National Championship race, a 100 mile night race on the dirt in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
1980: Alan Jones’ victory at the British Grand Prix was his third victory in a row as he built his charge towards becoming the 1980 World Drivers’ Champion. Jones won by eleven seconds over the man becoming his arch-rival, Brazilian driver Nelson Piquet driving a Brabham BT49.
1986: Nigel Mansell secured a popular home win at Brands Hatch but the day was marred by a massive pile-up which started when Thierry Boutsen lost control of his Arrows and resulted in the innocent Jacques Laffite crashing head-on into a barrier – cover image. The 42-year-old Laffite, who was equalling Graham Hill’s record of 176 grands prix starts, had to be cut from the wreckage and the accident brought to an end his F1 career. After an hour-and-a-half delay the race was restarted, and once Mansell had taken an early lead his only moments of concern came on the final laps when he had to ease off to conserve fuel.
1993: NASCAR legend David Carl “Davey” Allison (32) died in a helicopter crash. He was attempting to land the helicopter inside a fenced-in area of the track infield when the craft nosed up suddenly, then crashed. The National Transportation Safety Board blamed the crash on Allison’s inexperience in helicopters, coupled with the decision to attempt a landing. Allison was best known for driving the No. 28 Texaco-Havoline Ford for Robert Yates Racing in the Winston Cup Series. Born in Hollywood, Florida, he was the eldest of four children born to Bobby Allison and wife Judy. The family moved to Hueytown, Alabama, and along with Bobby’s brother Donnie Allison, family friend Red Farmer, and Neil Bonnett, became known in racing circles as the Alabama Gang.
1997: Jacques Villeneuve was a slightly lucky winner of the British Grand Prix after Michael Schumacher and Mike Hakkinen were both forced to retire while leading. Schumacher was 40 seconds ahead when a wheel bearing failed, and then Hakkinen’s engine blew. The day-to-forget award went to Heinz-Harald Frentzen who stalled while on the front row of the grid and so had to start from the back, which he did before crashing on the first lap.
1900: Miss Wemblyn, driving a 6-hp Panhard et Levassor, won the special Ladies Race in Ranelagh – although for women only, this race is often cited as the first female racing victory in Great Britain.
1935: Rudolf Caracciola driving a Mercedes-Benz W25/35 won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Manfred von Brauchitsch drove Luigi Fagioli’s Mercedes to second place after Fagioli walked off due to an argument with team boss Alfred Neubauer.
1946: Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari became the oldest Grand Prix winner (in pre-World Championship days) when he won the Albi Grand Prix at Albi, France, aged 53 years 240 days, driving a Maserati 4CL. First he raced motorcycles and then he concentrated on sports cars and single-seaters. Resident in Mantua, Italy he was known as ‘Il Mantovano Volante’ (The Flying Mantuan) and nicknamed ‘Nivola’. His victories—72 major races, 150 in all – including 24 Grands Prix, five Coppa Cianos, two Mille Miglias, two Targa Florios, two RAC Tourist Trophies, a Le Mans 24-hour race, and a European Championship in Grand Prix racing. Ferdinand Porsche called him “the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future.” Nuvolari started racing motorcycles in 1920 at the age of 27, winning the 1925 350cc European Championship. Having raced cars as well as motorcycles from 1925 until 1930, he then concentrated on cars, and won the 1932 European Championship with the Alfa Romeo factory team, Alfa Corse. After Alfa Romeo officially withdrew from Grand Prix racing Nuvolari drove for Enzo Ferrari’s team, Scuderia Ferrari, who ran the Alfa Romeo cars semi-officially. In 1933 he won Le Mans in an Alfa Romeo as a member of Ferrari’s team, and a month later won the Belgian Grand Prix in a works Maserati, having switched teams a week before the race. Mussolini helped persuade Ferrari to take Nuvolari back for 1935, and in that year he won the German Grand Prix in Ferrari’s outdated Alfa Romeo, defeating more powerful rivals from Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. It was the only time a non-German car won a European Championship race from 1935 to 1939. The relationship with Ferrari deteriorated during 1937, and Nuvolari raced an Auto Union in that year’s Swiss Grand Prix. He rejoined the Auto Union team for the 1938 season and stayed with them through 1939 until Grand Prix racing was put on hiatus by World War II. The only major European race he never won was the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix. When Nuvolari resumed racing after the war he was 54 and in poor health. In his final appearance in competition, driving a Cisitalia-Abarth Tipo 204A at a Palermo hillclimb on 10 April 1950, he won his class and placed fifth overall. He died in 1953 from a stroke.
1951: The British Grand Prix, contested over 90 laps of the Silverstone circuit was the first victory for José Froilán González, and was also the first of many for the Scuderia Ferrari team. Both the team and driver also achieved their first ever pole position during the weekend.
1951: Tony Bonadies drove a Nash Ambassador to victory in the 400-lap NASCAR Short Track Grand National race at Lanham, Maryland, US. Bonadies was the only driver in the 25-car field to run the entire distance without making a pit stop.
1956: The Emeryson made its Formula 1 debut in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, but the Mark 1 designed and driven by Paul Emery retired with ignition problems. Juan Manuel Fangio won the race in a Ferrari, with Peter Collins and Alfonso de Portago sharing a Ferrari claimed second place.
1956: The death of two one-race Formula One drivers – Bill Whitehouse (48) and Herbert MacKay-Fraser (30) – came during an Formula 2 race at Reims. Whitehouse died when his borrowed Cooper-Climax left the track after a tyre burst, somersaulted and exploded in flames, while later on MacKay-Fraser lost control of his Lotus at high speed and was killed on impact.
1957: Marvin Panch rallied from 10th starting position to prevail in the final race for NASCAR’s premier series at Memphis-Arkansas (US) Speedway’s 1.5-mile dirt track. Panch led the final nine laps after Jack Smith retired with engine failure after leading for a 53-lap stint. Bill Amick wound up second with Fireball Roberts third, the last driver on the lead lap.
1973: Silverstone, the birthplace of the modern Formula One era in 1950, staged the British Grand Prix. The race is known for the first lap pile-up which ultimately caused eleven cars to retire. The accident happened when Jody Scheckter spun out of fourth place and into the center of the track coming out of Woodcote (the final corner) at the end of the first lap, causing many other cars to collide and crash. The race was stopped at the end of the second lap, because of the pile-up, and restarted over the original distance. Andrea de Adamich retired from the sport after this race due to injuries received in the first lap accident. Nine cars were eliminated in the pile-up (including all three works Surtees cars); and 18 cars started on the second restart out of 29 cars that started (David Purley and Graham McRae were also out of the race on the first lap in separate incidents). On the first start, a swift start by Jackie Stewart brought him from fourth to first in less than half a lap. At Becketts corner (which was the third out of eight corners on the original Silverstone circuit) Stewart out-braked race leader Ronnie Peterson and took the lead. Unfortunately for Stewart, the massive pile-up at the end of the first lap caused the race to be restarted and he had to start from fourth again. This time it was Niki Lauda who had an excellent start and moved up behind Peterson into second, with Stewart third. Stewart passed Lauda on lap two, and charged after Peterson. On lap six, Stewart tried again to pass Peterson for the lead, but the Swedish driver shut the door; Stewart lost control of his Tyrrell and spun off into the thick grass. Although he was able to continue, Stewart recorded his worst finish of the season: 10th place out of 13 finishers. Another notable drive came from James Hunt in his Hesketh Racing March, who ran in most of the race in 4th and was part a 4-way battle for the lead between himself, Peterson, Denny Hulme and Peter Revson. American driver Revson won his first Grand Prix by 2.8 seconds from Peterson, and he would go on to win again at Mosport in Canada. But just 8 months after his maiden F1 victory at Silverstone, he would die in a pre-testing accident at Kyalami in South Africa driving a Shadow.
1979: Clay Regazzoni, the oldest man in the field won the British Grand Prix, giving Frank Williams his first grand prix win. Alan Jones had led early on before his engine overheated. Regazzoni’s podium antics were subdued, standing back as Rene Arnoux and Jean-Pierre Jarier splashed around the champagne – the team’s Saudi Arabian sponsors insisted there could be no association with alcohol and so he resorted to lemonade.
1991: All the talk ahead of the British Grand Prix had been about Nigel Mansell, who was second behind Ayrton Senna in the drivers’ championship, and the excitement heightened when he took pole. He made a poor start to allow Senna into the lead, but straight away overtook his rival and went on to secure a win which left the 150,000 crowd delighted. “For the last two laps I was so terrified I was going to be left without gears,” Mansell admitted after his gearbox started misbehaving. Senna ran out of fuel on the last lap but was saved a long walk back to the pits when Mansell stopped on his victory lap to pick him up.
1996: Williams’ Jacques Villeneuve in a Williams-Renault FW18 took his second win of the season at the British Grand Prix, from Benetton’s Gerhard Berger, with McLaren’s Mika Häkkinen coming home third for his first podium since his near-fatal crash at Adelaide the year before.
1996: Rookie driver Jeff Krosnoff (31) died from injuries sustained in an accident on the 92nd lap of the 95-lap Toronto Molson Indy at Exhibition Place. Krosnoff’s car made wheel-to-wheel contact with another car, sending it into the air, over a concrete barrier, and into a tree. A track employee was also killed in the accident when he was struck by Krosnoff’s wrecked car.
1996: Ernie Irvan capped his miraculous comeback from life-threatening injuries by winning the Jiffy Lube 300 at New Hampshire International Speedway (US).
2001: The British Grand Prix race saw five drivers retire, as Jarno Trulli’s Jordan collided with David Coulthard’s McLaren in the first corner; Jacques Villeneuve’s BAR pushed his teammate Olivier Panis off the track at the start, forcing Panis to retire. Mika Häkkinen won the race for McLaren.
2005: Ford unveiled the NASCAR version of its new 2006 Fusion midsize sedan. The car was set to make its racing debut at the February 2006 Daytona 500, marking the first time in 38 years that Ford has introduced a brand-new model and raced it in the same year.