Discover the momentous motor sports events that took place this weekend in history …….
1968: Jackie Ickx and David Hobbs drove a Gulf Ford GT40 to victory in the Rand 9 Hour Race at Kyalami, South Africa.
1970: Double World Champion Graham Hill drove the first Ford RS car (Escort RS 1600) from a purpose built production line within Ford Advanced Vehicle Operations (FAVO) of South Ockendon, Essex, England. RS originally stood for Rallye Sport and introduced a new breed of affordable sporting Fords. Based on the formidable international rally and race-winning Escort, with a pioneering Cosworth-crafted 16-valve engine, the RS1600 established a line of more than 20 Ford RS-badged derivatives that would sell over 100,000 examples . In production line trim, the RS1600 offered deft cornering capabilities of true RS products coupled to a detuned 120 hp engine in a light and simple layout which allowed a 113 mph maximum sped alongside a 0-60 mph of 8.9 seconds, but its main point was its sports potential.
1975: Richard Petty lapped the field in scoring a dominant Volunteer 500 triumph on the latest date a Bristol Motor Speedway (Tennessee, US). race had fallen on the calendar. Petty led 218 of the 500 laps, finishing a lap ahead of runner-up Lennie Pond. Darrell Waltrip took third, two laps back at the finish. The race was switched from a July date to November to avoid the oppressive summer heat. It eventually settled on a late August date, which is now the traditional spot on the schedule for the .533-mile track’s annual night race.
1975: Bobby Rahal drove a March 75B to victory in the Formula B race during the SCCA Champion Spark Plug Road Racing Classic at Road Atlanta in Brazelton, Georgia, US.
1980: Cale Yarborough won the Atlanta Journal 500 at Atlanta International Raceway (Georgia, US) to move to within 29 points of Dale Earnhardt in the NASCAR championship chase. Earnhardt, who had led the standings since the second race of the season, finished third.
2007: Bruton Smith purchased the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire, US. The purchase gave Smith’s Speedway Motorsports, Inc., seven tracks and 12 NASCAR Sprint Cup dates.
2008: Lewis Hamilton (cover image) became the youngest ever Formula One World Champion, aged 23 years, after finishing 5th at the Brazilian Grand Prix. The McLaren driver also received official congratulations from Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Massa’s win and Räikkönen’s third place helped Ferrari win the Constructors’ Championship. The Grand Prix was David Coulthard’s final race; the Scot retired after 246 race starts.
1901: The first motor race in Japan was held. Three automobiles – each two/three/and four wheelers, were raced in Tokyo. They were American “Thomas Auto-Bi”, “Thomas Auto-Tri”, and a French “Gladiator” quadricycle. The measured speeds were 36 km/h, 25 km/h, and 29 km/h, respectively, around an oval course of Ueno Park, Tokyo.
1962: David Piper and Bruce Johnstone drove a Ferrari 250 GTO to victory in the Kyalami 9 Hours race in South Africa.
1968: Graham Hill completed his second world championship with victory at the Mexican Grand Prix, narrowly pushing Jackie Stewart into second place. Hill went into the weekend with a three-point lead over Stewart and the pair were head to head for the first third of the race, Stewart even leading from the third to the seventh lap, before he fell back to seventh with engine failure. “I had a lovely time,” Hill said after his win. “The car went beautifully. I am very pleased to have won.” Denny Hulme had a lucky escape when the suspension on his McLaren broke and he piled into a wall.
1982: FIA declared that beginning in 1993, all Formula 1 cars must have flat bottoms. Ground effects chassis were outlawed.
1985: Bill Elliott landed a season sweep of events at Atlanta Motor Speedway (Georgia, US), clinching his 11th win of the year in the Atlanta Journal 500. Elliott, who led 175 of the 328 laps, finished 4.25 seconds ahead of runner-up Cale Yarborough. Darrell Waltrip, who foiled Elliott’s championship hopes two weeks later at Riverside International Raceway, finished third.
1985: Keke Rosberg signed off from Williams with victory in the inaugural Australian Grand Prix in Adelaide in front of 110,000 and in 30 degree heat. He survived a collision with Ayrton Senna midway through the race – Senna rammed the rear of Rosberg’s car, sustained damage to his own front aerofoil, returned after repairs, retook the lead but then had to retire with engine trouble. If Rosberg was diplomatic, Nigel Mansell was not, labelling Senna “a total idiot”. Niki Lauda’s F1 farewell ended when his McLaren spun into a wall … he left saying “now it’s time to grow up and start some sensible work”. The late drama was provided by the Ligiers of Jacques Laffite and Philippe Streiff which collided on the penultimate lap when behind Rosberg. Streiff misread his pit signals and believed he was being caught by another car and so tried to pass Lafitte and the only succeeded in hitting him. Laffite came second while Streiff limped across the line at which point his wheel fell off.
1991: World Champion Ayrton Senna was declared winner of the shortest Grand Prix in history. With the 1991 title already decided in the previous round at Suzuka, the closing race of the season ended up drowning in the streets of Adelaide, Australia. Literally. With downpours so heavy that the cars were aquaplaning down the straights, the race was stopped after 14 laps for safety reasons.
1991: Davey Allison led the final 60 laps to win the Pyroil 500 at Phoenix, Arizona, US. Rusty, Mike, and Kenny Wallace all competed in the race, the first triple brother act in NASCAR Winston Cup racing since 1961.
2002: With three races left in the 2002 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season, Tony Stewart led Mark Martin by 146 points. The series arrived at North Carolina Speedway, and Johnny Benson won his first and only Cup series race. Mark Martin finished second, while points leader Tony Stewart finished a distant 14th. Martin was poised to gain significant ground in the points standings, but his car failed post-race inspection due to an illegal left front spring. Martin was docked 25 championship points, and crew chief Ben Leslie was fined $5,000. Two weeks later, Stewart clinched the championship two weeks later at Homestead by a 38-point margin (more than the penalty difference). Martin’s team appealed the penalty, and considered filing a lawsuit against the spring’s manufacturer, claiming the spring was defective from the factory. According to NASCAR rules, springs were to have 4-1/2 coils, while Martin’s had 4-3/8 coils. The appeal was denied, and for the second time in his career, Martin’s chances at a title were derailed by a rules violation.