6-7 June: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

Discover the momentous motor sprots events that took place this weekend in history ………

~6 June~

1960: Jack Brabham won the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort driving a Cooper-Climax. Although there were disputes over prize money and several teams withdrew after qualifying, there was still a decent field for the race with Stirling Moss on pole position in his Walker Lotus-Climax. Jack Brabham was alongside in his Cooper-Climax and Innes Ireland was on the outside of the front row in his factory Lotus 18. The BRMs of Jo Bonnier and Graham Hill shared the second row. Brabham made the best start and led Moss and Ireland with Team Lotus’s Alan Stacey up from the third row on the grid and Phil Hill sixth in his Ferrari from the fourth row. Stacey passed Ireland on the second lap but Innes soon took back the place while Bruce McLaren moved ahead of Phil Hill in the his Cooper. He would retire early however with a driveshaft problem. Dan Gurney moved into fifth in his BRM but he crashed at the hairpin after a brake failure. A spectator in a prohibited area was killed. Jim Clark had made rapid progress in the early laps and took Gurney’s fifth place behind his Lotus teammates Ireland and Stacey. On lap 17 Brabham’s car threw up part of a curb and this hit Moss’s car and caused a puncture and damage to the wheel hub. Moss had to pit for repairs. He drove a storming comeback. Up front the order remained static until Graham Hill passed Clark who retired soon afterwards with gearbox failure. Stacey would disappear with a similar problem later on leaving Hill to finish third, just ahead of the charging Moss.

1961: Ray Barfield drove his Aston Martin DB3S to win in the 6-hour ‘Le Mans’ race, winning from Bob MacDowall in a TR3A and Vic Johnson in an Austin Healey. Barfield set a race record distance of 187 laps, about 385 miles. David McKay drove a Renault Dauphine Gordini in the race and was highly critical of the event. Strangely, this didn’t prevent him coming out of retirement for a one-off appearance four years later.

1964: The first McLaren race car, a modified Cooper with an Oldsmobile engine, made its debut at Mosport Park, Ontario, Canada and took victory in the hands of designer Bruce McLaren.

1968: Richard Petty drove a Plymouth to the 80th win of his career, prevailing in a 200-lap main event at Smoky Mountain Raceway in Maryville, Tenn. Petty’s win was the fifth of what would be a 16-win season and a third-place finish in the points standings. Rookie Pete Hamilton, who would later drive for Petty Enterprises, posts his best finish in the series to that point in second place, one lap down. James Hylton placed third. The half-mile track, which has since switched from pavement to dirt, is still in weekly operation.

1982: Starting from seventeenth position on the grid, Northern Ireland’s John Watson driving a McLaren-Cosworth MP4/1B, stormed through the field to win the first Detroit Grand Prix, at America’s sixth different Formula One venue.

1990: British rally driver Tony Pond became the first to average 100 mph around the Isle of Man TT Motor Bike race circuit in a standard production car – a Rover Vitesse. This record stood until 2011.

2003: Jari-Matti Latvala of Finland became youngest driver to compete in an FIA World Championship Rally when aged just 18 years 61 days he drove his Ford Focus WRC in the 50th Acropolis Rally in Athens, Greece.

2004: Mark Martin ended a two-year drought with a come-from-behind ­win in the MBNA 400 “A Salute to Heroes” at Dover International ­Speedway, Delaware (US).

2007: Swiss Parliament voted to lift the ban of circuit motor racing (imposed after the 1955 Le Mans disaster) in Switzerland, 97 in favor and 77 opposed. However, the legislation was subsequently not ratified by the Swiss Council of States (the Senat) and the ban is now highly unlikely to actually be lifted.

~7 June~

1907: Arthur Duray driving a Lorraine-Dietrich 60 hp won the Moscow to St. Petersburg road race.

1931: The VII Reale Premio di Roma was held on the new high speed Littorio circuit around the airport. The contest was divided into four 100 km Heat races for the various classes and a 240 km Final to decide the overall winner. Heat 1 for cars up to 1100 cc was won by Scaron (Amilcar), who led from start to finish ahead of Decaroli (Salmson) and Ardizzone (Delage). The race for cars up to 2000 cc had Biondetti and Savi with Maseratis in front and Castelbarco (Bugatti) in third place. Heat 3 for cars up to 3000 cc was won by Varzi (Bugatti) with Fagioli and Dreyfus in 2500 Maseratis, filling the first three places. In Heat 4 Ernesto Maserati was the easy winner in the large 16-cylinder Maserati against an old Itala. The Final developed into an entertaining battle between Varzi’s leading Bugatti fighting the various Maseratis. Varzi’s demise began after the first quarter, after which the hounding Maseratis dominated, conquering the first three places with Ernesto Maserati, Dreyfus and Biondetti. Balestrero in an old Talbot finished fourth while Fagioli was slowed down with problems. Nuvolari, Varzi and Minozzi retired their Bugattis.

1931: For the ninth Eifelrennen, a mix of 16 race cars started at the Nürburgring. Three large converted Mercedes-Benz sports cars, a variety of 11 Bugattis, one Amilcar and a DKW raced around 40 laps of the demanding South Loop. The German press quoted this event as the most impressive and interesting race ever held on the Nürburgring. Caracciola in the Mercedes had a fantastic battle with von Morgen in an older single cam Bugatti. Once the Bugatti pitted at mid-race for tyres and fuel, the Mercedes had gained much time and did not have to stop. Von Morgen could only recover part of Caracciola’s advantage and finished well over a minute behind the Mercedes-Benz. The young newcomer von Brauchitsch in another Mercedes-Benz ended up third, followed by Seibel’s small Bugatti, Winter’s Mercedes-Benz, Zigrand, Risse, Kortylewski and Städtgen all in Bugattis with Theisen’s small DKW last in tenth place. Six drivers retired, amongst them Burggaller and Leiningen who in the early part of the race were near the front.

1937: The day after having finished only second at the Rio Grand Prix, German racing legend, Hans Stuck took two new standing start world records with his Auto Union Grand Prix car. He bettered his own one kilometre record {171.021 km/h (106.268 mph) [21.05 s]} and took over the one mile record {201.098 km/h (124.957 mph) [28.81 s]} set by Caracciola at Gyon 1934. However those records remained unofficial as they were not recognized by AIACR. These were to be Stuck’s last speed record attempts.

Chico Landi

1948: Chico Landi (81), the first Brazilian driver to win a Grand Prix race, taking a Ferrari to victory at the Bari Grand Prix in 1948, died. Landi came from a modest middle class family, and got into racing through owning a garage. Along with wealthy diplomat’s son Manuel de Teffé he popularized motor racing in Brazil in the late mid-thirties. Landi had left school at eleven to work as a mechanic, and later began illegal street racing at nights, where he had frequent run-ins with the police. In 1934 he made his racing debut, at the second Rio Grand Prix in 1934. He led until eight laps from the finish, when his engine gave out. He was the most popular Brazilian driver of his time, as many considered Teffé a wealthy expat rather than an actual Brazilian, as he had started his racing career while living in Italy. Irineu Corrêa, who ended up winning the 1934 Rio Grand Prix, died in a crash on the first lap of next year, leaving Landi as the undisputed master of pre-war racing in Brazil. Landi went abroad in 1938, finishing eighth at Bern in what is generally considered the first Brazilian Grand Prix entry (Teffé had raced abroad earlier but is generally thought of as an Italian with Brazilian parents). Landi’s first Brazilian Grand Prix victory came at the 1941 Rio de Janeiro Grand Prix. Landi was the first Brazilian driver to win a Grand Prix race, taking a Ferrari to victory at the Bari Grand Prix in 1948, run that year to Formula Two regulations. He also finished second in the 1952 (non-championship) Albi Grand Prix in a Ferrari 375. Landi also won the 1960 Mil Milhas Brasil in a Alfa Romeo JK 2000, together with Christian “Bino” Heins. This was the first time that a Brazilian-made car won this prestigious race, rather than an American-based “Carretera” special.

1953: Alberto Ascari drove a Ferrari 500 to victory in the Dutch Grand Prix at Zandvoort. His teammate Luigi Villoresi finished second and Maserati drivers José Froilán González and Felice Bonetto came in third. It was race 3 of 9 in the 1953 World Championship of Drivers, which was run to Formula Two rules in 1952 and 1953, rather than the Formula One regulations normally used.

1965: David Hobbs drove a Lola T70 to victory in the Guards Trophy Race at Mallory Park in England.

1992: Ernie Irvan rallied to win the Save Mart 300K at Sonoma, a race overshadowed by the death of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. at age 82. Irvan started second beside pole winner Ricky Rudd, but was black-flagged for jumping the start. He drove from the back of the pack on the winding road course to lead the final eight laps of his fourth win in NASCAR’s top series. Terry Labonte finished second with Mark Martin third and Rudd fourth.

1992: Bill France Sr (82) – cover image, racing driver who co-founded and managed NASCAR, a sanctioning body of US-based stock car racing, died. In the 1930s and 1940s on the West Coast, there was a growing phenomenon called hot rodding. During that same period in the South, particularly in Florida, Alabama and up through the Carolinas, there was a parallel phenomenon called stock car racing — and leading the movement was a big man named Bill France. France, a Daytona Florida, service station owner, could sense the popularity of this new sport. But the sport lacked race tracks, race promoters, respect and, most importantly, rules. In 1947, France called a meeting of owners, drivers and mechanics at Daytona’s famed Streamline Hotel and outlined his vision for organizing the sport, including uniform rules, insurance coverage and guaranteed purses. That meeting was the beginning of the National Association for Stock Car Automobile Racing, or NASCAR, and a France family member has been at the helm ever since. Stock car races in the 1950s were held on makeshift tracks that often included sections of beach and roads. France envisioned an enclosed, paved track with amenities for both teams and spectators. That vision became reality in 1959, when France opened the Daytona International Speedway. At 2.5 miles around, Daytona was the same size as the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but with banked turns as much as 31 degrees (vs. 12 degrees at Indy), France had paved the way for the superspeedway concept.To this day, Daytona is the spiritual center of stock car racing, and the Daytona 500 one of the most sought after championships in all of racing. A decade later, in 1969, France would raise the bar again, opening the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. At nearly 2.7 miles, it is still the largest and fastest oval track in the world. France remained at the helm of NASCAR until 1972, when he passed the reigns to his son, Bill France, Jr., but stayed actively involved until his death in 1992. NASCAR is now a multi-billion dollar industry, outgrowing every other professional sport in America and attracting over 7 million passionate race fans per year with tens of millions more watching on television. Visionary that he was, even Bill France himself could not have envisioned this result when he called together a small group of people in a Daytona meeting room in 1947.

1998: The Canadian Grand Prix contested over 69 laps, was the seventh round of the 1998 Formula One season. It was won by Michael Schumacher, in a Ferrari F300. However, the race is probably best remembered for the crash on the first lap involving Alexander Wurz and Jean Alesi, which resulted in the race being red flagged and restarted, only for another collision to take place and the race being started once again under the safety car.

2004: A1 Grand Prix announced world renowned engine manufacturers Zytek Engineering were to produce the 3.4 litre V8 engine that would power the A1GP race car.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *