7-8 January: This Weekend in Motor Sport History

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~7th January~

1956: The New Zealand Grand Prix run over 100 laps of the 2 mile Ardmore was won by Stirling Moss in a Maserati 250F.

1964: Reginald Harold Haslam Parnell (52), Formula One driver and team manager from England died. Parnell successfully raced a

Reg Parnell
Reg Parnell

private Maserati 4CLT/48 and an E-Type ERA which led to an invitation to drive for the Alfa Romeo team in the very first World Championship Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1950, finishing third and later winning the Silverstone International Trophy in 1951, he was also a test driver for BRM and their V16 project. He later became the team manager for Aston Martin and oversaw the famous 1-2 at Le Mans in 1959 when Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby led home Maurice Trintignant and Paul Frere. Parnell then led the team into F1 but at the end of 1960 the programme was abandoned. 1962 saw the formation of the Reg Parnell Racing Team taking Lola into Grand Prix racing. He died at the age of just 53 due to a thrombosis after a routine appendix operation.

1967: The 14th New Zealand Grand Prix, held at the Pukekohe Park Raceway, which doubled as the opening round of the 1967 Tasman Series. was won by Jackie Stewart in a BRM for the Parnell Racing Team. Fellow Brits Jim Clark and Richard Atwood, finished second and third, respectively. This was Jackie Stewart’s only New Zealand Grand Prix win, becoming the last British driver to win the event.

1982: The 14th New Zealand Grand Prix, held at the Pukekohe Park Raceway, which doubled as the opening round of the 1967 Tasman Series. was won by Jackie Stewart in a BRM for the Parnell Racing Team. Fellow Brits Jim Clark and Richard Atwood, finished second and third, respectively. This was Jackie Stewart’s only New Zealand Grand Prix win, becoming the last British driver to win the event.

1993: Reigning Formula One World Champion, Nigel Mansell drove on an American oval for the first time when he practiced at Phoenix, Arizona, in a Newman-Haas Lola-Ford.

1999: The High-Speed Circuit lap record at MIRA in Warwickshire was broken by a McLaren F1 road car, driven by Peter Taylor,

MIRA
MIRA

averaging 168 mph (270.36 km/h) round the 2.82-mile (4.53 km) banked circuit. With a lap time of 1 minute 00.56 seconds, the F1 comfortably exceeded the previous record of 161.655mph (260.15 km/h) set in April 1967 by the Jaguar XJ13 sports-racing prototype.

2005: Red Bull, who had bought Jaguar F1 two months earlier, appointed Christian Horner as its sporting director and at the same time dispensed with the services of Jaguar team principal Tony Purnell and managing director David Pitchforth. Horner was owner of the Arden team for whom Tonio Liuzzi had won the Formula 3000 title the previous year. “The news was met with a stunned silence when a team meeting was called at the Milton Keynes factory to announce the changes, a measure of the affection for Purnell and Pitchforth,” noted the Times. “They were also highly regarded in the pitlane for their quiet but efficient attempt to turn around a struggling team. Max Mosley, president of the FIA, the sport’s governing body, once described Purnell as one of only two intelligent team principals in Formula One.”

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~8th January~

1944: William Kissam Vanderbilt II (65), a great patron of early US motoring racing who is said to have maintained a personal garage of more than 100 cars and 20 mechanics, died in New York City. A skilled sailor, he participated in yacht racing, winning the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup in 1900 with his new 70-foot (21 m) yacht he had named Virginia in honor of his new bride. In 1902, Vanderbilt

 William Kissam Vanderbilt II
William Kissam Vanderbilt II

began construction on his own country place at Lake Success on Long Island that he named “Deepdale.” However, sailing would take second place to his enthusiasm for fast cars. In 1904, Willie K. Vanderbilt set a new land speed record of 92.30 mph (148.54 km/h) in a Mercedes at the Daytona Beach Road Course at Ormond Beach, Florida. That same year, he launched the Vanderbilt Cup, the first major trophy in American auto racing. An international event, designed to spur American manufacturers into racing, the race’s large cash prize drew the top drivers and their vehicles from across the Atlantic Ocean who had competed in Europe’s Gordon Bennett Cup. Held at a course set out in Nassau County on Long Island, New York, the race drew large crowds hoping to see an American car defeat the mighty European vehicles. However, a French Panhard vehicle won the race and fans would have to wait until 1908 when 23-year-old George Robertson of Garden City, New York became the first American to win the Vanderbilt Cup.

1950: Luigi Villoresi driving a Ferrari 166 won the Eva Duarte Perón Grand Prix at Palermo Park.

1956: Bill Lipkey organised United States Auto Cub’s first auto race, after USAC took over race sanctioning from AAA, when he presented a Midget race at the Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA.

1958: John Duff (61), the only Canadian to win at Le Mans, who had been inducted in the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, died. He was one of only two Canadians who raced and won on England’s famous Brooklands Motor Course.

1968: Advertising appeared on a Grand Prix car for the first time when Jim Clark put his John Player Gold Leaf Lotus 49 on pole for the non-championship New Zealand Grand Prix at Pukekohe.

1972: Racer Bryon Faloon was killed during the New Zealand Grand Prix in Auckland, after an accident on the back straight with Graeme Lawrence in the closing laps of the race. It was the 18th New Zealand Grand Prix, and doubled as the first round of the 1972 Tasman Series. Australian Frank Gardner won his first NZGP in his McLaren Formula 5000 ahead of British Grand Prix motorcycle racing champion Mike Hailwood. The first New Zealand driver to finish was Robbie Francevic in the McLaren Formula 5000 who came in 9th place.

2002: The Olympic Torch Relay came to the Indianapolis Speedway on the way to the 2002 Winter Olympic games in Salt Lake City. IndyCar Series drivers Sam Hornish Jr. and Helio Castroneves took one lap with the flame in the back of a Chevy Avalanche, and Eddie Cheever Jr. and IMS CEO Tony George each ran with the flame.

2006: Thirty-seven year old Michael Schumacher gave the first real indication he was about to bow out – for the first time. “If I don’t have the chance to win races and challenge for the title I don’t think I’ll be very keen to extend my career,” he said. “If we [Ferrari] want to progress we need more staff. In F1 you cannot afford to stand still. I want to know where we’re heading.” He quit at the end of the season when his contract finished, but still managed to finish second in the drivers’ championship, only to make a surprising comeback with Mercedes in 2010.

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