Discover the most momentous motor sports events that took place this weekend in history …….
-12 December –
1953: NASCAR president Bill France disclosed plans for a 2.5-mile superspeedway in Daytona Beach. France estimated the facility would cost $1,674,000 to build and could open as early as 1955.
1959: At 22 years and 104 days of age, Bruce McLaren became the youngest driver to win a Grand Prix race as he earned first place at Sebring, Florida. Jack Brabham won the 1959 World drivers title, whilst Cooper-Climax clinched the Constructors’ Championship. Brabham ran out of fuel in the final race of the season, the US Grand Prix at Sebring, and had to push his Cooper-Climax half a mile home, still managing to finish an amazing fourth!
1973: Jackie Stewart, who had recently retired after securing his third world championship, was named the BBC Sports Personality of the Year, the second Formula One driver to win the accolade after Stirling Moss in 1961. Although John Surtees won in 1959 it was for his achievements on a bike rather than in a car. Eleven years earlier to the day Stewart had made his debut in an F1 car at the non-championship Rand Grand Prix.
-13 December –
1992: Nigel Mansell was named the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year on the back of winning the drivers’ championship. While Mansell was receiving his award, Williams announced his place would be taken by Damon Hill , the relatively unknown son of former champion Graham . Hill finally convinced Williams he was the right man for the job after a brilliant testing session in Portugal where he outpaced Alain Prost . “I understand why people will see this as a controversial choice,” Hill said. “It is a very brave decision from the Williams team. But I know motor racing, if not Formula One, and I know the car very well indeed. I’ve always been told how my father did this or that. I have always put him on a large pedestal. I am very proud to be in a competitive car in Formula One. I feel fulfilled to some degree.”