Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.
The inaugural Kaiser Prize Race, the 'Kaiserpreisa', a replacement for the Gordon Bennett Cup, was held. The race was staged in the same region that had hosted the Gordon Bennett Race three years earlier. The new course even included a section of the old circuit, although in the opposite direction of travel. Since only forty vehicles were allowed to enter the race, while ninety had signed up, two elimination trials were held on 13 June 1907. These would determine who could participate in the main event. When Emil Schmidt on a Dürkopp automobile started at around 4:10 a.m., the Kaiser himself was among those present in the stands watching the elimination proceedings. Many vehicles dropped out due to accidents or engine damage: the weather was far from fit for a Kaiser. On the day of the main race, Friday the 14th of June, 1907, the skies cleared and the roads gradually grew dusty. The race got underway at 6:00 a.m., the vehicles starting, at two minute intervals, for what was to be a five-hour battle for victory. Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the race course, cheering the cars as they passed. Several drivers were forced to drop out of the race in the very first circuit: Pöge on a Mercedes, because of a defective carburettor; a cylinder in need of repair took out Florio and his Darraq; Hugo Wilhelm had a collision with a milestone; and Gabriel on his Dietrich dropped out because of a defect in its petrol tank. At the end of the first round, the Italian Felice Nazzaro on a Fiat was in the lead, with a time of 1 hour, 23 minutes. As the end of the race approached, the Kaiser had to face the fact that the leading automobiles were not of German manufacture. At the end of the 4th round, Nazzaro crossed the finish line first, with a time of 5 hours, 34 minutes and 26 seconds. Five minutes later Hautvast, a Belgian, came in on a Pipe. After another five seconds, the first German car crossed the finish line: Carl Jörns driving an Opel. The winner’s average speed was 84.81 km/h. None of the highly lauded favourites had made the grade, including Camille Jenatzy on the Mercedes, the winner of the 1903 Gordon Bennett Race. Jenatzy needed 32 minutes more than the winning Italian driver to finish. Of the 39 teams that had started out, 21 crossed the finish line. The Kaiserpreis, designed by the supreme leader himself, was awarded to the Italian before a cheering crowd. A large, attractive vase went to the second-placed Belgian team. Then Jörns, as the best German driver, received an almost 60-centimetre tall lidded vase from the Kaiser’s own hand. Jörns and Opel were later fêted as victors in Germany.
Kaiser Prize Race - 1907