Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

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.

On This Day

Sunday 1st July 1956

64 years ago

Peter Collins showed his win at Spa was no fluke with a thrilling victory over Ferrari team-mate Eugenio Castellotti at the French Grand Prix, a result which gave him a four-and-a-half point lead in the drivers' championship. This was the first time a Briton had led the World Drivers Championship. The self-effacing 24-year-old admitted afterwards he only raced for the fun of it. "My father gave me a motor business so I don't have to race … but I like it and I like the money. I don't think I'm as fast at Stirling [Moss] but my car today was. I always have a go." There was a lot of local interest at Reims in the return of the famous Bugatti name but Maurice Trintignant had to withdraw with throttle problems after 18 laps. And the man who went on to mastermind Lotus, Colin Chapman, was entered in a third Vanwall but a practice crash saw him on the sidelines for the race. It turned out to be an all Ferrari front row with Collins, on the crest of a wave, on pole position ahead of team-mates Juan Manuel Fangio and Castellotti. The three Ferraris swapped the lead early on, but they were duly caught by Harry Schell, in the Vanwall started by Mike Hawthorn who had withdrawn as he had been taking part in an all-night race earlier. A mechanical problem on the 38th lap ended the team's challenge if not its race and it finished down the field with a misfiring engine.Fangio, who had struggled since his win in Argentina, also had to pit, leaving Castellotti in the lead, but he was soon overhauled by Collins, and the pair crossed the finish line with 0.3 seconds separating them. Fangio came home fourth, narrowly failing to hunt down Jean Behra despite setting a lap record on the final circuit.

Peter Collins, French Grand Prix 1956

Peter Collins, French Grand Prix 1956