Discover the momentous motor sports events that took place this weekend in history ……
1900: Miss Wemblyn, driving a 6-hp Panhard et Levassor, won the special Ladies Race in Ranelagh – although for women only, this race is often cited as the first female racing victory in Great Britain.
1935: Rudolf Caracciola driving a Mercedes-Benz W25/35 won the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps. Manfred von Brauchitsch drove Luigi Fagioli’s Mercedes to second place after Fagioli walked off due to an argument with team boss Alfred Neubauer.
1946: Tazio Giorgio Nuvolari became the oldest Grand Prix winner (in pre-World Championship days) when he won the Albi Grand Prix at Albi, France, aged 53 years 240 days, driving a Maserati 4CL. First he raced motorcycles and then he concentrated on sports cars and single-seaters. Resident in Mantua, Italy he was known as ‘Il Mantovano Volante’ (The Flying Mantuan) and nicknamed ‘Nivola’. His victories—72 major races, 150 in all – including 24 Grands Prix, five Coppa Cianos, two Mille Miglias, two Targa Florios, two RAC Tourist Trophies, a Le Mans 24-hour race, and a European Championship in Grand Prix racing. Ferdinand Porsche called him “the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future.” Nuvolari started racing motorcycles in 1920 at the age of 27, winning the 1925 350cc European Championship. Having raced cars as well as motorcycles from 1925 until 1930, he then concentrated on cars, and won the 1932 European Championship with the Alfa Romeo factory team, Alfa Corse. After Alfa Romeo officially withdrew from Grand Prix racing Nuvolari drove for Enzo Ferrari’s team, Scuderia Ferrari, who ran the Alfa Romeo cars semi-officially. In 1933 he won Le Mans in an Alfa Romeo as a member of Ferrari’s team, and a month later won the Belgian Grand Prix in a works Maserati, having switched teams a week before the race. Mussolini helped persuade Ferrari to take Nuvolari back for 1935, and in that year he won the German Grand Prix in Ferrari’s outdated Alfa Romeo, defeating more powerful rivals from Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union. It was the only time a non-German car won a European Championship race from 1935 to 1939. The relationship with Ferrari deteriorated during 1937, and Nuvolari raced an Auto Union in that year’s Swiss Grand Prix. He rejoined the Auto Union team for the 1938 season and stayed with them through 1939 until Grand Prix racing was put on hiatus by World War II. The only major European race he never won was the Czechoslovakian Grand Prix. When Nuvolari resumed racing after the war he was 54 and in poor health. In his final appearance in competition, driving a Cisitalia-Abarth Tipo 204A at a Palermo hillclimb on 10 April 1950, he won his class and placed fifth overall. He died in 1953 from a stroke.
1951: The British Grand Prix, contested over 90 laps of the Silverstone circuit was the first victory for José Froilán González, and was also the first of many for the Scuderia Ferrari team. Both the team and driver also achieved their first ever pole position during the weekend. José Froilán González was one second quicker than Juan Manuel Fangio in qualifying, achieving the first pole position of his career. It was also the first pole position for the Ferrari team, and the first in the World Championship (excluding the Indy 500 races) not scored by an Alfa Romeo. Nino Farina and Alberto Ascari qualified in third and fourth positions, completing the front row. González and Fangio shot away almost parallel from the front row of the grid, closely followed by the other Alfa Romeos and Ferraris. Alfa Romeo driver Felice Bonetto, who started in seventh position, was the first man at the first corner, with the Ferrari of González in second position. González took the lead from Bonetto on the second lap with Fangio chasing. The BRM cars of Reg Parnell and Peter Walker were in hot pursuit of the leaders. The team had arrived at the last minute, and had not practiced or even qualified for their debut race, and had started in 19th and 20th positions. Bonetto’s Alfa Romeo team-mates of Fangio and reigning World Champion, Nino Farina, managed to overtake him to move into second and third places. On lap 6, Fangio began to close in on González; he passed him on the straight on lap 10, and slowly began to draw away. Consalvo Sanesi then pulled into the pits for fuel and new tyres. The Maserati of John James became the first retirement of the race on lap 23 with a radiator problem, but was soon joined on the sidelines by Louis Chiron, both his Maserati team-mates, the Ferrari of Alberto Ascari and Farina. Farina pulled up at Abbey curve after 75 laps with a slipping clutch and his engine on fire. He had set the lap record on lap 38, with a time of 1 minute 44 seconds, an average speed of 99.99 mph, ensuring he still left the weekend with one point. González retook the lead on lap 39 with an overtake at Becketts corner. He kept his lead for the remainder of the race (excluding one lap when he pitted just before Fangio did) extending it to 1 minute and 5 seconds with 5 laps to go, before easing off at the end of the race. The BRM drivers of Parnell and Walker were still battling on, despite the fact they were suffering from hand and feet burns, and would eventually finish fifth and seventh respectively. The Alfa Romeos of Fangio and Farina pitted twice for fuel, owing to the awful fuel consumption of their cars. They were doing 1 1/2 miles to the gallon, and needed to take on 70 gallons for every stop. Both drivers needed to stop twice, and, owing to the lengthy, minutes-long pit stops of Formula One in 1951, the more fuel efficient Ferrari of González (who only needed to make one stop) was able to overtake the Alfa Romeos and pull out a considerable lead. González eventually took his own and Ferrari’s first victory in a World Championship race by 51 seconds. It was the first World Championship race (excluding the Indy 500) that was not won by an Alfa Romeo. An Alfa Romeo was still in second place though, in the form of the year’s eventual champion Fangio. Luigi Villoresi became the second Ferrari on the podium after he finished in third place, two laps behind. Bonetto and Parnell were the other two point scorers at the race, finishing in fourth and fifth positions respectively. As it turned out, González had actually raced with an older chassis and engine than his team-mates, Villoresi and Ascari.
1951: Tony Bonadies drove a Nash Ambassador to victory in the 400-lap NASCAR Short Track Grand National race at Lanham, Maryland, US. Bonadies was the only driver in the 25-car field to run the entire distance without making a pit stop.
1956: The Emeryson made its Formula 1 debut in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, but the Mark 1 designed and driven by Paul Emery retired with ignition problems. Juan Manuel Fangio won the race in a Ferrari, with Peter Collins and Alfonso de Portago sharing a Ferrari claimed second place.
1956: The death of two one-race Formula One drivers – Bill Whitehouse (48) and Herbert MacKay-Fraser (30) – came during an Formula 2 race at Reims. Whitehouse died when his borrowed Cooper-Climax left the track after a tyre burst, somersaulted and exploded in flames, while later on MacKay-Fraser lost control of his Lotus at high speed and was killed on impact.
1957: Marvin Panch (cover image) rallied from 10th starting position to prevail in the final race for NASCAR’s premier series at Memphis-Arkansas (US) Speedway’s 1.5-mile dirt track. Panch led the final nine laps after Jack Smith retired with engine failure after leading for a 53-lap stint. Bill Amick wound up second with Fireball Roberts third, the last driver on the lead lap.
1973: Silverstone, the birthplace of the modern Formula One era in 1950, staged the British Grand Prix. The race is known for the first lap pile-up which ultimately caused eleven cars to retire. The accident happened when Jody Scheckter spun out of fourth place and into the center of the track coming out of Woodcote (the final corner) at the end of the first lap, causing many other cars to collide and crash. The race was stopped at the end of the second lap, because of the pile-up, and restarted over the original distance. Andrea de Adamich retired from the sport after this race due to injuries received in the first lap accident. Nine cars were eliminated in the pile-up (including all three works Surtees cars); and 18 cars started on the second restart out of 29 cars that started (David Purley and Graham McRae were also out of the race on the first lap in separate incidents). On the first start, a swift start by Jackie Stewart brought him from fourth to first in less than half a lap. At Becketts corner (which was the third out of eight corners on the original Silverstone circuit) Stewart out-braked race leader Ronnie Peterson and took the lead. Unfortunately for Stewart, the massive pile-up at the end of the first lap caused the race to be restarted and he had to start from fourth again. This time it was Niki Lauda who had an excellent start and moved up behind Peterson into second, with Stewart third. Stewart passed Lauda on lap two, and charged after Peterson. On lap six, Stewart tried again to pass Peterson for the lead, but the Swedish driver shut the door; Stewart lost control of his Tyrrell and spun off into the thick grass. Although he was able to continue, Stewart recorded his worst finish of the season: 10th place out of 13 finishers. Another notable drive came from James Hunt in his Hesketh Racing March, who ran in most of the race in 4th and was part a 4-way battle for the lead between himself, Peterson, Denny Hulme and Peter Revson. American driver Revson won his first Grand Prix by 2.8 seconds from Peterson, and he would go on to win again at Mosport in Canada. But just 8 months after his maiden F1 victory at Silverstone, he would die in a pre-testing accident at Kyalami in South Africa driving a Shadow.
1979: Clay Regazzoni, the oldest man in the field won the British Grand Prix, giving Frank Williams his first grand prix win. Alan Jones had led early on before his engine overheated. Regazzoni’s podium antics were subdued, standing back as Rene Arnoux and Jean-Pierre Jarier splashed around the champagne – the team’s Saudi Arabian sponsors insisted there could be no association with alcohol and so he resorted to lemonade.
1991: All the talk ahead of the British Grand Prix had been about Nigel Mansell, who was second behind Ayrton Senna in the drivers’ championship, and the excitement heightened when he took pole. He made a poor start to allow Senna into the lead, but straight away overtook his rival and went on to secure a win which left the 150,000 crowd delighted. “For the last two laps I was so terrified I was going to be left without gears,” Mansell admitted after his gearbox started misbehaving. Senna ran out of fuel on the last lap but was saved a long walk back to the pits when Mansell stopped on his victory lap to pick him up.
1996: Williams’ Jacques Villeneuve in a Williams-Renault FW18 took his second win of the season at the British Grand Prix, from Benetton’s Gerhard Berger, with McLaren’s Mika Häkkinen coming home third for his first podium since his near-fatal crash at Adelaide the year before.
1996: Rookie driver Jeff Krosnoff (31) died from injuries sustained in an accident on the 92nd lap of the 95-lap Toronto Molson Indy at Exhibition Place. Krosnoff’s car made wheel-to-wheel contact with another car, sending it into the air, over a concrete barrier, and into a tree. A track employee was also killed in the accident when he was struck by Krosnoff’s wrecked car.
2001: The British Grand Prix race saw five drivers retire, as Jarno Trulli’s Jordan collided with David Coulthard’s McLaren in the first corner; Jacques Villeneuve’s BAR pushed his teammate Olivier Panis off the track at the start, forcing Panis to retire. Mika Häkkinen won the race for McLaren.
1911: Jake DeRosier, on an Indian, defeated Charlie Collier, on a Matchless, in a 10 lap (22 mile) motorcycle race at Brooklands, England. He was one of the first factory-backed motorcycle racers of the early 20th Century. He rode for Indian and then Excelsior, and was the fastest rider in the United States in the early 1900s.While Jake DeRosier was widely respected for his skills at the wheel of a motorcycle, he spent much of his career injured in spectacular accidents. He broke his left leg three times, his left forearm once, had one rib removed, fractured his skull, severed an artery and suffered serious leg burns from flaming engines. He suffered the most serious injuries of his career on March 12, 1912. Injuries to his left leg and thigh were extensive. He endured three corrective surgeries, losing his life to complications from the final
operation on February 25, 1913.
1922: The first 24-hour road race run in Europe, the Bol d’or at Sainte-Germain, was won by Andre Morel in a 1,100cc Amilcar at 37.54 mph.
1922: The Bugatti Type 30 made its racing debut, with Pierre de Vizcaya and Pierre Marco taking second and third places at the French Grand Prix in Strasbourg.
1928: The Mercedes-Benz SS made its racing debut at the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring and occupied the top three places – Halle in an Amilcar and Vinzenz Junek in a Bugatti were killed in accidents during the race.
1939: Carl Fisher (65), the founder of both the Indy 500 and Miami Beach, died in Miami.
1961: Following a wet weekend, with torrential rain affecting both qualifying and the race start, the British Grand Prix at Aintree was ultimately dominated by Scuderia Ferrari, with their drivers taking all three podium positions. The race was won by German Wolfgang von Trips, who had led for much of the race after starting from fourth place. This was von Trips’s second and last Grand Prix victory, as two races later he was killed in an accident during the 1961 Italian Grand Prix. Pole position winner Phil Hill drove to second place, on his way to winning the World Drivers’ Championship at the end of the season. Tony Maggs, driving a Lotus in his Formula 1 debut, finished 13th. The Ferguson, financed by Harry Ferguson, designed by Claude Hill and driven by Jack Fairman and Stirling Moss, made its only Formula 1 appearance, but was disqualified for receiving a push start – the Gilby also made its debut with the car driven by Keith Greeene finished 15th, the marque’s best result in its three Formula 1 appearances.
1967: Jim Clark kick-started his faltering season with victory in the British Grand Prix. Lotus had the fastest car but struggled with transmission problems – both cars had retired while running 1-2 in the French Grand Prix a fortnight earlier – but as Clark and Graham Hill dominated all seemed to be right at Silverstone. Hill led up to the 55th lap when his car suffered from a rear suspension issues and then engine failure, but Clark held on.
1971: Richard Petty led all the way in the Islip 250, the final race for NASCAR’s top series at Islip (New York, US) Speedway, in an event shortened by 20 laps because of scoring confusion. Petty started from the pole and led all 230 laps, finishing two laps ahead of Friday Hassler, who posted his career-best finish in second. Elmo Langley was third, six laps down at the end. Seven drivers quit within the first 15 laps after becoming near-instant lap traffic, the result of starting 33 cars on a .2-mile track — the shortest ever to hold a Cup event. The track was later demolished to make room for a cookie factory.
1972: Emerson Fittipaldi won an eventful British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. Jackie Icyx led early on before retiring with oil pressure problems, while Ronnie Peterson appeared set to take fourth place when his engine cut out and he crashed into the abandoned cars of Graham Hill and Francois Cevert.
1990: Alain Prost secured his third successive win at the British Grand Prix to move ahead of Ayrton Senna in the drivers’ championship. The early battle had been between Senna and Nigel Mansell as the pair swapped the lead, but mechanical problems took their toll on Mansell while Senna spun off, allowing Prost to cruise home. A fuming Mansell, who eventually had to retire on the 56th lap, said afterwards that he was “much quicker than anyone else … I’m bound to wonder why these problems don’t happen to the other guys”. He then announced his retirement – “I’m not making an excuse, just a statement … I don’t want to burst into tears” – but soon changed his mind.
2001: In his period of dominance, the British Grand Prix was a rare failure for Michael Schumacher as he failed to win despite taking pole, the victory going to Mike Hakkinen. For Heinz-Harald Frentzen it marked the end of his time with Jordan who sacked him following a disappointing season.