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Racing, auto racing,

Gas engine racing history, racing tracks, racing events

History The beginning of racing

Racing started soon after the manufacture of the first successful gasoline automobiles. The first race ever was on April 28, 1887 organized by the chief editor of Paris publication Le Vélocipède, Monsieur Fossier. It was 2 kilometers from Neuilly Bridge to the Bois de Boulogne. The victor was Georges Bouton of the De Dion-Bouton company, in a car he had made with Albert, the Comte de Dion, but as he was the only competitor to show up so it is rather difficult to call it a race.

Then on July 22, 1894, the Parisian magazine Le Petit Journal organised what is considered to be the world's first car race from Paris to Rouen. Sporting events were a tried and tested form of publicity and circulation booster. Pierre Giffard, the newspaper's editor, promoted it as a Competition for Horeseless Carriages (Concours des Voitures sans Chevaux) that were less dangerous, easier to drive, and cheaper during the journey. Even though it blurred the distinctions between a reliability trial, a general event and a race, the main prize was for the first across the finish line in Rouen. 102 people paid the 10 franc entrance fee.

69 cars started the 50 km (31 mi) selection event that would show which entrants would be allowed to start the main event, the 127 km (79 mi) race from Paris to Rouen. The entrants ranged from serious manufacturers like Peugeot, Panhard or De Dion to amateur owners-operators, and only 25 were selected for the main race.

The race started from Porte Maillot and continued through the Bois de Boulogne. Count Jules-Albert de Dion was first into Rouen after 6 hours and 48 minutes at an average speed of 19 km/h. He finished 3'30 ahead of Georges Lemaître (Peugeot), followed by Doriot (Peugeot) at 16'30, René Panhard (Panhard) at 33'30'' and Émile Levassor (Panhard) at 55'30. The official winners in the race were Peugeot and Panhard as cars were judged on their speed, handling and safety features, and De Dion's steam car needed a stoker which was forbidden.

Early races

In 1895, the Paris-Bordeaux-Paris Trial was held and was the first real race as all competitors started together. The winner was Émile Levassor in a Panhard-Levassor 1205 cc model. He completed the course (1,178 km or 732 miles) in 48 hours and 47 minutes, finishing about six hours before the runner-up.

The first true auto racing venue was Nice, France, run in late March 1897 as a "Speed Week." To fill out the schedule, most types of racing event were invented here, including the first hill climbing race (Nice ­ La Turbie) and a sprint that can be considered the first drag race.

An international competition, between nations, began with the Gordon Bennett Cup in auto racing.

The first auto race in the United States happened in Chicago, Illinois. The course went from the South side of the city, North along the lakefront to Evanston, Illinois and back on November 28, 1895 over a 54.36 mile(87.48 km) course, with Frank Duryea winning the event in 10 hours and 23 minutes, beating three petrol-fueled vehicles.

With auto construction and racing dominated by France, the French automobile club ACF staged a number of major international race events, usually from or to Paris, connecting with another major city, in France or elsewhere in Europe.

These very successful races came to an abrupt halt in 1903 when Marcel Renault was involved in a fatal accident near Angoulême in the Paris-Madrid race. Nine fatalities caused the French government to stop the race in Bordeaux and ban open-road racing.

The first racing circuits/tracks ever built:

The Milwaukee Mile is the oldest motor racing track in the world, with racing being held there since 1903. It was not built exclusively for motor racing, but started as a one-mile (1.6 km) horse racing track in the 19th century. A remaining section of the Brooklands track till exists today.

Brooklands in Surrey, England was the motor racing venue, opening in June 1907.It featured a 4.43 km (3 mi) concrete track with high-speed and banked corners. Brooklands was also a center of the aviation industry, with Vickers setting up a factory and aerodrome there during World War I. The racing track was closed in 1939 as war-time aircraft production took over. Damage done to the track during World War II caused the track to never reopened for racing.

However, Brooklands seems to have been the inspiration for the Indianapolis Speedway, which opened in 1909.


The 1930s brought about the transformation from high-priced road cars into pure racers, with Delage, Auto Union, Mercedes-Benz, Delahaye, and Bugatti constructing streamlined vehicles with engines producing up to 450 kW (612 hp), aided by multiple-stage supercharging. Begining in 1928­1930 and again in 1934­1936, the maximum weight permitted was 750 kg, a rule diametrically opposed to current racing regulations. Extensive use of aluminium alloys was required to achieve light weight, and in the case of the Mercedes, even the paint was removed to satisfy the weight limitation, producing the famous Silver Arrows.

Racing Links

Road Racing Drivers Club -
Founded in 1952, the Road Racing Drivers Club is comprised of leaders of the sport and serves to recognize, promote and mentor American road racing drivers.

News and Events the Watkins Glen International official site, with information, links, history, feature stories the most comprehensive directory of US and Canadian tracks and information, as well as other features The annual Green Grand Prix celebrates the use of alternate fueled vehicles and educates the public about related issues the website of the Indianapolis Star, and includes well-informed writing and research specializing in wire service reports, media details, motorsport press associations news from all racing series the definitive F1 site. AtlasF1 is literate, comprehensively researched, and mindful of racing's historical context. Includes award-winning columnists and historians, and well organized, important links largest most up-to-date F1 site statistics, photographs, daily headlines, with articles on testing Formula 1 Results and Information Explorer web site of the "world's first motorsport resort," to be located on the Spanish island Majorca

NASCAR official site of NASCAR, including news, results, standings, transcripts of interviews, collectibles a site index directory with useful evaluations Glen Region of the Sports Car Club of America Inc. official site of the Grand American Road Racing Association a wide range of information relating to sports car racing Finger Lakes Region SCCA All about cars. Comprehensive automotive news and views. Includes columns by Mike Davis, a recent visitor to the Center, who wrote about the experience. the official site, with news, history, features, photographs, standings, schedules another in-depth look at champ car racing a particularly rich site with columns, sound files, images, schedules, links, and more the official site, with news, history, features, photographs, standings, schedules history, restoration, market value Canadian historic site an astounding compilation of historic results the Journal of Motor Racing History one of the premier motorsport magazines, with excellent photographs Online journal featuring news, in-depth articles and classifieds for the vintage racing enthusiast The 3.27-mile road course in Carpentersville, Ill., 40 miles outside of Chicago, operated from 1958 to 1969 and hosted amateur and professional sports car races as well as NASCAR, ARCA, AMA and USAC events. The website has over 1,000 vintage photographs as well as 100 current photos. The track property is still intact as a public nature and recreation area. While the old course can be followed on a walking tour, the track surface has crumbled to uselessness. a collection of photographs of California sports car racing, 1961-62 "The Bog" and more; all things Watkins Glen history links; a creative site Gordon White's history of the American classic Offenhauser official site of the world's most prestigious concours a Nissan/Datsun site Virginia International Raceway site An impressive site of historical narratives relating to important race cars. an encyclopedic reference of racing program cover art the Michael Keyser site, with reference to his excellent Speed Merchants, French Kiss With Death and the many images from his career A Mark Donohue tribute site Britain's Motorsports Competitor of the Century America's First Formula 1 Champion three-time World Driver Champion the work of racing artist Robert Gillespie, who specializes in historical moments Jacques Vaucher's splendid site of fine art and rare visual pieces a large commercial photo archive a very nice site of photojournalist Andy Hartwell, includes unusual links, media services the Klemantaski Collection is one of the world's largest and most varied libraries of historic motor sports photography Kane Rogers' collection of automotive art Thom Montanari's gallery of fine art : fanciful artistic clay renderings by Craig and Pamela Booth A fine website by Ron Nelson, prominent motorsports photographer and generous friend of the Research Center Lithographs of particular interest Barry Rowe's automotive fine art site: aesthetic treatments of the classics

Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Museum

Blackhawk Automotive Museum

Gilmore-Classic Car Club of America Museum

National Packard Museum

The National Automotive Collection

Located in the Detroit Public Library, the NAHC is considered the premiere automotive archive in the U.S. that is accessible to the public. Highlights of the collection include manuscript material documenting the history of the automotive industry and a broad selection of both service and owner's manuals.

The Automobile Reference Collection
Founded in 1948 as the Thomas McKean Collection potion of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Reference Collection is another source for general history, featuring books, periodicals and photographs.

The National Motor Museum
The Motoring Reference Library, Photograph Library and Film Library at the National Motor Museum, Hampshire, England, have grown since its inception in 1960 to include more than one hundred periodical titles (including Autocar from 1895 to date), thousands of photographs, and over one thousand films.

Eastern Museum of Motor Racing
Dedicated to the history of open wheel racing, The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing has a Research Library component consisting of books, periodicals and photographs.