Last updated on October 8th, 2023 at 03:01 am

In 1887, the first racing car, the De Dion Bouton et Trépardoux steam vehicle, was created by Georges Bouton and Count Albert de Dion, marking the beginning of competitive motor racing and inspiring generations of racing enthusiasts worldwide.

A new experience always gives you a new challenge. It always helps you feel better inside and outside if you are adventurous and enjoy taking risks.

Car Racing has become a popular sport these days, which has been around since the 19th century. Racing is thrilling and exciting for those eager to have new experiences and love adventures in their lives.

The First Racing Car In The World

The Early History of Car Racing 

In 1885, Gottlieb Daimler invented the modern car engine. At first, he used his machine in a two-wheeled vehicle, and in the same year, he built the first four-wheeled gas-fueled vehicle in the world. 

Though Daimler and Benz designed the gasoline-fueled car with an internal combustion engine in the same year, Benz’s patent for a gasoline-fueled car was granted in 1886, and Daimler’s patent was granted in 1887. 

After the gas car invention, there was competition among the inventors to prove which one was best. Then they thought of a better way and decided to let the contenders fight it out in a race.

In 1886, the first patent for a gasoline-fueled car was granted to Karl Benz. When the first few automatic cars were invented, the inventors decided to organize a car racing event to pick the best car.

First Car Race: Paris-Versailles

The first race of cars was held on 28th, 1887. It was organized by Monsieur Fossier, over a distance of a mile and a quarter, between the bridge Neuilly-sur-Seine and the Bois de Boulogne. That race was titled the Paris-Versailles race. 

The editor in chief of “Le Velocipede” had extended an open invitation to all comers to enter. But there was only one car to attend the race. That was manufactured by the partnership of engineer Georges Bouton (1847-1938) and enthusiast Count Jules-Albert de Dion (1856-1946), the de Dion-Bouton automobile company. The car crossed the finish line at 37 miles per hour. That can not be called a race.

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Paris–Rouen: First Organized Automobile Competition

Many people do not consider the 1887 race competition as it had only one entrant there. In 1894 the editor-in-chief, M. Pierre Giffard of the Parisian magazine Le Petit Journal organized a race on 22 July. He promoted this event as the competition for Horseless Carriages, which were not dangerous, easy to drive, and cheap during the journey. It was the first motoring competition held from Paris to Rouen.

One hundred two competitors paid a 10-franc entrance fee for the race. Only 69 cars attended a qualifying event over 50 kilometers, and 25 finalists participated in the final race. Peugeot, Panhard, De Dion, and amateur owners were on that list of finalists.

Again in this competition, a De Dion vehicle took first place. The winner was judged based on speed, handling, and safety characteristics, and the De Dion vehicle was a steam-powered car and needed a stoker, which was not in the race rules. So the car was not declared the winner. The first car that got the honor to be the first racing car to win the competition was Georges Lemaitre’s Peugeot. The Peugeot was next to finish after De Dion’s car.

Paris–Bordeaux–Paris race

After that, in 1895, another race took place in Paris. The drivers had to start the race from Paris to Bordeaux and back to Paris. The first to finish the race was Émile Levassor. He completed the 1,178km race in 48 hours. He and his partner, Rene Panhard, designed the car he drove. It only had a top speed of twenty kilometers.

The official winner of that race was Paul Koechlin in a Peugeot because Peugeot was a four-seater vehicle, but Levassor and Rigoulot drove two-seater cars. Officially this race was for four-seater cars.

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The First Race In The United States

Later in 1895, automobile racing began in the United States. The first race in America was held in 1895 on a cold, windy Thanksgiving day. The race track was decided to run from Chicago to Milwaukee, but the roads were so bad at that time for racing the early cars. So it was changed from Chicago to Evanston, only 54 miles (87 km) and back. Newspapers sponsored that race for promotional purposes.

Eighty-three cars initially entered the race, but only six vehicles could arrive on the competition day. The winner of the race was Frank Duryea. He and his brother designed and manufactured the car he derived in that race. He drove about 52.4 miles in only 10 hours and 23 minutes. The Duryea is acknowledged as the first racing car in the United States.

International race

The Automobile Club de France arranged several international car races. They organized the Bennett Trophy races in 1901, 1902, and 1903. Usually, the races were placed among the different cities in Europe or from France to other countries. In 1903, the city-to-city race stopped because of many accidents during the race. 

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Targa Florio

The Targa Florio was founded in 1906. It was an open road endurance automobile race. This race was held in the mountains of Sicily near the island’s capital of Palermo and is the oldest sports car racing event.

This event became part of the World Sportscar Championship. After 1973, it became the national sports car event. In 1977 it was stopped due to safety concerns as different accidents happened during the race.

World’s First Purpose-Built Motor Racing Circuit

The world’s first purpose-built motor racing track was Aspendale Racecourse. It was in Australia. In 1904, the first automobile demonstration of the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria was arranged at Aspendale Racecourse. The following year, Robert Crooke built a motor race track inside the existing horse racing track. This racing circuit was opened for the first race in January 1906. The path was in pear shape with a length of about a mile, having slightly banked curves and a gravel surface of crushed cement.

The first speedway purpose-built for automobile racing was constructed in 1906 and opened in 1907 at Brooklands, England. It was a 4.45 km circuit with a 30 m wide concrete track with high-speed banked corners. The track was damaged and closed during world war II and never opened again. 

The second oldest racing track still exists, the Milwaukee Mile. Car racing had been held on this track since 1903. It was not purposely made for car racing but horse racing.

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