A brief his­tory

Euro­pean mo­tor rac­ing

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Contents -

1885 Karl Benz builds his first mo­tor car.

1886 Karl Benz builds his sec­ond mo­tor car. Rac­ing is born.

1894 The first or­gan­ised car race is held, a 50-mile re­li­a­bil­ity chal­lenge around the streets of Paris. The win­ner com­pletes the course at an av­er­age speed of 10mph, slightly faster than it’s pos­si­ble to drive the streets of Paris to­day.

1898 The first closed-cir­cuit race is held on the Course de Périgueux track. 1899 Course de Périgueux race or­gan­is­ers con­clude things might be less crashy if all the cars run the track in the same di­rec­tion.

1900 News­pa­per mogul Ge­orge Ben­nett, named af­ter the pop­u­lar ex­ple­tive of the time, or­gan­ises the first in­ter­na­tional motorsport event, with France, Bel­gium, Ger­many and the USA rac­ing 350 miles across France. The Amer­i­can com­peti­tors re­tire at the first cor­ner, ut­terly be­mused.

1923 The first 24 Hours of Le Mans is held. The en­durance race gives man­u­fac­tur­ers of the time a chance to demon­strate the speed and re­li­a­bil­ity of their ve­hi­cles, and Ger­man spec­ta­tors of the time a chance to demon­strate how many cans of strong lager they can drink be­fore col­laps­ing in a heap just be­hind Tertre Rouge.

1950 The in­au­gu­ral For­mula One sea­son is held. Bernie Ec­cle­stone mys­te­ri­ously al­ready holds the tele­vi­sion rights.

1969 F1 en­ters its in­no­va­tion era, with man­u­fac­tur­ers pump­ing mil­lions into tech­no­log­i­cal re­search. In a high-se­cu­rity lab in West Ger­many, sci­en­tists cre­ate the first ‘Michael Schu­macher’, an ad­vanced driv­ing au­tom­a­ton made of ti­ta­nium, sil­i­cone and pure ruth­less­ness.

1979 The first Paris–Dakar rally is held, be­tween Paris, France, and Dakar, Sene­gal. Or­gan­is­ers later de­cide this is far too con­fus­ing, and re­lo­cate Dakar to South Amer­ica.

1982 The World Rally Cham­pi­onship en­ters its leg­endary ‘Group B’ phase. 1987 The World Rally Cham­pi­onship ex­its its leg­endary ‘Group B’ phase, side­ways and largely on fire.

2008 Bri­tish tyro Lewis Hamil­ton wins his first world cham­pi­onship. 2010 Lewis Hamil­ton splits from long-term girl­friend Ni­cole Scherzinger. 2011 Lewis Hamil­ton gets back to­gether with long-term girl­friend Ni­cole Scherzinger.

2015 Lewis Hamil­ton splits from long-term girl­friend Ni­cole Scherzinger. 2016 Aus­tralian racer Daniel Ric­cia­rdo wins a mo­tor race, drinks cham­pagne from a shoe.

2017 Sébastien Ogier se­cures his fifth suc­ces­sive World Rally Cham­pi­onship ti­tle. No one no­tices.

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