When we hear the thundering sounds of engines and witness the speed with which modern supercars fly by, it seems unbelievable that humans have evolved so quickly in such a short period, and that only a century was needed for us to go from four-wheeled bicycles to today’s Formula One monsters.
The reason for this expansion and development may be hidden in the human’s desire for speed, and most of us enjoy the adrenalin rush, and we love the wind blowing in our hair. Of course, humans are also competitive in nature, and it was inevitable that cars become a part of the racing tradition, just like horses used to be. However, the evolution of car racing was a dangerous and hazardous process, and unfortunately, many brave drivers gave their lives for progress and technological improvements.
The dangerous nature of car driving has been particularly present in the early days of car production, and those models were cumbersome, inefficient, and unreliable to say the least. But, the enthusiasm of those racing pioneers was unstoppable, and according to most sources – the first car race was held in April of 1887. It took place in Paris, under the organization of the publication called “Le Velocipede”, and the track was 2 kilometers long.
The winner of that race was Georges Bouton, which means that he was the first car racing champion. Soon after, other races have followed, and competitions were starting to appear on all sides.
On July 23rd, 1894, the first official motoring competition was held, and the race lead from Paris to Rouen. 102 competitors were listed at the start of the day, but not many of them have completed the track. As we said earlier, the first vehicles were low on power, required enormous quantities of gas, and the world “comfortable” was not yet anywhere near the ears of car designers and manufacturers. However, the speed of the cars was higher than the one on the bicycle, and the risk of fatality was an even stronger “motivation” for some brave (or foolish) youngsters. In 1895, a similar race was held, and the track, this time, lead from Paris to Bordeaux. With the length of 723 miles and the duration of 49 hours, this was the first recorded long-distance car race.
As we can see, France was the leading nation when it comes to the early days of car racing, and the Grand Prix that established in France at the start of the 1900s was the origin of today’s Formula One competition. However, other nations soon discovered the potential and the excitement that car racing provides, and the Thanksgiving Day race in Chicago in 1895 is considered as the first care race that was held on the American ground.