FRENCH GRAND PRIX ANNIVERSARY.
THE first Grand Prix of the Automobile Club de France was run on the 26th and. 27th June, 1906, and the present year is, therefore, the twenty-fifth anniversary of the first of the long series of this famous event. The first race was run at le Mans, and it was in connection with the organisation of the event that there was formed the Automobile Club de l’Onest, which has since become easily the most famous of the provincial French clubs. It seems obvious that the double jubilee must be fittingly celebrated, and M. Charles Faroux, the well known French journalist, suggests that no better way of doing so could be found than by organising a reunion of all the surviving drivers in the
historic contest on the occasion of the forthcoming Grand Prix d’Endurance at le Mans. The idea is certainly an excellent one, and it is to be hoped, that it will be put into practice. Of the thirty-two drivers who started in the first Grand Prix many, of course, are no longer surviving. The winner, Louis Szisz, however, who drove a 105 h.p. Renault in the race, is still with us, and nowadays manages the huge garage at Neuilly, on the outskirts of Paris. Of his team-mates, Edmond is dead, but Richez is still a member of the Renault firm. Of the next most successful team, two of the Fiat drivers are both going strongly ; one of them, Felice Nazzaro, is intending to take part in the
forthcoming Italian 1,000 Miles Race, and is still the head of the Fiat racing department, while the other, Lancia, is still actively directing the construction of the cars which have made his name famous the world, over, but Weilschott, the third member of the team, is dead. Of the other Italians, Cav. Vincenzo Floria, who drove an Itala in the Grand, Prix, is, of course, still an active influence in motoring sport, organising the Sicilian races and Monza track and generally about the most important person in the Italian automobile world ; and his team-mate, Cagno, is now, I think, attached to Fiat and has appeared in races not so long since. The only Englishman in the race was
FRENCH GRAND PRIX ANNIVERSARY—continued.
Mr. Heath, of Birmingham, who drove a Panhard et I4evassor and had as his teammates, Teste, who is still attached to the same firm, and Tart, who is also still in the industry. The whole of the LorraineDietrich team is, I think, surviving. Gabriel is still with us, and ha. driven in the le Mans 24-hour race within the last year or two. Henri Rougier has driven in the post-war Grands Prix, and Arthur Duray still drives his 1,100 c.c. Aries with all his old enthusiasm, and took part in the Grand Prix last year. Of the Darracq team in the 1906 race, Hanriot has died, but Victor Hemery has been racing in quite recent years, and now keeps a garage at le Mans, and is a prominent member of the A.C.O. ; while Louis Wagner is a familiar figure to quite modern followers of motor racing. On the other hand, no member of the BayardClement team is still surviving. Albert
Clement himself, who was third in the 1906 race, was killed while racing at Dieppe, and the same fate overtook his team-mate Villemain in the terrible catastrophe in the ” Coupe de la Presse ” race in 1907. The third member of the team, de la Touloubre, died a natural death ; it is interesting to note that in a ” general knowledge paper” recently set by a correspondent to our contemporary ” The Autocar,” practically none of the candidates seemed to have heard of this once well known driver. Sic transit . . . ! Of the others, the great Camille Jenatzy, the first man of the Mercedis team, is dead, but Rigolly, who drove the lone Gobron-Brillie in the 1906 race, is still with us and is manager of an important garage at Chattillon-sur-Seine. Le Blon, who drove a Hotchkiss in the race, was killed in a flying accident at San Sebastian, and his team-mate,
Salleron, died a natural death ; but Baras and Barillier, who drove Brasiers, are still alive. In all it seems that it might be possible to collect nearly twenty of the drivers in the first Grand Prix at le Mans this June, and it is sincerely to be hoped that the idea will be carried out. The only improvement to the scheme which one might suggest, and which I have not yet seen proposed, is that as many of the drivers as possible should bring their original racers to the meet. I do not know whether this would prove at all possible, although I believe the winning Renault, which has had a varied history in the meantime, is still running in the neighbourhood of Paris. Whether any of the other veterans still exist, I do not know ; it would be exceptionally interesting to
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