Today, the thorny question of fossil-fuel replacement is justifiably at the forefront of our thoughts. By 1901 a number of competitions and trials had already been held with the object in mind of promoting alcohol fuel as an alternative power source.
Pioneer racing historian Gerald Rose wrote in 1909 about earlier efforts on the continent to promote alcohol fuel “…before a not very appreciative public”. He wrote: “Alcohol being a product of France, it was quite in keeping with the desire of the French Government for the encouragement of a great and growing national industry that the Minister of Agriculture, M. Jean Dupuy, should have created a Commission charged with the duty of discovering the best means by which the relative advantages of alcohol over petrol could be brought to the notice of automobilists”.
Since the Minister of the Interior had just banned the enthusiastic and dynamic Automobile Club de Nice’s planned 500-mile road race from Nice to Abbazia (now Opatija in Western Croatia) it was ironic that the Commission recommended an alcohol-fuelled road race as the best way of promoting the alternative fuel.