Rally is a form of motorsport that takes place on public or private roads with modified production or specially built road-legal cars. It is distinguished by running not on a circuit, but instead in a point-to-point format in which participants and their co-drivers drive between set control points, leaving at regular intervals from one or more start points. Rallies may be won by pure speed within the stages or alternatively by driving to a predetermined ideal journey time within the stages; the term "rally", as a branch of motorsport dates from the first Monte Carlo Rally of January 1911. Until the late 1920s, few if any other events used the term. Rallying itself can be traced back to the 1894 Paris–Rouen Horseless Carriage Competition, sponsored by a Paris newspaper, Le Petit Journal, which attracted considerable public interest and entries from leading manufacturers. Prizes were awarded to the vehicles by a jury based on the reports of the observers who rode in each car; this event led directly to a period of city-to-city road races in France and other European countries, which introduced many of the features found in rallies: individual start times with cars running against the clock rather than head to head.
The first of these great races was the Paris–Bordeaux–Paris race of June 1895, won by Paul Koechlin in a Peugeot, despite arriving 11 hours after Émile Levassor in a Panhard et Levassor. Levassor's time for the 1,178 km course, running without a break, was 48 hours and 48 minutes, an average speed of 24 km/h. From 24 September-3 October 1895, the Automobile Club de France sponsored the longest race to date, a 1,710 km event, from Bordeaux to Agen and back; because it was held in ten stages, it can be considered the first rally. The first three places were taken by a Panhard, a Panhard, a three-wheeler De Dion-Bouton. In the Paris–Madrid race of May 1903, the Mors of Fernand Gabriel took just under five and a quarter hours for the 550 km to Bordeaux, an average of 105 km/h. Speeds had now far outstripped the safe limits of dusty highways thronged with spectators and open to other traffic and animals; the French government banned this style of event. From on, racing in Europe would be on closed circuits on long loops of public highway and in 1907, on the first purpose-built track, England's Brooklands.
Racing was going its own separate way. One of the earliest of road races, the Tour de France of 1899, was to have a long history, running 18 times as a reliability trial between 1906 and 1937, before being revived in 1951 by the Automobile Club de Nice. Italy had been running road competitions since 1895, when a reliability trial was run from Turin to Asti and back; the country's first true motor race was held in 1897 along the shore of Lake Maggiore, from Arona to Stresa and back. This led to a long tradition of road racing, including events like Sicily's Targa Florio and Giro di Sicilia, which went right round the island, both of which continued on and off until after World War II; the first Alpine event was held in 1898, the Austrian Touring Club's three-day Automobile Run through South Tyrol, which included the infamous Stelvio Pass. In Britain, the legal maximum speed of 12 mph precluded road racing, but in April and May 1900, the Automobile Club of Great Britain organised the Thousand Mile Trial, a 15-day event linking Britain's major cities, in order to promote this novel form of transport.
Seventy vehicles took part, the majority of them trade entries. They had to complete thirteen stages of route varying in length from 43 to 123 miles at average speeds of up to the legal limit of 12 mph, tackle six hillclimb or speed tests. On rest days and at lunch halts, the cars were shown to the public in exhibition halls; this was followed in 1901 by a five-day trial based in Glasgow The Scottish Automobile Club organised an annual Glasgow–London non-stop trial from 1902 to 1904 the Scottish Reliability Trial from 1905. The Motor Cycling Club allowed cars to enter its trials and runs from 1904. In 1908 the Royal Automobile Club held its 2,000 mi International Touring Car Trial, 1914 the important Light Car Trial for manufacturers of cars up to 1400 cc, to test comparative performances and improve the breed. In 1924, the exercise was repeated as the Small Car Trials. In Germany, the Herkomer Trophy was first held in 1905, again in 1906; this challenging five-day event attracted over 100 entrants to tackle its 1,000 km road section, a hillclimb and a speed trial, but sadly it was marred by poor organisation and confusing regulations.
One participant had been Prince Henry of Austria, inspired to do better, so he enlisted the aid of the Imperial Automobile Club of Germany to create the first Prinz Heinrich Fahrt in 1908. Another trial was held in 1910; these were successful, attracting top drivers and works cars from major teams – several manufacturers added "Prince Henry" models to their ranges. The first Alpine Trial was held in 1909, in Aus
1958 Formula One season
The 1958 Formula One season was the 12th season of FIA Formula One motor racing. It featured the 1958 World Championship of Drivers which commenced on 19 January 1958, ended on 19 October after eleven races; this was the first Formula One season in which a Manufacturers title was awarded, the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers being contested concurrently with the World Championship of Drivers with the exception of the Indianapolis 500 which did not count towards the Cup. Englishman Mike Hawthorn won the Drivers' title after a close battle with compatriot Stirling Moss and Vanwall won the inaugural Manufacturers award from Ferrari. Hawthorn retired from racing at the end of the season, only to die three months after a road car accident; the season was one of the most tragic seasons in Formula One's history. Four drivers died in four different races during this season. Italian Luigi Musso in his works Ferrari during the French Grand Prix at Reims. Hawthorn retired from motor racing after his success, but was killed in a road accident only a few months later.
This season was effectively the last year of Grand Prix racing where the field was dominated with front engined-cars. 1959 and 1960 would be transitional years, where grids at Grand Prix events would feature more and more mid-engined cars and fewer front-engined cars. The mid-engined cars, with their better road holding, increased driving comfort, lighter weight and ease on tires and mechanical components were the way to go. An old-fashioned traditionalist like Enzo Ferrari had to concede that mid-engined cars were what his team needed in order to be competitive- and Ferrari did not have a race-ready mid-engined car until 1961. Although the engine formula remained the same, maximum race lengths were reduced to 300 kilometres or two hours, the use of commercial petrol became compulsory, in place of specialized alcohol-based racing fuels; the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers was awarded for the first time, but Ferrari's Mike Hawthorn won the Drivers' Championship from Stirling Moss, despite the latter having won four of the ten grand prix to Hawthorn's one.
Rear-engined Cooper-Climaxes, entered by the private owner Rob Walker, won two early-season races, through Moss and Maurice Trintignant. Following the Portuguese Grand Prix, Hawthorn faced a penalty but Moss sportingly spoke up for him, the points that Hawthorn was able to keep, subsequently enabled him to edge ahead of Moss for the title. Moss's teammate at Vanwall, Tony Brooks won three races, his success in the Italian race, overtaking Hawthorn after Moss had retired, ensured the title went to the final round in Morocco. Moss needed to win, with Hawthorn third or lower to win the title. With Moss leading and teammate Stuart Lewis-Evans attempted to hold Hawthorn in third, however both their engines failed – Lewis-Evans's tragically resulting in severe burns from which he did not recover. Hawthorn finished second to win his first title by a single point. Vanwall won the inaugural Constructors' competition. Hawthorn's death early in 1959 compounded a tragic season for Formula One, with four drivers killed or fatally injured on the track.
Luigi Musso died in the French Grand Prix, Peter Collins a month in the German Grand Prix – just two weeks after winning his home race, Lewis-Evans died in hospital following his fire in Morocco and Pat O'Connor died at the Indianapolis 500. Maria Teresa de Filippis became the first woman to drive in a race counting towards the World Championship of Drivers. Reigning five-time Champion Juan Manuel Fangio, the dominant driver of the 1950s and one of the greatest of all time, competed in only two races as a privateer, retiring after the French Grand Prix. ^A The Indianapolis 500 counted towards the 1958 USAC Championship, was run for USAC Championship cars, but did not count towards the International Cup for F1 Manufacturers. The following teams and drivers competed in the 1958 FIA World Championship; the above list does not include drivers who only contested the Indianapolis 500. Pink background denotes Formula Two cars at the German and Moroccan Grands Prix Points were awarded on an 8–6–4–3–2 basis to the first five finishers at each race.
An additional point was awarded to the driver setting the fastest race lap. The best six results from the eleven races were retained. Italics indicate fastest lap Bold indicates pole position ~ No points awarded for shared drive Ecclestone – handed car to Fairman at British GP 1 – Ineligible for Formula One points, because he drove with a Formula Two car; the 1958 International Cup for F1 Manufacturers was contested over the same series of races as the World Championship of Drivers, with the exception of the Indianapolis 500 which counted only towards the Drivers' title. Points were awarded on an 8–6–4–3–2 basis to the first five finishers at each race; however a manufacturer only received points for its highest placed car and only the best six results from the ten races were retained. Bold results counted to championship totals. No points awarded for shared drive; the following races were contested by Formula One cars, but did not count towards the World Championship of Drivers or the International Cup for Formula One Manufacture
1956 Formula One season
The 1956 Formula One season was the tenth season of FIA's Formula One motor racing. It featured the seventh World Championship of Drivers as well as numerous non-championship races; the championship series ended on 2 September after eight races. Juan Manuel Fangio won the fourth of his career; until the 2006 season this was the last season during which no British constructor won any championship race. Fangio joined Ferrari after Mercedes-Benz, with whom he had won the 1954 and 1955 titles, withdrew from the sport. Ferrari acquired the folded Lancia team's D50 cars and put together a strong team containing Fangio, Eugenio Castellotti, Luigi Musso and Peter Collins. Fangio won the opening race after commandeering Musso's car. Collins and Fangio's teammate at Mercedes, Stirling Moss – now driving for Maserati provided the biggest challenge to his title defence, each winning two races. In an open season the British Connaughts, Vanwalls and BRMs showed some signs of promise. Going into the final race of the season, Fangio had an eight-point lead over Collins and the consistent Jean Behra, driving for Maserati.
The only way he could lose the title would be to score no points with Collins winning and setting fastest lap. Fangio retired, with Musso unwilling to share his car with Fangio, Collins had a great chance of winning his first title. Collins, in a remarkable act of sportsmanship, instead chose to hand his car over to Fangio to allow the Argentine to finish second in the race and win his third title in a row; the following races counted towards the 1956 World Championship of Drivers: The Suez crisis was a contributing factor in Formula One in 1956. The Dutch and Spanish Grands Prix were affected by this crisis, the oil prices were too high for the teams and drivers, so the two races that were supposed to be held at Zandvoort and Pedralbes were cancelled; the Indianapolis 500 was USAC-sanctioned so not run to Formula One specifications, counted towards the 1956 USAC Championship title. The following teams and drivers competed in the 1956 FIA World Championship; the above list does not include competitors in the 1956 Indianapolis 500.
Championship points were awarded at each race on an 8–6–4–3–2 basis to the first five finishers, with an additional point awarded to the driver setting the fastest lap of the race. Points for shared drives were divided between the drivers, regardless of who had driven more laps. Only the best five round results were counted. Italics indicate fastest lap Bold indicates pole position † Position shared between more drivers of the same car Only the best 5 results counted towards the Championship. Numbers without parentheses are Championship points; the following non-championship races for Formula One cars were held in 1956: 1956 World Championship race results and images at f1-facts.com 1956 World Championship images at The Cahier Archive
Automobiles Ettore Bugatti was a French car manufacturer of high-performance automobiles, founded in 1909 in the then-German city of Molsheim, Alsace by the Italian-born industrial designer Ettore Bugatti. The cars were known for their many race victories. Famous Bugattis include the Type 35 Grand Prix cars, the Type 41 "Royale", the Type 57 "Atlantic" and the Type 55 sports car; the death of Ettore Bugatti in 1947 proved to be the end for the marque, the death of his son Jean Bugatti in 1939 ensured there was not a successor to lead the factory. No more than about 8,000 cars were made; the company struggled financially, released one last model in the 1950s, before being purchased for its airplane parts business in 1963. In the 1990s, an Italian entrepreneur revived it as a builder of limited production exclusive sports cars. Today, the name is owned by the Volkswagen Group. Founder Ettore Bugatti was born in Milan and the automobile company that bears his name was founded in 1909 in Molsheim located in the Alsace region, part of the German Empire from 1871 to 1919.
The company was known both for the level of detail of its engineering in its automobiles, for the artistic manner in which the designs were executed, given the artistic nature of Ettore's family. During the war Ettore Bugatti was sent away to Milan and to Paris, but as soon as hostilities had been concluded he returned to his factory at Molsheim. Less than four months after the Versailles Treaty formalised the transfer of Alsace from Germany to France, Bugatti was able to obtain, at the last minute, a stand at the 15th Paris motor show in October 1919, he exhibited three light cars, all of them based on their pre-war equivalents, each fitted with the same overhead camshaft 4-cylinder 1,368cc engine with four valves per cylinder. Smallest of the three was a "Type 13" with a racing body and using a chassis with a 2,000 mm wheelbase; the others were a "Type 22" and a "Type 23" with wheelbases of 2,400 mm respectively. The company enjoyed great success in early Grand Prix motor racing: in 1929 a entered Bugatti won the first Monaco Grand Prix.
Racing success culminated with driver Jean-Pierre Wimille winning the 24 hours of Le Mans twice. Bugatti cars were successful in racing; the little Bugatti Type 10 swept the top four positions at its first race. The 1924 Bugatti Type 35 is one of the most successful racing cars; the Type 35 was developed by Bugatti with master engineer and racing driver Jean Chassagne who drove it in the car’s first Grand Prix in 1924 Lyon. Bugattis swept to victory in the Targa Florio for five years straight from 1925 through 1929. Louis Chiron held the most podiums in Bugatti cars, the modern marque revival Bugatti Automobiles S. A. S. named the 1999 Bugatti 18/3 Chiron concept car in his honour. But it was the final racing success at Le Mans, most remembered—Jean-Pierre Wimille and Pierre Veyron won the 1939 race with just one car and meagre resources. In the 1930s, Ettore Bugatti got involved in the creation of a racer airplane, hoping to beat the Germans in the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize; this would be the Bugatti 100P.
It was designed by Belgian engineer Louis de Monge who had applied Bugatti Brescia engines in his "Type 7.5" lifting body. Ettore Bugatti designed a successful motorised railcar, the Autorail Bugatti; the death of Ettore Bugatti's son, Jean Bugatti, on 11 August 1939 marked a turning point in the company's fortunes. Jean died. World War II left the Molsheim factory in the company lost control of the property. During the war, Bugatti planned a new factory at a northwestern suburb of Paris. After the war, Bugatti designed and planned to build a series of new cars, including the Type 73 road car and Type 73C single seat racing car, but in all Bugatti built only five Type 73 cars. Development of a 375 cc supercharged car was stopped when Ettore Bugatti died on 21 August 1947. Following Ettore Bugatti's death, the business declined further and made its last appearance as a business in its own right at a Paris Motor Show in October 1952. After a long decline, the original incarnation of Bugatti ceased operations in 1952.
Bugattis are noticeably focused on design. Engine blocks were hand scraped to ensure that the surfaces were so flat that gaskets were not required for sealing, many of the exposed surfaces of the engine compartment featured guilloché finishes on them, safety wires had been threaded through every fastener in intricately laced patterns. Rather than bolt the springs to the axles as most manufacturers did, Bugatti's axles were forged such that the spring passed through a sized opening in the axle, a much more elegant solution requiring fewer parts, he famously described his arch competitor Bentley's cars as "the world's fastest lorries" for focusing on durability. According to Bugatti, "weight was the enemy". Relatives of Harold Carr found a rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante when cataloguing the doctor's belongings after his death in 2009. Carr's Type 57S is notable because it was owned by British race car driver Earl Howe; because much of the car's original equipment is intact, it can be restored without relying on replacement parts.
On 10 July 2009, a 1925 Bugatti Brescia Type 22 which had lain at the bottom of Lake Maggiore on the border of Switzerland and Italy for 75 years was recovered from the lake. The Mullin Mu
1929 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 1929 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 7th Grand Prix of Endurance that took place at the Circuit de la Sarthe on 15 and 16 June 1929. In the most dominant display in the race to date, Bentley achieved a comprehensive victory taking the first four places on distance. Bentley director Woolf Barnato repeated his victory of the previous year, co-driven this time by fellow Bentley Boy Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin, they had led from start to finish, setting a new distance lap record. The race was quiet, without serious incident, aside from a fuel fire burning Stutz driver Édouard Brisson. Half of the reduced field had retired by dawn on the Sunday and the Bentley team was able to stage a formation finish for its four finishers; the international regulations remained unchanged. However, for its part, the Automobile Club de l'Ouest decreed that 2-seater cars could now be no bigger than 1000cc and the 3-seat dispensation for 1500cc cars was removed after two years; this year Shell petrol was the official fuel for all cars.
Residents of southern Le Mans city were successful in petitioning the council. A new by-pass road, the Rue de Circuit, was built 600 metres ahead of the Pontlieue hairpin at the edge of the city, it reduced the track length by 922 metres from 10.73 km to 10.15 km. The road surface experiments continued on the track; the left-hand turn approaching Arnage was re-surfaced with bricks and named Indianapolis, after the famous American “Brickyard”. A new spectator area was opened between the two corners. Many roadside trees had their trunks painted white for visibility and all the corners were signposted; the media centre was enlarged to include six phone booths and a telegraph table. The global recession was hitting the auto-industry hard and only 26 cars made it to the start-line. For the first time French cars were in the minority with none in line for outright distance honours, it became a three-nation entry list with cars only from Great Britain and the United States. In lieu of a lack of direct manufacturer support, more privateer entries arrived.
Supercharged engines were popular with ten cars having ‘blown’ engines. Dunlop Tyres now shod all the cars in the field. Of the sixteen places open in the Biennial Cup final, thirteen were taken up. Note: The first number is the number of entries, the second the number who started. Belying its precarious financial position, defending winners Bentley arrived with a strong five-car entry, led by the new Speed Six sport version of its 6½-litre tourer; the engine was developed by Harry Weslake using a magnesium-alloy crankcase to reduce weight. It get to 185 kp/h; the previous year’s winner, company director, Woolf Barnato would drive it with Henry “Tim” Birkin. Another Le Mans winner, Dudley Benjafield, was slated to drive the car, but he gave his place to Birkin believing he would have a better chance of winning; the remaining four cars were the reliable 4½-litre tourers, the chassis strengthened after the issues from the previous year. They were assigned to more of the “Bentley Boys”: Frank Clement / Jean Chassagne, Benjafield with Baron André d’Erlanger and Glen Kidston/Jack Dunfee.
The fourth car, of Earl Howe/Bernard Rubin, had only a week earlier been used in a 24-hour record-breaking attempt at Montlhéry by Mary Petre and her husband Victor Bruce. The experienced driving squad was supported by Bertie Kensington-Moir, back from Lagonda as team manager, Walter Hassan as lead mechanic. After the close-fought duel the previous year, Stutz returned with three cars; the new Model M Blackhawk had a 5.3-litre engine capable of 155 bhp through a four-speed gearbox. The cars were entered by their European dealerships. British agent Warwick Wright had George Eyston/Dick Watney as drivers. Automobiles Elite, of Paris, hired Guy Philippe de Rothschild, their car was fitted with an optional Roots-supercharger. Like Stutz, Du Pont was in the American luxury car market; the new Model G had a big 5.3-litre Continental sidevalve engine. However this was a two-seater tourer, refused entry by the ACO under its new maximum engine-size rule. So, the company fashioned four four-seater speedster models, however only one of the two entries was ready in time for the race.
It would be driven by the first Americans at Le Mans -- Alfredo Luis Miranda. Once again, the Grand Garage St Didier entered two of their Chryslers; the ‘75’ was the 1929 model, driven by team regular Henri Stoffel, this time along with French GP racer Robert Benoist. The ` 77' manned by Cyril de Vere and Marcel Mongin. Invicta was an English firm founded in 1919. Offering a standard design in three wheelbase lengths, the 1928 LC version featured the current 4.5-litre Meadows engine that put out 100 bhp. Cecil Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes, a major in the Royal Marines, put in a privateer entry for the race. Lea-Francis was an English firm manufacturing since 1920; the S-Type had arrived in 1927, with the Meadows 1.5-litre engine used in several English sports cars. Once fitted with a supercharger it could reach 145 kp/h and became popular with privateer drivers and Kaye Don won the RAC Tourist Trophy handicap. Enthused by this, gentleman racer Ken Peacock entered a car with Lea-Francis distributor Sammy Newsome as his co-pilot.
The Lagonda works team had had a disappointing season in 1928, with only one finish from seven entries in three races. However, a new
National Socialism, more known as Nazism, is the ideology and practices associated with the Nazi Party – the National Socialist German Workers' Party – in Nazi Germany, of other far-right groups with similar aims. Nazism is a form of fascism and showed that ideology's disdain for liberal democracy and the parliamentary system, but incorporated fervent antisemitism, anti-communism, scientific racism, eugenics into its creed, its extreme nationalism came from Pan-Germanism and the Völkisch movement prominent in the German nationalism of the time, it was influenced by the Freikorps paramilitary groups that emerged after Germany's defeat in World War I, from which came the party's "cult of violence", "at the heart of the movement."Nazism subscribed to theories of racial hierarchy and Social Darwinism, identifying the Germans as a part of what the Nazis regarded as an Aryan or Nordic master race. It aimed to overcome social divisions and create a German homogeneous society based on racial purity which represented a people's community.
The Nazis aimed to unite all Germans living in German territory, as well as gain additional lands for German expansion under the doctrine of Lebensraum and exclude those who they deemed either community aliens or "inferior" races. The term "National Socialism" arose out of attempts to create a nationalist redefinition of "socialism", as an alternative to both Marxist international socialism and free market capitalism. Nazism rejected the Marxist concepts of class conflict and universal equality, opposed cosmopolitan internationalism, sought to convince all parts of the new German society to subordinate their personal interests to the "common good", accepting political interests as the main priority of economic organization; the Nazi Party's precursor, the Pan-German nationalist and antisemitic German Workers' Party, was founded on 5 January 1919. By the early 1920s the party was renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party – to attract workers away from left-wing parties such as the Social Democrats and the Communists – and Adolf Hitler assumed control of the organization.
The National Socialist Program or "25 Points" was adopted in 1920 and called for a united Greater Germany that would deny citizenship to Jews or those of Jewish descent, while supporting land reform and the nationalization of some industries. In Mein Kampf, Hitler outlined the anti-Semitism and anti-Communism at the heart of his political philosophy, as well as his disdain for representative democracy and his belief in Germany's right to territorial expansion; the Nazi Party won the greatest share of the popular vote in the two Reichstag general elections of 1932, making them the largest party in the legislature by far, but still short of an outright majority. Because none of the parties were willing or able to put together a coalition government, in 1933 Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany by President Paul Von Hindenburg, through the support and connivance of traditional conservative nationalists who believed that they could control him and his party. Through the use of emergency presidential decrees by Hindenburg, a change in the Weimar Constitution which allowed the Cabinet to rule by direct decree, bypassing both Hindenburg and the Reichstag, the Nazis had soon established a one-party state.
The Sturmabteilung and the Schutzstaffel functioned as the paramilitary organizations of the Nazi Party. Using the SS for the task, Hitler purged the party's more and economically radical factions in the mid-1934 Night of the Long Knives, including the leadership of the SA. After the death of President Hindenburg, political power was concentrated in Hitler's hands and he became Germany's head of state as well as the head of the government, with the title of Führer, meaning "leader". From that point, Hitler was the dictator of Nazi Germany, known as the "Third Reich", under which Jews, political opponents and other "undesirable" elements were marginalized, imprisoned or murdered. Many millions of people were exterminated in a genocide which became known as the Holocaust during World War II, including around two-thirds of the Jewish population of Europe. Following Germany's defeat in World War II and the discovery of the full extent of the Holocaust, Nazi ideology became universally disgraced.
It is regarded as immoral and evil, with only a few fringe racist groups referred to as neo-Nazis, describing themselves as followers of National Socialism. The full name of the party was Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei for which they used the acronym NSDAP; the term "Nazi" was in use before the rise of the NSDAP as a colloquial and derogatory word for a backwards farmer or peasant, characterizing an awkward and clumsy person. In this sense, the word Nazi was a hypocorism of the German male name Ignatz – Ignatz being a common name at the time in Bavaria, the area from which the NSDAP emerged. In the 1920s, political opponents of the NSDAP in the German labour movement seized on this and – using the earlier abbreviated term "Sozi" for Sozialist as an example – shortened NSDAP's name, Nationalsozialistische, to the dismissive "Nazi", in order to associate them with the derogatory use of the term mentioned above; the first use of the term "Nazi" by the National Socialists occurred in 1926 in a publication by Joseph Goebbels called Der Nazi-Sozi.
In Goebbels' pamphlet, the word "Nazi" only appears when linked with the word "Sozi" as an abbreviation of
1953 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 1953 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 21st Grand Prix of Endurance, took place on 13 and 14 June 1953, at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Le Mans. It was the third round of the F. I. A. World Sports Car Championship. British drivers Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton won the race with one of three factory-entered Jaguar C-Types, the first cars to race at Le Mans with disc brakes. With the ongoing success of the World Championship for Grand Prix drivers, this year saw the introduction by the FIA of a World Championship for Sports Cars, creating great interest from the major sports car manufacturers, it drew together the great endurance races in Europe and North America. The Le Mans race was the third round in the championship after the 12 Hours of Sebring and the Mille Miglia. After the efforts by drivers in the recent races to drive single-handedly and the consequent safety danger through exhaustion, the ACO set limits of maximum driving spells of 80 consecutive laps and 18 hours in total for each driver; this year marked the first use of a radar-‘gun’ to measure speeds across a flying kilometre on the Hunaudières Straight.
The results, not aligned with engine size but also the impact of aerodynamics on top speed: The prestige of the race, as well as the advent of the new championship generated intense interest in Le Mans. Of the 69 entrants and reserves, nineteen different marques were present. There were an unprecedented 56 works-entered cars represented, with over half in the main S-8000, S-5000 and S-3000 classes. Mercedes-Benz did not return to defend their title – they were busy preparing new cars for both the F1 and Sports Car championships. So the overall victory was shaping up as a contest between Italy, England (Jaguar supported by Aston Martin and Nash-Healey/Austin-Healey and the USA Cunningham, with the French being the ‘dark horses’. Drivers included all three F1 World Champions to date and over 30 other current and up-and-coming Grand Prix racers; the Italian teams had built new cars for the season and all had strong driver line-ups. Ferrari entered a lightweight 375 MM Berlinetta powered by the company's big 330 bhp 4.5 litre V12 engine built for a challenge at Indianapolis, plus two 340 bhp 4.1 litre 340 MMs.
All had Pinin Farina-designed bodies. Ascari and Luigi Villoresi were to share the lightweight coupé, while brothers Paolo and Gianni Marzotto and Giuseppe Farina and debutante Mike Hawthorn were down to drive the 340MMs. A fourth 340 MM Spyder was entered by American Ferrari agent Luigi Chinetti for himself, with Anglo-American Tom Cole as his co-driver; such was the quality of the entry list. Alfa Romeo was back at Le Mans for the first time since the war and fielded the beautiful new 6C/3000CM powered by a 3.5L S6 engine for Fangio and Onofre Marimón and Consalvo Sanesi and Piero Carini. The third car was driven by Mercedes-Benz works-drivers Karl Kling and Fritz Riess who had their team manager, Alfred Neubauer, in the pits with them. Lancia this year stepped up to the big class with three new D.20 Coupés. Having just won the non-Championship Targa Florio with a 3.0L V6 engine, team manager Vittorio Jano instead decided to install supercharged 2.7L engines. This proved to be a mistake as the small increase in power increased unreliability and gave away over 20 km/h top speed to the rival Jaguars and Ferraris.
GP-racers Louis Chiron and Robert Manzon, Piero Taruffi and Umberto Maglioli were in the team, with José Froilán González and endurance-race specialist Clemente Biondetti in the reserve car. Jaguar returned with their C-Types and after the debacle of the previous year, were determined not to repeat those mistakes, having undertaken a lot of development work. Team manager ‘Lofty’ England employed the same driver pairings as 1952, with Peter Walker and Stirling Moss, Peter Whitehead and Ian Stewart, Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton; the cars reverted to the aerodynamic design prior to that of the 1952 Le Mans cars, whose revised nose and tail had adversely affected stability at speeds over 120 mph. For 1953 the cars were lighter and more powerful, they were the first-ever Le Mans cars equipped with disc brakes, from Dunlop, whose greater efficiency gave the C-Types a distinct advantage over their drum-braked competitors; the disc brakes had been available in 1952, but given the problems with the radiators they had been swapped out so the team could concentrate on just one potential issue in the race.
The works cars were supported by a standard production-body car entered by the new Belgian Ecurie Francorchamps team. Aston Martin entered their new DB3S cars for Reg Parnell and Peter Collins, George Abecassis and Roy Salvadori, Eric Thompson and Dennis Poore. Using the same 3-litre engine as the DB3, it was put into a newly designed, chassis; however it was suffering from considerable lack of testing. Donald Healey this year had two collaborations: his last year with Nash Motors with a pair of long-tailed models, a new partnership with the Austin Motor Company using its 2.7L engine, producing only 100 bhp but capable of 190 km/h. Bristol arrived with two cars for Lance Macklin / Graham Whitehead and Jack Fairman / Tommy Wisdom, managed by former Bentley Boy and Le Mans winner Sammy Davis; the rear-engined 450 coupés were ugly and noisy but the 2