Le Mans is a city in France, on the Sarthe River. Traditionally the capital of the province of Maine, it is now the capital of the Sarthe department and the seat of the Roman Catholic diocese of Le Mans. Le Mans is a part of the Pays de la Loire region, its inhabitants are called Mancelles. Since 1923, the city has hosted the internationally famous 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance sports car race. First mentioned by Claudius Ptolemy, the Roman city Vindinium was the capital of the Aulerci, a sub tribe of the Aedui. Le Mans is known as Civitas Cenomanorum, or Cenomanus, their city, seized by the Romans in 47 BC, was within the ancient Roman province of Gallia Lugdunensis. A 3rd-century amphitheatre is still visible; the thermae were demolished during the crisis of the third century when workers were mobilized to build the city's defensive walls. The ancient wall around Le Mans is one of the most complete circuits of Gallo-Roman city walls to survive; as the use of the French language replaced late Vulgar Latin in the area, with dissimilation, became known as Celmans.
Cel- was taken to be a form of the French word for "this" and "that", was replaced by le, which means "the". Gregory of Tours mentions a Frankish sub-king Rigomer, killed by King Clovis I in his campaign to unite the Frankish territories; as the principal city of Maine, Le Mans was the stage for struggles in the eleventh century between the counts of Anjou and the dukes of Normandy. When the Normans had control of Maine, William the Conqueror invaded England and established an occupation. In 1069 the citizens of Maine revolted and expelled the Normans, resulting in Hugh V being proclaimed count of Maine. Geoffrey V of Anjou married Matilda of England in the cathedral, their son Henry II Plantagenet, king of England, was born here. In 1154, during the reign of his uncle King Stephen, Henry landed in England with an army, intent on challenging Stephen for the throne; some of the members of that feudal force were known by the surname'del Mans' In medieval records pertaining to the history of Gloucester is a reference to one such man, Walter del Mans, beside his name'Cenomanus' was added by the medieval scribe, so that there is no doubt as to Walter's origin.
In the English censuses down to the twentieth century the surname Mans was confined to the counties of Gloucestershire and Herefordshire and their borderlands, reflecting the original settlement patterns in the Welsh Marches of the original followers of Henry's from Le Mans in 1154. A John Mans/Manns was escheator of Hereford 1399-1400. One family from Mans held the manor of Worcestershire. Intercourse between England and Le Mans continued throughout the Angevin period. Soon after Le Mans was liberated by the U. S. 79th and 90th Infantry Divisions on 8 August 1944, engineers of the Ninth Air Force IX Engineering Command began construction of a combat Advanced Landing Ground outside of the town. The airfield was declared operational on 3 September and designated as "A-35", it was used by several American fighter and transport units until late November of that year in additional offensives across France. Le Mans has a well-preserved old town and the Cathédrale St-Julien, dedicated to St Julian of Le Mans, honoured as the city's first bishop.
Remnants of a Roman wall are visible in the old town and Roman baths are located by the river. These walls are highlighted every summer evening in a light show. Arboretum de la Grand Prée Part of the former Cistercian abbey de l'Epau, founded by Queen Berengaria and maintained in extensive grounds by the Département de la Sarthe. Jardin des Plantes du Mans Musée de la reine Bérengère, a museum of Le Mans history located in a gothic manor house. Musée de Tessé, the fine arts museum of the city, displaying painting and archaeological collections as well as decorative arts. Le Mans has an oceanic climate influenced by the mild Atlantic air travelling inland. Summers are warm and hot, whereas winters are mild and cloudy. Precipitation is uniform and moderate year round. At the 1999 French census, there were 293,159 inhabitants in the metropolitan area of Le Mans, with 146,105 of these living in the city proper; the Gare du Mans is the main railway station of Le Mans. It takes 1 hour to reach Paris from Le Mans by TGV high speed train.
There are TGV connections to Lille, Nantes and Brest. Gare du Mans is a hub for regional trains. Le Mans inaugurated a new light rail system on 17 November 2007; the first French Grand Prix took place on a 64-mile circuit based at Le Mans in 1906. Since the 1920s, the city has been best known for its connection with motorsports. There are two official and separate racing tracks at Le Mans; the smaller is the Bugatti Circuit, a short permanent circuit, used for racing throughout the year and has hosted the French motorcycle Grand Prix. The longer and more famous Circuit de la Sarthe is composed of public roads; these are closed to the public. Since 1923, this route
1955 24 Hours of Le Mans
The 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans was the 23rd 24 Hours of Le Mans, took place on 11 and 12 June 1955 on Circuit de la Sarthe. It was the fourth round of the F. I. A. World Sports Car Championship. A huge crowd had gathered around the 8.38-mile course. In the golden age of sports car racing, the top-quality entry list meant this race promised to be the most eagerly anticipated of the decade. Instead this is remembered for the disaster that killed 84 people, plus some 120 injured in the most catastrophic accident in motor racing history; the Automobile Club de l'Ouest again lifted the replenishment window of fuel and water from 30 to 32 laps, but by the same token, the maximum fuel allowance for all cars was increased to 200 litres for the race. On the track, road improvements continued with the whole back section, from Tertre Rouge around to Maison Blanche resurfaced. A total of 87 racing cars were registered for this event, of which 70 arrived for practice, to qualify for the 60 places on the starting grid, included 15 factory teams.
The battle between Coventry and Maranello of the previous year was joined by Mercedes-Benz, fresh from a triumphant debut in the Mille Miglia with their new 300SLR. Along with dark horses Cunningham, Aston Martin and Maserati, all with new 3-litre cars, as well as Talbot, Gordini and Austin-Healey, it led observers to anticipate a great contest. Title-holders Ferrari arrived with the new 121 LM, powered by a straight-six engine derived from the previous year's Formula 1 car producing a 360 bhp; the works team mixed its current F1 drivers along with new talent: Eugenio Castellotti with Paolo Marzotto, Maurice Trintignant with Harry Schell and Umberto Maglioli drove with Phil Hill. Maglioli and Hill had been Ferrari rivals in the previous Carrera Panamericana. There were two 3-litre 750 Monzas run by French private entries. Having conquered Formula 1, Mercedes-Benz had now turned its attention to sports car racing, their 300SLRs were rated by many experts as the best sports cars in the world. The fuel-injected 3-litre straight-8 was the most advanced of the entire field, producing 300 bhp.
The inboard drum brakes, were only questionably adequate for the heavier chassis, facing the tough braking demands of Le Mans. To compensate, a hand-operated air brake was added to the rear deck for high speed braking. Team manager Alfred Neubauer, in a remarkably diplomatic move, assembled a multi-national team for the race, pairing his two best drivers Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss in the lead car, 1952 race-winner Karl Kling with Frenchman André Simon and American John Fitch with one of the elder statesmen of French motor-racing, Pierre Levegh. Jaguar arrived with three works D-types; this year's model had engine power increased from 250 to 270 bhp, for a top speed of 280 km/h. The team consisted of 1953 winners Duncan Hamilton, they were backed up by D-Types entered by Belgium's Ecurie Francorchamps and from American Briggs Cunningham's team. Cunningham hedged his bets this year – along with the Jaguar he loaned 750 Monzas to French privateer Michel Pobejersky and American Masten Gregory.
He brought a new Cunningham C6-R, giving up on a big V8 Hemi to instead use an Indianapolis-style Offenhauser 3.0L straight-4. He and Sherwood Johnston would race it; the Maserati team did make it this year – with a pair of their elegant new 3.0L 300Ss, which had shown promise at Sebring. They were run by the team's regular F1 drivers, one shared by Roberto Mieres and Cesare Perdisa, the other by Luigi Musso and endurance racing veteran Luigi ‘Gino’ Valenzano. Maserati ran a smaller A6GCS in the S-2000 class. Louis Rosier's privateer Talbot did not make the start, so the large-engined French challenge this year came from Gordini with a 3-litre T24S for F1 drivers Jean Behra and Élie Bayol. Like Maserati, they ran a smaller T20S in the S-2000 class. There was great interest for British fans, aside from the Jaguar team. In total there were nearly half the field. Aston Martin pared back its effort a bit, to just three DB3S, they came with a good driver line-up: Peter Collins and Paul Frère, 1951 winner Peter Walker and Roy Salvadori, rookies Tony Brooks and John Riseley-Prichard.
They persisted with the Lagonda project – the 4.5L V12 being biggest engine in the field. This year Reg Parnell was co-driven by Dennis Poore. After boycotting the previous year's race, Austin-Healey returned with a single 100S prototype. Cooper brought two cars -- one the other, a T39, with a Climax engine. In the S-2000 class, along with a pair each of Triumph TR2s and Frazer Nash Sebrings, Bristol was back, this time with its 450C open-top variant. To save pit-time, the team pioneered a multi-barrel spanner to remove and re-apply all the wheelnuts together when changing the wheel. MG returned after 20 years with the EX.182 prototype – a 1.5L forerunner of the upcoming MGA roadster. Colin Chapman, racing with Scotsman Ron Flockhart arrived with his new Lotus 9 sports car – like the other small English firms Kieft and Arnott, running the 1100cc Climax engine. Afte
Auto racing is a motorsport involving the racing of automobiles for competition. Auto racing has existed since the invention of the automobile. Races of various sorts were organised, with the first recorded as early as 1867. Many of the earliest events were reliability trials, aimed at proving these new machines were a practical mode of transport, but soon became an important way for competing makers to demonstrate their machines. By the 1930s, specialist racing cars had developed. There are now each with different rules and regulations; the first prearranged match race of two self-powered road vehicles over a prescribed route occurred at 4:30 A. M. on August 30, 1867, between Ashton-under-Lyne and Old Trafford, a distance of eight miles. It was won by the carriage of Isaac Watt Boulton. Internal combustion auto racing events began soon after the construction of the first successful gasoline-fueled automobiles; the first organized contest was on April 28, 1887, by the chief editor of Paris publication Le Vélocipède, Monsieur Fossier.
It ran 2 kilometres from Neuilly Bridge to the Bois de Boulogne. On July 22, 1894, the Parisian magazine Le Petit Journal organized what is considered to be the world's first motoring competition, from Paris to Rouen. One hundred and two competitors paid a 10-franc entrance fee; the first American automobile race is held to be the Thanksgiving Day Chicago Times-Herald race of November 28, 1895. Press coverage of the event first aroused significant American interest in the automobile. With auto construction and racing dominated by France, the French automobile club ACF staged a number of major international races from or to Paris, connecting with another major city, in France or elsewhere in Europe. Brooklands, in Surrey, was the first purpose-built motor racing venue, opening in June 1907, it featured a 4.43 km concrete track with high-speed banked corners. One of the oldest existing purpose-built automobile racing circuits in the United States, still in use, is the 2.5-mile-long Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Speedway, Indiana.
It is the largest capacity sports venue of any variety worldwide, with a top capacity of some 257,000+ seated spectators. NASCAR was founded by Bill France, Sr. on February 21, 1948, with the help of several other drivers of the time. The first NASCAR "Strictly Stock" race was held on June 19, 1949, at Daytona Beach, Florida. From 1962, sports cars temporarily took a back seat to GT cars, with the FIA replacing the World Championship for Sports Cars with the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. From 1972 through 2003, NASCAR's premier series was called the Winston Cup Series, sponsored by R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company cigarette brand Winston; the changes that resulted from RJR's involvement, as well as the reduction of the schedule from 48 to 31 races a year, established 1972 as the beginning of NASCAR's "modern era". The IMSA GT Series evolved into the American Le Mans Series, which ran its first season in 1999; the European races became the related Le Mans Series, both of which mix prototypes and GTs.
Turismo Carretera is a popular touring car racing series in Argentina, the oldest car racing series still active in the world. The first TC competition took place in 1937 with 12 races, each in a different province. Future Formula One star Juan Manuel Fangio won the 1940 and 1941 editions of the TC, it was during this time that the series' Chevrolet-Ford rivalry began, with Ford acquiring most of its historical victories. The two most popular varieties of open wheel road racing are the IndyCar Series. Formula One is a European-based series that runs only street race tracks; these cars are based around technology and their aerodynamics. With the highest speed record set in 2005 by Juan Pablo Montoya hitting 373 kph; some of the most prominent races are the Monaco Grand Prix, the Italian Grand Prix, the British Grand Prix. The season ends with the crowning of the World Championship for constructors. In single-seater, the wheels are not covered, the cars have aerofoil wings front and rear to produce downforce and enhance adhesion to the track.
In Europe and Asia, open-wheeled racing is referred to as'Formula', with appropriate hierarchical suffixes. In North America, the'Formula' terminology is not followed; the sport is arranged to follow an international format, a regional format, and/or a domestic, or country-specific, format. In the United States, the most popular series is the National Championship, more known as the IndyCar Series and known as CART; the cars have traditionally been similar though less technologically sophisticated than F1 cars, with more restrictions on technology aimed at controlling costs. While these cars are not as technologically advanced, they are faster because they compete on oval race tracks, being able to average a lap at 388 kph; the series' biggest race is the Indianapolis 500, referred to as "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" due to being the longest continuously run race and having the largest crowd for a single-day sporting event. The other major international single-seater racing series is Formula 2.
Regional series include Formula Nippon and Formula V6 Asia, Formula Renault 3.5, Formula Three, For
Juan Manuel Fangio
Juan Manuel Fangio Déramo, nicknamed El Chueco or El Maestro, was an Argentine racing car driver. He dominated the first decade of Formula One racing, winning the World Drivers' Championship five times. From childhood, he abandoned his studies to pursue auto mechanics. In 1938, he debuted in Turismo Carretera, competing in a Ford V8. In 1940, he competed with Chevrolet, winning the Grand Prix International Championship and devoted his time to the Argentine Turismo Carretera becoming its champion, a title he defended a year later. Fangio competed in Europe between 1947 and 1949 where he achieved further success, he won the World Championship of Drivers five times—a record which stood for 47 years until beaten by Michael Schumacher—with four different teams, a feat that has not been repeated. He is regarded by many as one of the greatest F1 drivers of all time and holds the highest winning percentage in Formula One – 46.15% – winning 24 of 53 Formula One races he entered. Fangio is the only Argentine driver to have won the Argentine Grand Prix, having won it four times in his career—the most of any driver.
After retirement, Fangio presided as the honorary president of Mercedes-Benz Argentina from 1987, a year after the inauguration of his museum, until his death in 1995. In 2011, on the centenary of his birth, Fangio was remembered around the world and various activities were held in his honor. Fangio's grandfather, Giuseppe Fangio, emigrated to Buenos Aires from Italy in 1887. Giuseppe managed to buy his own farm near Balcarce, a small city in southern Buenos Aires Province, within three years by making charcoal from tree branches, his father, emigrated to Argentina from the small central Italian town of Castiglione Messer Marino in the Chieti province of the Abruzzo region. His mother, Herminia Déramo, was from Tornareccio to the north, they married on 24 October 1903, lived on farms where Herminia was a housekeeper and Loreto worked in the building trade, becoming an apprentice stonemason. Fangio was born in Balcarce on San Juan's Day 1911 at 12:10 am, his birth certificate was mistakenly dated 23 June by the Register of Balcarce.
He was the fourth of six children. In his childhood he became known as El Chueco, the bandy legged one, for his skill in bending his left leg around the ball to shoot on goal during football games. Fangio started his education at the School No. 4 of Balcarce, Calle 13 before transferring to School No. 1 and 18 Uriburu Av. When Fangio was 13, he worked as an assistant mechanic; when he was 16, he started riding as a mechanic for his employer's customers. He developed pneumonia, which proved fatal, after a football game where hard running had caused a sharp pain in his chest, he was bed-ridden for two months, cared for by his mother. After recovering, Fangio served compulsory military service at the age of 21. In 1932 he was enlisted at the Campo de Mayo cadet school near Buenos Aires, his driving skills caught the attention of his commanding officer, who appointed Fangio as his official driver. Fangio was discharged before his 22nd birthday after taking his final physical examination, he returned to Balcarce.
Along with his friend José Duffard he received offers to play at a club based in Mar del Plata. Their teammates at Balcarce suggested the two work on Fangio's hobby of building his own car and his parents donated space in a small section of their home where a rudimentary shed was built. After finishing his military service, Fangio raced in local events, he began his racing career in Argentina in 1934, which he had rebuilt. These local events were unlike anything in Europe or North America, they were long-distance races held on dirt roads up and down South America. During his time racing in Argentina, he drove Chevrolet cars and was Argentine National Champion in 1940 and 1941. One particular race, which he won in 1940, the Gran Premio del Norte, was 10,000 km long; this race started in Buenos Aires and ran up through the Andes to Lima and back again, taking nearly two weeks with stages held each day. Following many successes driving modified American stock cars. In the Tourism Highway category, Fangio participated in his first race between 18 and 30 October 1938 as the co-pilot of Luis Finocchietti.
Despite not winning the Argentine Road Grand Prix, Fangio drove most of the way and qualified in seventh place. In November of that year, he entered the "400 km of Tres Arroyos ", but it was suspended due to a fatal accident. In 1939, the circuit was in Forest, which conformed well with his last involvement with a Ford V8. With Hector Tieri as his partner, they led Turismo Carretera that year with a Chevrolet, competing for the Argentine Grand Prix. Suspended by a strong rain and resumed in Cordoba, he managed their first stage victory, winning the fourth stage from Catamarca to San Juan. In October, after 9500 km of competition in Argentina and Peru, he won his first race in Turismo Carretera, the Grand Prix International North, he became the first TC Argentine Champion to have driven a Chevrolet. In 1941, he beat Oscar Gálvez in the Grand Prix Getúlio Vargas in Brazil. For the second time, Fangio was crowned champion of Argentine TC. In 1942, he ended South Grand Prix in tenth place in accordance with the general classification.
In April he won the race "Mar y Sierras" and had to suspend the mechanic
1950 Indianapolis 500
The 34th International 500-Mile Sweepstakes was held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Tuesday, May 30, 1950. The event was part of the 1950 AAA National Championship Trail, it was race 3 of 7 in the 1950 World Championship of Drivers and paid points towards the World Championship. The event, did not attract any European entries for 1950. Giuseppe Farina planned to enter, but his car never arrived; the Indianapolis 500 would be included on the World Championship calendar through 1960. The race was scheduled for 200 laps, but was stopped after 138 laps due to rain. A rumor circulated in racing circles during and after this race that Johnnie Parsons's team discovered an irreparable crack in the engine block on race morning; the discovery precipitated Parsons to charge for the lap leader prizes. He set his sights on leading as many laps as possible before the engine was to fail. Furthermore, the race ending early due to rain saved Parsons's day allowing him to secure the victory before the engine let go.
However, the engine block crack was proved to be an urban myth, it was said to be a minor but acceptable level of porosity, which did not affect the performance. Parsons's win saw him score 9 points move to equal first in the first World Drivers' Championship alongside Giuseppe Farina and Juan Manuel Fangio, saw him become the first American to win a World Championship race. Despite the 500 being his only race in the 1950 World Championship, it would be enough to see him finish 6th in points. During the month, Clark Gable and Barbara Stanwyck were at the track to film scenes for the film To Please a Lady. Stanwyck was on hand in victory lane after the race for the traditional celebratory kiss to the winner. Time trials was scheduled for six days. Saturday May 13: Walt Faulkner won the pole position with a record run of 134.343 mph. Sunday May 14 Saturday May 20: The third day of time trials saw six cars complete runs. Bayliss Levrett was the fastest of the afternoon. Charles Van Acker was ruled physically disqualified, after a crash he suffered at the Speedway from 1949.
Sunday May 21 Saturday May 27: The day began with 11 spots open in the grid. Sunday May 28: Only one driver managed to bump his way into the field. Johnny McDowell bumped Cliff Griffith; the two Novi entries failed to qualify – Chet Miller had engine trouble in one of the cars, while the other snapped a supercharger shaft. Rain and two crashes cut the track time to less than three hours. Cy Marshall was among the few left in line when time trials closed at 6 p.m. Notes^1 – Includes 1 point for fastest lead lap = past winner = rookie Pole position: Walt Faulkner – 4:27.97 Fastest Lead Lap: Johnnie Parsons – 1:09.77 Shared drivers: Joie Chitwood and Tony Bettenhausen, after Bettenhausen retired. Points for 5th position were shared between the drivers. Henry Banks and Fred Agabashian Bayliss Levrett and Bill Cantrell First win for Firestone in the World Championship. World Drivers' Championship standingsNote: Only the top five positions are listed. Only the best 4 results counted towards the Championship.
The race was carried live on the precursor to the IMS Radio Network. The broadcast was sponsored by Perfect Circle Piston Bill Slater served as the anchor. Sid Collins moved into the booth for the first time to serve as analyst, conducted the victory lane interview at the conclusion of the race; the broadcast feature live coverage of the start, the finish, live updates throughout the race. Prior to the race, it was reported. WIBC personality Sid Collins was named as a replacement, Slater was able to arrive in time for race day. Collins, who had served as a turn reporter, was invited to be the co-anchor in the booth. For the first time, Collins interviewed the winner in victory lane at the conclusion of the race. Collins claims he burned his trousers on Parsons's hot exhaust pipe during the interview, which took place in the rain; because the race was shortened, Mutual had to interrupt Queen For A Day to cover the finish of the abbreviated event. This was cited by some as a reason why the Speedway would begin flag-to-flag coverage in 1953.
The race was carried live for the second year in a row on local television on WFBM-TV channel 6 of Indianapolis. Earl Townsend, Jr. was the announcer, along with Paul Roberts. After the race, Speedway management disallowed WFBM from broadcasting the race live again, feeling that gate attendance had been negatively affected. Indianapolis 500 History: Race & All-Time Stats – Official Site 1950 Indianapolis 500 Radio Broadcast, Mutual Van Camp's Pork & Beans Presents: Great Moments From the Indy 500 – Fleetwood Sounds, 1975 1950 Indianapolis 500 at RacingReference.info
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR was a 2-seat sports racer that took part in the World Sportscar Championship before a catastrophic crash and fire at Le Mans ended its domination prematurely. Designated "SL-R", the 3-liter engine was derived from the company's Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula One racer, it shared most of its drivetrain and chassis with the 196's fuel-injected 2,496.87 cc straight 8 bored and stroked to 2,981.70 cc and boosted to 310 bhp. The W196s monoposto driving position was modified to standard two-abreast seating, headlights were added, a few other changes made to adapt a track competitor to a 24-hour road/track sports racer. Two of the nine 300 SLR rolling chassis produced were converted into 300 SLR/300 SL hybrids. Road legal racers, they had coupé styling, gull-wing doors, a footprint midway between the two models; when Mercedes canceled its racing program after the Le Mans disaster, the hybrid project was shelved. Company design chief Rudolf Uhlenhaut, architect of both the 300 SLR racer and the hybrids, appropriated one of the leftover mules as his personal driver.
Capable of approaching 290 km/h, the Uhlenhaut Coupé was far and away the fastest road car in the world in its day. In spite of its name and strong resemblance to both the streamlined 1952 W194 Le Mans racer, the iconic 1954 300SL Gullwing road car it spawned, the 1955 300 SLR was not derived from either. Instead, it was based on the wildly successful 2.5-liter straight 8-powered 1954–1955 Mercedes-Benz W196 Formula One champion, with the engine enlarged to 3.0 liters for the sports car racing circuit and designated "SL-R" for Sport Leicht-Rennen. All were the work of Mercedes design chief Rudolf Uhlenhaut; the 300 SLR was front mid-engined, with its long longitudinally mounted engine placed just behind the front axles instead of over them to better balance front/rear weight distribution. A welded aluminum tube spaceframe chassis carried ultra-light Elektron magnesium-alloy bodywork, which contributed to keeping dry weight to a remarkably low 880 kg; the W196's 2,496.87 cc straight-8 was bored and stroked to 2,981.70 cc, boosting output from 290 bhp at 8,500 rpm to about 310 horsepower at 7,400 rpm, depending on intake manifold.
Maximum torque was 318 N⋅m at 5,950 rpm. Like the W196, the engine was canted to the right at 33-degrees to lower the car's profile, resulting in slicker aerodynamics and a distinctive bulge on the passenger side of the hood shared with the streamlined Type Monza Formula one car. To reduce crank flexing, power takeoff was from the center of the engine via a gear rather than at the end of the crankshaft. Other notable features were desmodromic valves, mechanical direct fuel injection derived from the DB 601 high-performance V12 used on the Messerschmitt Bf 109E fighter during World War II. Fuel was a high-octane mixture of 35 percent benzene; as a rule, the car left the starting line with 44 gallons and more than nine of oil on board, although Moss and Jenkinson began their assault on the 1955 Mille Miglia with as much as 70 gallons of fuel. To enhance stopping power extra wide diameter drum brakes too large to fit inside 16" wheel rims were used, mounted inboard with short half shafts and two universal joints per wheel.
Suspension was four-wheel independent. Torsion bars fitted inside the frame's tubes were used in the double wishbone front. To prevent cornering forces from raising the car, as occurs with short swing axles, the rear used a low-roll center system featuring off-centered beams spanning from each hub to the opposite side of the chassis crossing one-another over the centerline. Snap-oversteer could be still a notable problem at speed. At Le Mans in 1955, the 300 SLRs were equipped with a large rear mounted "wind brake" that hinged up above the rear deck to slow the cars at the end of the fast straights; the idea came from director of motorsports Alfred Neubauer, seeking to reduce wear on the huge drum brakes and tires during long-distance endurance races where cars had to decelerate from 180 mph to as little as 25 mph. In tests the 0.7m² light-alloy spoiler slowed the car and improved cornering, helping to compensate for the superior new disc brakes of the SLR's main rival Jaguar D-type. The SLR had a second seat for a mechanic or navigator, depending on the race.
As it turned out, it was only needed during the Mille Miglia, after which the 1955 Carrera Panamericana was cancelled due to the Le Mans accident. On short circuits such as the Targa Florio the extra seat was covered and passenger windshield removed to improve aerodynamics. A total of nine W196S chassis were built. Mercedes team driver Stirling Moss won the 1955 Mille Miglia in a 300 SLR, setting the event record at an average of 157.650 km/h over 1,600 km. He was assisted by co-driver Denis Jenkinson, a British motor-racing journalist, who informed him with taken notes, ancestors to the pacenotes used in modern rallying. Teammate Juan Manuel Fangio was second in a sister car; the 300 SLRs scored an additional 1-2-3 world championship win in the Tourist Trophy at Dundrod, a 1-2 at the Targa Florio in Sicily, earning Mercedes victory in the 1955 World Sportscar Championship. Further non-championship trophies were scored at the Eifelrennen in Germany, Swedish Grand Prix. However, these impressive victories became overshadow
1950 Formula One season
The 1950 Formula One season was the fourth season of the FIA's Formula One motor racing. It featured the inaugural FIA World Championship of Drivers which commenced on 13 May and ended on 3 September, as well as a number of non-championship races; the championship consisted of six Grand Prix races, each held in Europe and open to Formula One cars, plus the Indianapolis 500, run to AAA National Championship regulations. Giuseppe Farina won the championship from Juan Manuel Luigi Fagioli; the inaugural World Championship of Drivers saw Alfa Romeo dominate with their supercharged 158, a well-developed pre-war design which debuted in 1938. All of the Formula One regulated races in the championship were run in Europe; the Indianapolis 500 was run to American AAA regulations, not to FIA Formula One regulations and none of the regular drivers who competed in Europe competed in the 500, vice versa. Alfa Romeo drivers dominated the championship with Italian Giuseppe "Nino" Farina edging out Argentine teammate Juan Manuel Fangio by virtue of his fourth place in Belgium.
Although the Indianapolis 500, which ran to different regulations, was included in the World Championship each year from 1950 to 1960, it attracted little European participation and, conversely few American Indianapolis drivers entered any Grands Prix. Championship points were awarded to the top five finishers in each race on 6, 4, 3, 2 basis. 1 point was awarded for the fastest lap of each race. Points for shared drives were divided between the drivers, regardless of how many laps each driver completed during the race. Only the best four results from the seven races could be retained by each driver for World Championship classification; the Alfa Romeo team dominated the British Grand Prix at the fast Silverstone circuit in England, locking out the four-car front row of the grid. With King George VI in attendance, Giuseppe Farina won the race from pole position setting the fastest lap; the podium was completed by his teammates Luigi Fagioli and Reg Parnell, while the remaining Alfa driver, Juan Manuel Fangio, was forced to retire after experiencing problems with his engine.
The final points scorers were the works Talbot-Lagos of Yves Giraud-Cabantous and Louis Rosier, both two laps behind the leaders. Scuderia Ferrari made their World Championship debut around the streets of Monaco, their leading drivers, Luigi Villoresi and Alberto Ascari had to settle for the third row of the grid, while the Alfa Romeos of Fangio and Farina again started from the front row, alongside the privateer Maserati of José Froilán González. Polesitter Fangio took a comfortable victory setting the race's fastest lap, a whole lap ahead of Ascari, with the third-placed Louis Chiron a further lap back in the works Maserati. A first-lap accident, caused by the damp track, had eliminated nine of the nineteen starters—including Farina and Fagioli—while González, who had incurred damage in the pile-up, retired on the following lap. Villoresi, although delayed by the accident, had made his way through the field to second place, but was forced to retire with an axle problem. Fangio's win brought.
The Indianapolis 500, the third round of the inaugural World Championship of Drivers held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana in the United States was won by the Kurtis Kraft-Offenhauser of Johnnie Parsons, ahead of the Deidt-Offenhausers of Bill Holland and Mauri Rose. The race was stopped after 138 of the scheduled 200 laps due to rain. Alfa Romeo's dominance continued when the World Championship returned to Europe for the Swiss Grand Prix at the tree-lined Bremgarten circuit just outside Bern. Fangio and Fagioli locked out the front row of the grid for Alfa, while the Ferraris of Villoresi and Ascari started from the second row. Fangio was the initial leader, starting from pole position, but he was passed by Farina on lap seven. Ascari and Villoresi were both able to compete with the third Alfa of Fagioli in the early stages, although both had retired by the ten-lap mark. Farina took the win and the fastest lap, finishing just ahead of Fagioli, while Rosier, in third place as a result of Fangio's retirement, took Talbot-Lago's first podium.
Farina's second win of the season put him six points clear of the consistent Fagioli, while Fangio was a further three points behind, having only scored points in one race. Alfa Romeo took their third front row lockout of the season at the Belgian Grand Prix at the fast 8.7 mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit, while the Ferrari of Villoresi shared the second row with the privateer Talbot-Lago of Raymond Sommer. The Alfas were once again untouchable at the start of the race, but when they stopped for fuel, Sommer emerged as an unlikely race leader, his lead, was short-lived and he was forced to retire when his engine blew up. Fangio took the victory, ahead of Fagioli, who again finished second. Rosier again made the podium in his Talbot-Lago, he had been able to pass the polesitter Farina when the Italian picked up transmission problems towards the end of the race. It was not all bad for Farina, however. Both Fagioli and Fangio closed the gap to Farina in the points standings—Fagioli was just four points adrift, while Fangio was a further point behind.
At Reims-Gueux, Alfa Romeo were unchallenged at the French Grand Prix at the fast Reims-Gueux circuit, due to the withdrawal of the works Ferraris of Ascari and Villoresi. The Alfas produced yet another lockout of the front row of the grid, with Fangio taking pole for the third time in six races; the powe