Gordon Bennett Cup (auto racing)

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Théry, 1904 and 1905 winner

The Gordon Bennett Cup for auto racing was set up by James Gordon Bennett, Jr.. He was the millionaire owner of the New York Herald. The award was first given in 1900 in France. It was a car-racing event between teams from different countries.

History[change | change source]

In 1900, the Automobile Club de France (ACF) was given the trophy (prize). The trophy could be won in a race between automobile clubs from different countries. The trophy was given out every year until 1905. After that, the ACF held the first Grand Prix motor racing event at the Circuit de la Sarthe, in Le Mans.

The British Racing Green was first used in the 1903 Gordon Bennet Cup in Ireland.

The Gordon Bennett Cup auto races included racing drivers from across Europe. There were also drivers from the United States like Alexander Winton, who drove his Winton automobile.

The rules were that the races were held in the country of the winner of the year before. The races were between national teams. Because of this, the national racing colours had to be set for each country. Great Britain had to choose a different colour to red, white or blue (the colours of the flag) because they had been taken by Italy, Germany and France. They choose shamrock green because the race that year was run in Ireland.[1] This became known as British racing green.

Gordon Bennett Cup winners[change | change source]

Year Track Winner Car Country
1900 Paris to Lyon, France France Fernand Charron Panhard  France
1901 Paris to Bordeaux, France France Léonce Girardot Panhard  France
1902 Paris, France to Innsbruck, Austria United Kingdom Selwyn Edge Napier  United Kingdom
1903 Athy, County Kildare, Ireland Belgium Camille Jenatzy Mercedes  Germany
1904 Taunus mountains in Germany France Léon Théry Richard-Brasier  France
1905 Circuit d'Auvergne, Clermont-Ferrand, France France Léon Théry Richard-Brasier  France

References[change | change source]

  1. According to Leinster Leader, Saturday, 11 April 1903, which also states red as the color for American cars in the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup.