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Sydney Times/1906/Big Motor Race In France


The race for the Grand Prix, the great international motor contest promoted by the Automobile Club of France, took place over the Sarthe circuit on the 26th and 27th of June. It was held over a triangular course, starting 7 miles from Le Mans, thence to La Ferte Bernard and St. Calais and back to the starting point. The distance of this course was 62 1/2 miles, and had to be covered 6 times on each of the two days in order to complete the full course of 750 miles. The event was inaugurated during the present year by the French Automobile Club, under pressure from the French manufacturers, who, dissatisfied with the conditions attached to the annual Gordon-Bennet Cup race, decided to abandon the latter, and hold a speed event which would enable each maker to be represented by as many cars as he chose to enter. Great Britain, Austria, Switzerland, and America objected to these regulations, holding that a representation of three cars for each nation, as in the Gordon-Bennett, was the only way to decide the contest on an international basis. As the French makers, however, held that France, as the hub of motor industry, was entitled to a preponderating representation, all countries that usually sent cars to compete in the Gordon-Bennett, excepting France, Italy. and Germany, held aloof. That the race was almost entirely confined to French productions is evidenced by the fact that out of 34 entries, 25 were French, six Italian, and three German. Ten individual French makers, two Italian manufacturers, and one German firm. entered cars for the contest. The entrance fee for the race was £200 per car, and £400 for late nominations. As it is probable that all the cars entered early the promoters would have had at least £6800 in fees. This sum, and £4000 voted to them by the town of Le Mans, would have enabled them to pay the £5000 to the winner as well us other prizes and expenses.

As regards the race itself little is known outside that just received by cable. The first car home was a Renault, driven by Sisz, which covered the course in 12h 14m 7s. The second car, a Fiat, driven by Nazzaro, was only 32m 19s behind the winner. The third car, a Bayard-Clement, driven by A. Clement, took 3m 20s longer than the Fiat to complete the journey. That the race was a great one is undoubted, and a remarkable fact in connection with it is the closeness with which the three placed cars finished. The winners time averages about 62 miles an hour, whilst that made by the other two cars does not fall far short of this. Considering the sharpness at the three turns, and that each car had to slacken speed at St. Calais in order to be checked, it is probable that close on 90 miles an hour, if not greater speed, was attained over the fine straight stretches of an almost perfect course. The winning car is a French production well-known in European circles. This is its first great victory in speed contests. Sisz, the driver, is little known out here. The Fiat car, which secured second place, is of Italian manufacture, and has of late years attained a prominence in speed and reliability contests which has placed it on a footing with the world's best cars. The driver, Nazzaro, is a prominent motorist whose name is familiar to all automobilists. The third car, the Bayard-Clement, like the winning vehicle, is of French construction. Hitherto it has not attained any great prominence as a speed motor. The driver, Clement, is a son of the builder of the vehicle, and is regarded as daring exponent of motor driving. Most of the cars were four-cylindered, although a few had six and one car had at least eight, and the horsepower ranged from 80 to 200.¡

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