Today in Racing: 25 May

Niki Lauda’s Ferrari 312T won a busy 1975 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder to move into the lead of the Formula 1 World Championship.

Jody Scheckter was second in a Tyrrell 007 with Carlos Reutemann third for Brabham. Also in Belgium, but at Spa in 1986, Nigel Mansell’s Williams-Honda beat Ayrton Senna’s Lotus-Renault and Stefan Johansson’s Ferrari.

Jacques Villeneuve won the 1997 Spanish Grand Prix in a Williams-Renault from Olivier Panis’ Prost-Mugen and Jean Alesi in a Benetton-Renault.

An early puncture proved fortuitous for Lewis Hamilton’s McLaren as he emerged victorious over Robert Kubica’s BMW Sauber and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari through changing conditions at Monaco ‘08. Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes was meanwhile unstoppable on his second Monaco win on the trot from teammate Hamilton and Daniel’ Ricciardo’s Red Bull in 2014.

Late May is Indianapolis 500 time and winners on the 25th include Bobby Unser in a rain-shortened ’75 race, Johnny Rutherford in 1980, Gil de Ferran by two-hundredths of a second over Penske teammate Helio Castroneves in in 2003, Scott Dixon ’08 and Ryan Hunter-Reay in 2014.

In other racing on this day Piero Taruffi won the 1947 Paris Grand Prix at Montlhéry driving a Ferrari 500, Geoffrey Ansell lifted the Isle of Man British Empire Trophy with his ERA B-Type, Brian Naylor steered his JBW Maserati to win at Mallory Park in ’59, Dave Charlton’s McLaren M23 Cosworth won the 1974 South African F1 Republic Day Trophy at Kyalami and Lucas di Grassi the 2019 Formula E Berlin ePrix.

In sportscar racing, Franco Cortese gave Ferrari its first race win when he drove a 125 Sport to victory in Rome 1947, while Jurgen Barth and Rolf Stommelen’s Porsche 908/4 won the 1980 WEC Nurburgring 1000. Across the pond, Patrick Tambay’s Lola T530-Chevrolet took the ‘82 Sears Point Can Am, Juan Manuel Fangio II’s Eagle-Toyota the ’92 IMSA Lime Rock, where Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver’s Riley & Scott Ford won in ‘98

Off the tarmac, Juha Kankkunen’s Subaru Impreza won the 1999 World Rally Argentina and Andreas Bakkerud’s Ford Fiesta the British World Rallycross at Lydden Hill on thus day 2014

25 May birthdays include US legends Smokey Yunick and AJ Foyt IV, while Pierre de Caters and his DMG Mercedes Simplex broke the World Land Speed Record in a 97 mph run on the beach at Ostend, Belgium in 1904.

Motorsport also lost a king on 25 May when double Formula One World Champion and Mille Miglia winner Alberto Ascari died aged 36 while testing for Ferrari Monza in 1955. The highly superstitious driver’s unexplained accident happened when he was at exactly the same age as his father, the great Antonio Ascari was when he died on the same day of the month and in eerily similar circumstances.

Racer and sportscar maker Amédée Gordini also passed aged 79 on this day 1979.

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