Today in Racing: 21 June

21 June has been a busy day for Formula 1 over the years with no less than seven grand prix across the globe in 70 years.

First off, Alberto Ascari beat Ferrari teammate Luigi Villoresi and Onofre Marimón’s Maserati to win the 1953 Belgian Grand Prix in front of a record 100 000 crowd after Juan Manuel Fangio’s Maserati crashed on the final lap.

Sixteen years later, Jackie Stewart drove his Matra MS80 Cosworth to victory in the 1969 Dutch Grand Prix ahead of Jo Siffert’s Lotus Cosworth Chris Amon in a Ferrari, before Jochen Rindt took a debut victory for the Lotus 72 Cosworth from Jackie Stewart in a March Cosworth this time and Jacky Ickx’s Ferrari in a tragic 1970 Dutch Grand Prix.

Regarded as a tactical masterpiece, Gilles Villeneuve’s final Grand Prix victory in Spain in 1981 in a Ferrari 126CK at Jarama was also the second closest ever finish in F1 history. The top five – Villeneuve, Jacques Laffite in a Ligier Matra, John Watson’s McLaren Cosworth, Carlos Reutemann’s Williams Cosworth and Elio de Angelis in a Lotus, were covered by just 1.2 seconds at the flag.

Ayrton Senna used his Lotus 99T Honda’s active ride suspension to best effect to beat compatriot Nelson Piquet’s Williams Honda and Alain Prost in a McLaren TAG Porsche in the 1987 United States Grand Prix and Sebastian Vettel won the 2009 British Grand Prix from Red Bull Renault teammate Mark Webber and Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn-Mercedes.

And finally, from a F1 point of view, Nico Rosberg won the 2015 Austrian Grand Prix from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa driving a Williams Mercedes.

Moving on to Le Mans, there were three 24 Hours on this day – Gerard de Courcelles and Andre Rossignol steered a La Lorraine to 1925 honours, Nino Vaccarella and Jean Guichet won the 1964 race in a Ferrari 275P and Derek Warwick, Mark Blundell, and Yannick Dalmas took the ‘92 24 Hour in a Peugeot 905.

Clemente Biondetti won the first post-war Mille Miglia driving an Alfa Romeo after a violent rainstorm hampered eventual runner-up, an already ill Tazio Nuvolari’s tiny Cisitalia from taking a shock victory on this day in 1947. Forty years later, John Morton and Hurley Haywood’s Jaguar XJR-7 won the 1987 West Palm Beach IMSA race, while Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver’s Riley & Scott Ford was the winner at Road Atlanta 1998.

In other major races, Guido Ginaldi’s Alfa Romeo RLTF took the 1925 Coppa Acerbo at Pescara, Edgard von Morawitz the ‘26 Rund um Marienbad in his Bugatti, Louis Chiron the 1931 French GP de l’ACF at Montlhery in a Bugatti 51 and Tazio Nuvolari’s Alfa Romeo 8C-35 the 1936 Magyar GP Budapest. John Love won two SA F1 races on this day – the 1964 Royal Show Trophy in a Cooper Climax and the 1970 Bulawayo 100 in a March 701 Cosworth.

Moving over the pond, Rodger Ward won in Indy Racing in 1953, while AJ Foyt took two race wins seventeen years apart in 1964 and ‘81, Michael Andretti won in ‘92, Alex Zanardi ‘98 and Dario Franchitti 2009.

Other highlights included Davy Jeanney’s Peugeot winning the 2015 German World Rallycross round at Estering, while Martin Brundle drove a Jaguar XJ220 to a new 351km/h standard production car speed record the Nardò test track in Italy.

Tragically, an accident in the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix claimed the life of Piers Courage at the age of 28.