Race history on this day is headlined by five grands prix and two Le Mans 24 Hours.
In Formula 1, Alberto Ascari won the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix from Ferrari 500 teammate Nino Farina and Robert Manzon’s Gordini. 22 years later, James Hunt pulled off a giant-killing F1 victory when he beat Ferrari 312T duo Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni to the 1975 Dutch victory in the tiny Hesketh team’s only Grand Prix win and a great underdog victory
Ten years anon, Ayrton Senna’s Lotus-Renault 98T won the 1986 United States Grand Prix in Detroit from Jacques Laffite’s Ligier Renault and Alain Prost in a McLaren TAG Porsche. More recently, Felipe Massa led Kimi Räikkönen to a 2008 French GP Ferrari 1-2 over Jarno Trulli’s Toyota, before Nico Rosberg won the first Austrian Grand Prix in 12 years from Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas’ Williams Mercedes in 2014.
Meanwhile at Le Mans, Henry Birkin and Glen Kidson led a Speed Six 1-2 in Bentley’s fourth consecutive 24-hour in 1930 and Olivier Gendebien and Phil Hill took the 1958 race in Ferrari 250 Testarossa. Staying with sportscars, Sarel van der Merwe and Doc Bundy’s Lola-Corvette won ’86 IMSA West Palm Beach, David Donohue, Scott Goodyear and Mike Borkowski Fabcar Porsche the 2003 Grand-Am 6 Hours of the Glen, which Jon Fogarty Alex Gurney also win in ’08 in a Riley-Pontiac.
Elsewhere, Vincenzo Lancia won Fiat’s first ever race in the 1902 Sassi-Superga Hillclimb, Pierre de Crawez drove his Panhard 70hp to victory in one of the first races run over a closed circuit at Ardennes in Germany in 1903 and Jean Chassagne took his Sunbeam to 1922 Isle of Man Tourist Trophy victory.
More recently Adolf Vermirovsky’s Tatra 2.6 won the Russian 1958 Ecce Homo Okruh and in South African F1, Syd van der Vyver took his Lotus Climax to double Royal Show Trophy wins in 1962 and 1963 and Basil van Rooyen won the 1968 Natal Winter Trophy in a Brabham BT24 Repco, all three of those races being at Roy Hesketh in Pietermaritzburg.
Over in the US meanwhile, Shorty Cantlon took 1930 Akron Champ Car honours, Bill Holland won in 1947 and Bobby Unser won races in both CART and IRL in 1980. Mark Blundell took in the closest win in CART history in 1997, Adrian Fernandez won in 2003 and Dan Wheldon on his birthday in 2008.
Elsewhere, Jean-Eric Vergne won the 2019 Formula E Bern ePrix and in World Rallying, Petter Solberg’s Subaru Impreza took 2003 Cyprus honours and Sebastien Ogier’s Volkswagen Polo won in Sardinia in 2013.
One of the Bentley Boys of the 1920s, Sir Henry Birkin, who actually won at Le Mans on this day in 1930, died in mysterious circumstances believed to be combination of a small burn sustained in a race that turned septic and a malaria attack, aged 36 in 1933. Pre-war GP hero and the oldest man to ever race a Formula 1 Grand Prix, aged 58 years, Louis Chiron passed away aged 79 in 1979.