May 28, 2022

Olympic Motor Racing

During “L’Exposition be Paris 1900” also called 1900 Paris World’s Fair, many international events were held within the Exposition, including the Summer Olympics.

From May 14 1900 to October 28 1900, the Olympics hosted an number of sporting events, which today might be called ‘demonstration sports’. Rather than ‘Olympic’ events, these were reported as ‘Paris Championships’, “International Championships”, “World Championships” and “Grand Prix of the Paris Exposition”.

A number of events were held for the first and only time in Olympic history, including automobile racing,

As part of the 1900 Olympics, the Paris-Toulouse-Paris race took place over three days. Fifty-five vehicles started the events, but only 21 finished; 9 cars, 9 motorcycles, and 3 voiturettes made it to the finish line (although only 18 had a time recorded).


Paris-Toulouse-Paris (1347km) – Voiture

In the car race, the winner was Alfred ‘Levegh’ Velghe, whose Mors automobile finished more than one hour ahead of his 2nd and 3rd place competitors Arthur Pinson and Carl Voight each driving a Panhard-Levassor. Velghe received a prize of 8,000 francs and a gold medal for winning.

A pioneer in French motor racing, Velghe started racing in 1898, was reported to light up a victory cigar when he won a race, and always raced as the more Franco-sounding pseudonym ‘Levegh’.


Paris-Toulouse-Paris (1347km) – Voiturette

The “voiturette” miniature car race was limited to smaller vehicles, and was won by Louis Renault. He drove a family-made car and covered the course over 11 hours faster than runner-up Schrader in his Renault-Aster or third-place Grus in his Renault. A prize of 4,000 francs was given to Renault as well as a gold medal for winning.

Only a year earlier, Louis founded the Renault corporation as Société Renault Frères by Louis Renault with his brothers Marcel and Fernand. More than 120 years later, the company still bears his family name.


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