The industry of automobile racing is a billion dollars industry. Whether we are talking about NASCAR or Formula 1 or even street racing, across the world fans are eager to hear the results of the latest races. The technologies used to build cars have become more advanced than people could have ever imagined. One can only fantasize about the thrill of running with 200 miles per hour. However things were a little different when the first automobile race took place.
It is believed that all races have an illegal background. The first races were thought to be held during the time of the prohibition in America. They were held by smugglers who were looking to improve their cars and their driving skills in order to outrun the police. In time races became organized events and their illegal inception was forgotten. However ,despite the popularity of these events, they were far from the first race in history.
The first documented race in history took place in 1984 in France. When automobiles first appeared, the french people welcomed them with a lot of enthusiasm. Their fascination for motorized vehicles led them to organize races in order to test and enjoy the new discovery. The first race was held between Paris and Rouen. If someone from the present were to watch that race it would probably resemble more a carriage ride than a car race. However, at that times the first race was one of the most exciting events of the year. 25 drivers were selected to participate in the race and each one of them was proud to do it. While renowned manufacturers such as Peugeot and Panhard participated, so did private owners. After 6 hours and 48 minutes the first car arrived in Rouen.
The proud winner of the first automobile race was Count Jules-Albert de Dion. His average speed was about 12 miles per hour and while this may seem like an insignificant speed, it was a huge step forward for that time. Soon enough more races were organized and the popularity of the races drove the automobile manufacturers to improve their cars with an astonishing speed. Cars were judged by their speed, handling as well as their safety measures.
A year later, on July 10, 1895 the Chicago Times-Herald organized the first automobile race in the United States. While the drivers consisted of 3 German cars, 1 motorized wagon and two 2-wheeled vehicles, the race generated a lot of publicity that gave a solid push to the automobile industry in America. In conclusion, we can all agree on the fact that automobile races were one of the main elements that pushed the technology advancements in the automobile industry.