René de Knyff driving his 16hp Panhard et Levassor to victory in the 1899 edition of the Tour de France
Jean-Louis Clarr at the 1982 event with a Lancia 037

Tour de France Automobile was a sports car race held on roads around France regularly –mostly annually– between 1899 and 1986.

History

The first edition in 1899 was won by René de Knyff driving a Panhard et Levassor at 30 mph (50 km/h). Organized by Le Matin, under the control of the Automobile Club de France, held July 16 to 24, in seven stages: Paris-Nancy; Nancy-Aix-les-Bains; Aix-les-Bains-Vichy; Vichy-Périgueux; Périgueux-Nantes; Nantes-Cabourg; Cabourg-Paris. Out of 49 starters, 21 vehicles finished.[1] The 1908 event was won by Clément-Bayard.[2]

1950s revival

The first event after the war took place in 1951, organised by the  [fr], and was won by Pierre Boncompagni "Pagnibon"/Barracquet in a 2.6-litre Ferrari 212 Export.[3] The event visited the La Turbie Hill Climb, near Nice.

The 1954 event was won by the 2.5 litre Gordini of Jacques Pollet and M. Gauthier, on the traditional Nice to Nice route.[4]

Scuderia Ferrari won eight times between 1951 and 1962. After the triumph of Alfonso de Portago in 1956, Olivier Gendebien won with partner Lucien Bianchi three times in a row (1957, 1958 and 1959).

The 1956 event was won by de Portago/Nelson in a Ferrari 250 2.9 with Moss/Houel (Mercedes 300 SL) in second place.[5]

In 1958 the British racing driver Peter Whitehead had a fatal accident on the tour driving a Jaguar with his half-brother Graham Whitehead, who was considered a reliable co-pilot in long-distance races. On September 21, 1958, after dark, Graham was driving when the car broke through a rotten bridge railing in Lasalle near Nimes and crashed into a ravine.

1960s

Matra MS650 with additional headlights for the Tour de France

In the 1960s, French racing and rally driver (fr: Bernard Consten) won the race five times, making it the record winner to this day. In the same decade, the stage race was also opened to sports prototypes, so that racing cars like the Ferrari 512S, the Ford GT40 or the Matra MS650 drove hundreds of kilometres on public roads.

The 1960 Tour de France took place between September 15 and 23 that year. Starting at Nice it visited Mont Ventoux, Nurburgring, Spa, Montlhéry, Rouen and Le Mans with the finish at Clermont Ferrand. The event was won overall by the Ferrari 250 G.T. of Willy Mairesse/Georges Berger. The Jaguar 3.8 litre Mk. II of Bernard Consten/J. Renel won the Touring category with the BMW 700 coupé of Metternich/Hohenlohe winning the Index of Performance.[6]

Willy Mairesse won again in 1961 together with Georges Berger.

The last Ferrari victory was in 1964 with Lucien Bianchi/Georges Berger driving a Ferrari 250 GTO, entered by Ecurie Nationale Belge.[7] The event started at Lille, visiting Reims, Rouen, Le Mans, Clermont-Ferrand, Monza and Pau. The Touring car category was won by Peter Procter/Andrew Cowan in a Ford Mustang,[8] entered by Alan Mann Racing.[9] The A.C. Shelby Cobras of Maurice Trintignant, Bob Bondurant and André Simon all retired.

1980s

The 1980s saw the event incorporated into the European Rally Championship which saw an influx of new competitors. The last event was held in 1986. Also known as Tour Auto, it was revived in 1992 for historic cars, with both a competition and a regularity class. The format is a 5-day event combining about 2,500 km of roads, 4 or 5 circuit races and 6 to 8 hillclimbs. Patrick Peter of Agence Peter is the organiser. The start of the International event with some 300 entrants is in Paris; the finish alternates between various cities like Cannes, St. Tropez and Biarritz. The winning cars over the years (since 1996 only pre '66 cars can win overall, even though cars up to 1974 are allowed): Ford Shelby Mustang 350GT, Ford GT40, AC Cobra 289, Lotus Elan, Ferrari Daytona Gr IV.

Competitors

Previous winners of the original Tour de France Automobile who have participated in the Historic Tour Auto include JC Andruet, Jean Ragnotti, Bernard Consten, Gérard Larousse, Johnny Rives.

Other famous entrants since 1992 were: Stirling Moss, Danny Sullivan, Phil Hill, Ari Vatanen, Emanuele Pirro, Eric Comas, Bobby Rahal, Rob Walton, Walter Röhrl, Jürgen Barth, Yannick Dalmas, Thierry Boutsen, Romain Dumas, Nick Mason, Olivier Panis.

Dutch racing driver Hans Hugenholtz won the competition class of the Patrick Peter organised event 7 times (1993-1999-2000-2001-2004-2006-2007), more than any other entrant, with a Ferrari Daytona Gr. IV, Shelby Mustang 350GT, Ford GT40 (twice) and a Lotus Elan (3 times).

Winners 1951–1986

Year Driver(s) Co-driver Vehicle
1951 France Pierre "Pagnibon" Boncompagni France Alfred Barraquet Ferrari 212 Export
1952 France Marc Gignoux France Mme Gignoux DB 750
1953 France Jacques Péron - Sport France R. Bertramnier Osca MT4
France Paul Condrillier - Touring car France Daniel Renault 4CV 1062
1954 France Jacques Pollet France Hubert Gauthier Gordini T15S
1956 Spain Alfonso de Portago United States Edmont Nelson Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta
1957 Belgium Olivier Gendebien - GT Category Belgium Lucien Bianchi Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta
France Jean Hébert - Touring car France Marcel Lauga Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce
1958 Belgium Olivier Gendebien - GT Category Belgium Lucien Bianchi Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta
France Jean Hébert - Touring car France Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Veloce
1959 Belgium Olivier Gendebien - GT Category Belgium Lucien Bianchi Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta 'Interim'
France Hermano da Silva Ramos - Touring car France Jean Estager Jaguar Mark 1
1960 Belgium Willy Mairesse - GT Category Belgium Georges Berger Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB
France - Touring car France Jack Renel Jaguar Mark 2
1961 Belgium Willy Mairesse - GT Category Belgium Georges Berger Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB
France - Touring car France Jack Renel Jaguar Mark 2
1962 France André Simon - GT Category France Maurice Dupeyron Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta SWB
France - Touring car France Jack Renel Jaguar Mark 2
1963 France Jean Guichet - GT Category France José Behra Ferrari 250 GTO
France - Touring car France Jack Renel Jaguar Mark 2
1964 Belgium Lucien Bianchi - GT Category Belgium Georges Berger Ferrari 250 GTO
United Kingdom Peter Procter - Touring car United Kingdom Andrew Cowan Ford Mustang
1969 France Gérard Larrousse France Maurice Gélin Porsche 911 R
1970 France Jean-Pierre Beltoise
France Patrick Depailler
France Jean Todt Matra 650 [10]
1971 France Gérard Larrousse France Johnny Rives Matra 650
1972 France Jean-Claude Andruet France Michèle Espinosi-Petit Ferrari 365 GTB4
1973 Italy Sandro Munari Italy Mario Mannucci Lancia Stratos HF
1974 France Gérard Larrousse
France Jean-Pierre Nicolas
France Johnny Rives Ligier JS2
1975 France Bernard Darniche France Alain Mahé Lancia Stratos HF
1976 France Jacques Henry France Bernard-Etienne Grobot Porsche Carrera
1977 France Bernard Darniche France Alain Mahé Lancia Stratos HF
1978 France Michèle Mouton France Françoise Conconi Fiat 131 Abarth
1979 France Bernard Darniche France Alain Mahé Lancia Stratos HF
1980 France Bernard Darniche France Alain Mahé Lancia Stratos HF
1981 France Jean-Claude Andruet France Chantal Bouchetal Ferrari 308 GTB
1982 France Jean-Claude Andruet France Michèle Espinosi-Petit Ferrari 308 GTB
1983 France Guy Fréquelin France Jean-François Fauchille Opel Manta 400
1984 France Jean Ragnotti France Pierre Thimonier Renault 5 Turbo
1985 France Jean Ragnotti France Pierre Thimonier Renault 5 Maxi Turbo
1986 France François Chatriot France Michel Périn Renault 5 Maxi Turbo

See also

References

  1. ^ International Motor Cyclopaedia, Year Book-March 1908 to March 1909, Pages 114–115, Publisher: E.E. Schwarzkopf, New York.
  2. ^ Hydro Retro, Clement-Bayard, pdf (French) Clément-Bayard, sans peur et sans reproche par Gérard Hartmann
  3. ^ The Motor Year Book 1952, Temple Press, Page 196.
  4. ^ The Autocar, September 17, 1954, Pages 401–402; The Autocar, September 24, 1954, Pages 426–427; Motor Sport, October 1954, Pages 557–558.
  5. ^ The Motor Year Book 1957, Temple Press, Page 197.
  6. ^ Motor Sport, August 1960, Page 627; Motor Sport, November 1960, Page 904.
  7. ^ Motor Sport, November 1964, Pages 949, 956.
  8. ^ Motor Sport, November 1964, Page 948.
  9. ^ For a road test of the Ford Mustang, DPK5B, which Bo Ljungfeldt drove in this event see: Motor Sport, December 1964, Pages 1013–1014.
  10. ^ Motor, October 3, 1970, Page 70.

External links