Dario Resta was born in Faenza, Italy  but was raised in England from the age of two. He began racing there in 1907 when he took part in the Montagu Cup, the very first race staged at the new Brooklands race track. He set a record of 95.7 mph (154.0 km/h) in a half-mile run a few years later. On October 2, 1913, alternating with Jean Chassagne and Kenelm Lee Guinness in two-hour spells, Resta set up a series of long distance World Records with a Sunbeam Grand Prix car fitted with a single-seater body. After competing in Grand Prix motor racing in Europe, including the 1913 French Grand Prix, he went to the U.S.
Coming to America
In early 1915 he was brought to the United States by Alphonse Kaufman, an America importer of Peugeots, to drive Kaufman's Peugeot EX3. In February he won the United States Grand Prix, more properly named the United Staes Grand Prize, at San Francisco followed by a victory in the Vanderbilt Cup. After leading during the final stages of that year's Indianapolis 500, he finished second to Ralph DePalma when his car skidded and he had to make a pit-stop for tyres. Resta then drove his blue Peugeot to victory in the inaugural 500-mile (800 km) race on the board track at the on 26 June 1915. The race received eighteen pages of coverage in the 1 July 1915, issue of magazine.
The following year, in 1916, en route to winning the United States National Driving Championship, Resta repeated as the winner of the Vanderbilt Cup plus he won the 1916 Indianapolis 500, the , the and the races.
With World War I raging in Europe and the United States entering the war in 1918, races were reduced to a minimum. During 1918 Resta drove a Peugeot at a race in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, a minor event with only a handful of competitors.
In 1923 Resta returned to racing at the age of 39, making his first appearance in Beverly Hills, California. Next, he made another attempt at Indianapolis but was forced out of the race after 225 miles (362 km). Racing again in Europe, Resta finished 3rd in the Penya Rhin Grand Prix and won the voiturette class at the Spanish Grand Prix. He drove for Sunbeam in the 1924 season with teammates Henry Segrave and Kenelm Lee Guinness.
Dario Resta was killed in England on 3 September 1924 at the age of 40 when his car crashed at Brooklands while trying for a new land speed record. Resta was driving a Sunbeam when a belt on his car broke on the second lap and punctured his tyre sending him out of control. The car crashed through a corrugated iron fence on the Railway Straight and caught fire.
This accident also hospitalized his riding-mechanic, Bill Perkins, causing him to miss the San Sebastian Grand Prix a few weeks later. Perkins was Sunbeam driver Kenelm Lee Guinness's regular mechanic and so was substituted by Tom Barrett. Guinness suffered a serious crash during this race, in which Barrett was killed and this accident led to the end of the practice of carrying riding-mechanics during races.
Indy 500 results
- Land Speed Record memorial site
- "Dario Resta, Auto Race Driver Dies As Car Smashes". The Deseret News. International News Service. 3 September 1924. Retrieved 2 October 2012.
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- The Englishman from Livorno-Dario Resta
- Resta in Peugeot Victorious. New York City: Class Journal Company. 1915. p. 1.
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