The history of motorsport goes way back during the time of the first vehicle. In fact, it might be safe to assume that racing started when people realised the potential of these motor vehicles.
‘Can they go as fast as we can get them? Think about the adrenaline rush!’
Before motorsport racing
We can only imagine what went on in the minds of the people who started this sport. Were they looking for a different kind of high? Before vehicles, people relied on animals for transport. You have horse-drawn carriages – one of the popular transportation back then.
Racing, it seems, has always been a part of our history. For centuries, we’ve always had a competitive streak in us. You have the chariot racing back in the days of the Roman Empire and even Ancient Egypt. The Ancient Greeks also have a form of racing.
This is why it is not surprising that people opted to go into motorsport racing as soon as vehicles started to get bigger and more efficient engines.
History of motorsport racing
So what is the history of motorsport?
The first prearranged match between two road vehicles (both were self-powered kinds) happened at 4:30 in the morning of August 30, 1867. This was over a predetermined route. This race happened between Ashton-under-Lyne and Old Trafford and was approximately 8 miles. The carriage that won was that of Isaac Watt Boulton.
When gasoline-fueled vehicles were constructed, auto racing events grew more appealing. The first organised event happened on April 28, 1887. This was organised by Monsieur Fossier, the chief editor of Le Vélocipède. This race covered 2 kilometres – from Neuilly Bridge until Bois de Boulogne.
The very first city to city race happened on July 22, 1894. It was organised by Le Petit Journal, a Parisian magazine. It is actually considered as the first official motoring competition that ran from Paris to Rouen (and back). The next one happened in 1900 – which was the year of the official establishment of the Gordon Bennett Cup. Since open road racing on public roads was deemed dangerous, it was banned during that time. This pushed organisers to opt for closed circuit racing. The very first motor racing track was built in Brooklands in the United Kingdom.
After first World War ended, most European countries opted for closed courses for their Grand Prix races. On the other side of the world, the United States found themselves opting for dirt track racing.
While the Grand Prix started beforehand, it was only after the second World War that the Grand Prix circuit went through a more formal organisation. At least, this is true in Europe. The United States started to establish and formalise other forms of motorsport like drag racing and stock car racing.
As the history of motorsport unraveled, the sport was soon divided into different events. Most of the time, the motor vehicles dictated the type of racing event that will be held and different organisations were put into place to regulate them.