Start of the first motor race in history

Start of the first motor race in history

The first long-distance speed trial for cars was launched in 1895. The aim was to travel from Paris to Bordeaux and back as quickly as possible (in less than 100 hours).

Of the 19 competitors, 4 were Panhard & Levassor cars. Emile Levassor and his mechanic Charles d'Hostingue, driving a 2-cylinder and carrying no. 5, took the lead after reaching Tours.


The Panhard & Levassor car crosses the finish line.

They were the first to arrive at Bordeaux, and exhilarated by their success, refused to hand over to the team who were to be their relay partners. They set off for Paris, which they reached after 48 hours and 47 minutes of uninterrupted driving over a distance of 1200 km and an average speed of 24 km/h. 5 hours behind them came a Peugeot with a Daimler engine.

Their arrival at Porte Maillot was a triumph which was immortalised 10 years later by a monument erected in memory of Emile Levassor.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION…

Book : Benoit PĂ©rot, 1895 Paris-Bordeaux-Paris. l'Incroyable Course des Pionniers de l'Automobile (1895 Paris-Bordeaux-Paris. The Incredible Automobile Pioneer Race), Edition Timkat, 2009.

Video : Looking back at Bordeaux Paris 1895. July 2007 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGhIQAh2Dx4