The World of Racing
“Since the invention of the wheel, man has never ceased to try and go faster than the other fellow.” - Keith Ayling, Gas, Guts and Glory
The first true motoring competition was on July 22, 1894 when 21 cars raced from Porte Maillot in Paris to Rouen, 80 miles away.
These types of early competitions would come to inspire road races like the Targa Florio in Sicily, endurance races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and circuit racing like the Grand Prix in Belgium. Racing is not only a European movement, as it crosses continents and oceans.
There have been grand prix in Cuba and Peru; Formula 1 racing in China, Japan, and Australia; and rally style racing in Africa. Influenced by regional and local cultures, racing and motorsports are a global phenomenon.
As the automobile became more significant to everyday life, so too did the advertising and marketing for all things auto. In addition to ads for specific cars, there are ads for auto businesses, events, and parts.
In the early 1900s when automobiles were still new to the public, auto advertisements focused on utility and capability. As marketing strategies evolved, advertisers sought to influence and shape public perceptions. Ads were influenced by artistic trends, public happenings, and celebrities. Advertisements can now serve as a reflection of historical events, public attitudes, and consumer demand.
"The automobile tells who we are and what we think we want to be... It is a portable symbol of our personality and our position..." - Pierre Martineau, Director of Research at the Chicago Tribune, 1957
William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. Cup Race
The first major international automobile race in the U.S. was the William K. Vanderbilt Jr. Cup Race in 1904. William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. created the race to inspire innovation within the U.S. auto industry.
Even with negative publicity and resistance, large crowds attended the 1904 race on Long Island. Drivers were immediately concerned about unruly crowds on the public roads, and in 1906 a spectator was killed.
Conflict soon arose between two race-sanctioning bodies, the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the Automobile Club of America (ACA). In 1908 and 1909, the Vanderbilt Cup struggled as European teams were lured to the ACA's race in Savannah, Georgia leaving stock cars to race on Long Island.
In 1910 crowds returned, but the race was plagued with injuries and death. The Vanderbilt Cup on Long Island was over, until its brief revival in the 1930s.
Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA)
ARCA was founded in 1933 by Barron Jr., Sam, and C. Miles Collier along with their friends Thomas Dewart, Allen and Langdon Quimby, George Rand, and Briggs Cunningham.
In 1929, the group began racing on the roads at the Collier estate, Overlook, in New York. In 1930-1931 the group began calling itself the Overlook Automobile Racing Club (OARC). In 1933, Sam and Miles Collier raced in the Alpine Trial, inspiring them to bring the European style of road racing to the U.S. To be successful the OARC changed its name to ARCA.
The following years brought ARCA great success, and on October 6, 1940 ARCA held the legendary World's Fair Grand Prix. Largely due to World War II, this was ARCA's final race. Reinventing the sport, ARCA revived amateur road racing in the U.S.
The Indianapolis "Indy" 500 is one of the world’s most famous motor racing competitions. It is part of the unofficial Triple Crown of Motorsport along with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Monaco Grand Prix.
Carl Fisher built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a testing facility for car manufacturers. After its completion in 1909, the first auto race was held. The track's surface of crushed rock and tar was less than ideal and brought the race to an early end.
Fisher resurfaced the 2.5-mile oval track with street-paving bricks and 5 months later the inaugural Indy 500 took place on May 30, 1911.
The 1911 Indy 500 was a milestone in motorsports history and for over 100 years it has been a story of innovation, bravery, triumph and tragedy. It inspired a unique style of racing and has pushed manufacturers to their engineering and design limits.