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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Pre-WWII Racing Topics:  French Grand Prix


The New York Times
December 12, 1909

Lack of Entries May Cause Abandonment of Event.

The Grand Prix of France for 1910 is in a fair way to be abandoned.  When the lists for the proposed revival closed it was found that an insufficient number of entries had been received.  Forty-five entries is the minimum, which is unnecessarily high, for only once has this number of starters been obtained for an international race held in France.

On the Auvergne course in 1905 there were only 29 starters; on the Sarthe in 1906 the number was 34; at Dieppe in 1907 it was 38, and in the following year at the same place it reached the record of 49.  Last year, when nobody wanted to race, the number of starters had to be 40; now that there is a certain feeling in favor of a speed event the number has to be 45 before the club will move.

If the Automobile Club of France is rather cold hearted over the prospects of an automobile race, the same does not apply to the Dieppe district.  The Mayor of the town and the Deputy of the district have just paid a visit to the racing board in order to promise a subsidy of $20,000 if the race is held on the triangular course by the seashore.  In addition they will undertake to put the roads in racing trim at an additional cost of about $15,000.

Should an aeroplane race be added to the automobile speed test, the district will come forward with a subsidy of $40,000 in addition to all local assistance for organizing these events.

In a moment of enthusiasm the club proposed to have two days' automobile racing at Dieppe, two days on which motor boats would show their speed ability in the bay, and two or three days for aeroplane races over a prepared aerodrome, then as a grand final a flight of all the artificial birds across the English Channel to the British shore, a stay there of about half an hour, in order to replenish the gasoline and oil supply, and return to the starting point.

The scheme is the most ambitious one ever conceived by the club.  But it was no sooner conceived than it seemed to become afraid of it, as is shown by the fixing of forty-five cars as the minimum for the Grand Prix, and the declaration that the aeroplane race will only be held if the automobile event can be carried through.  Dieppe, however, is so enthusiastic over the matter that she is capable of carrying all or a portion of the programme through without the aid of the club.

Negotiations have already been commenced with Brighton, on the opposite side of the Channel, in order to endeavor to put up a big prize for flights over the sea if the Automobile Club backs out of the affair.

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