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History of car racing

Car racing is almost as old as the car itself, as soon as two people with cars found themselves in the same area they would inevitably race them. The early races were usually endurance events between two cities. Given both the state of the cars and the roads at this time these races could take days even if they were only going a couple of hundred miles. The first official race is believed to have to taken place in France in 1895 although there are claims of races occurring earlier. These early races almost always took part on public roads.

The first race tracks to come into existence started to appear in the early part of the twentieth century, usually they were converted horse racing tracks. It was during this time that races started to become more organized. These early races were usually limited to wealthy gentlemen due to the huge expense of cars at the time. In most cases these continued to mainly endurance races as few cars would actually make it to the finish.

In the period after the First World War car racing started to become an activity that the car makers themselves got into. They realized that racing was a good way for them to develop their cars and it also made for good advertising. This was the first real step towards modern racing as we know it. While hardly a professional endeavour the participants were much better organized and prepared than they had been before the war since they had backing from the factory for their car. During this period there were hundreds of car makers so there was a great deal of competition at the races as they all tried to have their products stand out.

Racing would really take off following the Second World War and this was the period were when car racing would become a professional sport. By this time virtually all of the competitors at the top level had the support of the car makers and it was also during this time that cars starting appearing with sponsorship on them. This brought a great deal of money into the sport and made the races a much larger event than it had been before. The eighties teams were spending millions of dollars every year on their racing programs.

Over the years car racing has split off into several different formats with races that involve cars that range from those that you would find on the street to custom built cars that have more in common with the aerospace industry than they do with the car industry. This has resulted in the sport becoming somewhat fractured with different types of racing being popular in different parts of the world. Nevertheless car racing of some form is popular no matter where you go.