US Grand Prix this weekend

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Despite the present F1 Grand Prix in Austin’s Circuit of the Americas being a Johnny Come Lately, the American race actually dates back to 1908.

(Based on Wiki) The race was initially called the “Grand Prize”.

Ralph de Palma.
Ralph de Palma.

In 1908 the Savannah Automobile Club laid out a lengthened version of their stock car course, totaling 40.44 km. Georgia Governor M. Hoke Smith authorized the use of convict labor to construct the circuit of oiled gravel. The governor also sent state militia troops to augment local police patrols in keeping the crowd in check.

The entry for the inaugural race featured 14 European and six American entries, including factory teams from Benz, Fiat, and Renault. In the race, held on Thanksgiving Day, Ralph DePalma led early in his Fiat, before falling back with lubrication and tire problems. The race came down to a three-way battle between the Benz of Victor H้mery and the Fiats of Louis Wagner and Felice Nazzaro. Wagner won the race by the close margin of 56 seconds.

The era of the F1 Grands Prix began in 1950, and the F1 race being held at the Circuit of the Americas began in 2012.

Unfortunately, with the time differential between the US and Thailand, the race will be held at 2 a.m. Thai time, which coincides with my being fast asleep and Jameson’s being closed, so no big screen and bottomless beer mugs!