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Ferenc Szisz

Many years before Zsolt Baumgartner took to the wheel of a Formula One car, there was another Hungarian driver who won a grand prix in a Renault.

At the end of the 19th century races were organised across Europe as a way of showing what the world’s first cars were capable of. As the years went by competition grew in intensity until, in 1906, the Automobile Club de France organised the very first “Grand Prix Automobile”, which was held near Le Mans, in the Sarthe region.

A number of Renaults figured among the 32 cars that entered the race, which took place on a closed circuit made up of public roads and stretching for 100 kilometres, with drivers required to complete the circuit 12 times over the course of two days.

Hungarian driver Ferenc Szisz made a strong start to the event in his Renault AK. Jumping into the lead on lap three, he remained there all the way to the finish line. Punctures were commonplace at the time and Michelin’s ground-breaking spare wheel, which was used by the Renault, helped Szisz in his task.

His exploits are still remembered more than a century on, as visitors to the Hungaroring can see for themselves.

A sculpture of the driver in action stands at the entrance to the circuit hosting the World Series by Renault this weekend, while a plaque commemorating the Hungarian’s victory in what is regarded as the very first grand prix can be found at the entrance to the stands.

Official Renault Sport Press Release.

Posted: 14 September 2013
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