24 March: Today in Racing


Ayrton Senna put Brazil into a frenzy when he drove his McLaren-Honda to a home Grand Prix victory this day 1991. Senna beat an exhausted Riccardo Patrese, who had to be lifted from his Williams-Renault, with Gerhard Berger third in the other McLaren. 

12 years later, Sebastian Vettel ignored Red Bull team orders to pass teammate Mark Webber and win the 2013 Malaysian Grand and move into to the championship lead. Vettel apologised to second placed Webber and the team as Lewis Hamilton ended third.

In other Formula 1 news, Peter Whitehead won the non-championship 1953 The Rand Grand Prix held at Palmietfontein near Johannesburg in South Africa in a Ferrari 555 and Nigel Mansell saved Lotus team manager Peter Collins from drowning in the ocean off Rio de Janeiro in 1981  

Looking further back in time,  Georges Lemaitre’s Peugeot was the first combustion engined car to ever win a hillclimb at Le Turbie in 1899, while Gastone Brilli-Peri drove his Talbot to win the 1929 Tripoli Grand Prix. More recently Arie Luyendyk, Sam Hornish, Jr, Dan Wheldon, James Hinchcliffe and Colton Herta have all won IndyCar Series races on this day since 1996.

In sportscar racing, Juan Manuel Fangio and Eugenio Castellotti’s Ferrari 860 Monza won the 1954 Sebring 12-hour, which race Lucien Bianchi and Jo Bonnier also won driving a Ferrari 250 TR in 1962 and Jo Siffert and Hans Herrmann won in a Porsche 907 in ’68. Matthew Alhadeff and  Bill Auberlen also drove their Riley BMW to 2007 Miami Grand Am victory on this day in 2007.

Elsewhere, Colin McRae and Nicky Grist powered their Ford Focus to 1999 World Rally Portugal victory, while Gilles Panizzi and Herve Panizzi's Peugeot 206 took 2002 WRC Catalynya victory. NASCAR winners on 24 March include Buck Baker, Junior Johnson and David Pearson taking Grand National honours, while Cale Yarborough, Jeff Gordon, Kurt and Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski all enjoyed Cup victories on this day. Garth Tander, Scott McLaughlin, Fabian Coulthard, Jamie Whincup and Scott Pye meanwhile won in Australia Supercars on this day.  

In other news, Sir Henry Birkin raised the Brooklands Outer Circuit lap record to 206km/h driving his 4.5 litre Blower Bentley in 1932 and in 1936, Hans Stuck added to his Auto Union Class B world speed records on the closed Autobahn by setting new marks in the up to 10 miles including a new 291km/h 5 mile record. 

Auto Union’s four rings were still at it as Audi on this day in 1986, when Bobby Unser set a 333km/h closed-course speed record for four-wheel drive vehicles with a turbo quattro.

Pierre Dieudonne (1947), Martin Truex (1958) and Scott Pruett (1960) were born on this day, while racing bade farewell to Boris Said, the first American to win a road race in Europe after World War II at the 1953 Rouen Grand Prix. Said passed away while while watching television at home aged  69 in 2002.

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