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Title: Paris–Bordeaux–Paris  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Gautier–Wehrlé, Panhard, Peugeot Type 3, June 11, Paris–Rouen (motor race)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


memorial monument
Venue Road from Paris to Bordeaux
(and return)
Location France
First race 11 July 1895 (unique race)
30 entrants
21 qualified
12 Stopped
Distance 1,178 kilometres (732 mi)

The Paris–Bordeaux–Paris Trail of June 1895 is sometimes called the "first motor race" although it did not conform to modern convention whereby the fastest finisher is the winner. It was a triumph for Émile Levassor who arrived first after completing the 1,178 km in 48 hours, nearly six hours ahead of the runner-up. However, the official winner was Paul Koechlin, who arrived third in his Peugeot, exactly 11 hours slower than Levassor, but officially the race had been for four-seater cars, whereas Levassor and the runner-up drove two-seater cars.[1][2][3]

First race

Paris–Bordeaux–Paris is sometimes called the first 1896 Paris–Marseille–Paris, so that the fastest finisher was the winner.[1][2][3]


The race is sometimes erroneously referred to as the I Grand Prix de l'A.C.F. This results from a retrospective political move that began in the early 1920s when French media represented many races held in France before the 1906 French Grand Prix as being Grands Prix de l'Automobile Club de France, despite their running pre-dating the formation of the Club. Hence, the 1906 race was said to have been the 9th edition of the Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France. The ACF itself adopted this reasoning in 1933, although some members of the Club dismissed it, "concerned the name of the Club was lent to the fiction simply out of a childish desire to establish their Grand Prix as the oldest race in the world."[4][5]

Levassor's progress

Levassor, who drove one of his cars, a 1205 cc (74 ci) Baron René de Knyff met him en route, he was so surprised by Levassor's time that he nearly crashed. Levassor, after spending two days and nights behind the wheel, came triumphantly to Paris, reaching an average speed of 24.5 km/h. He said after the race: "Some 50 km before Paris I had a rather luxurious snack in a restaurant which helped me. But I feel a little tired."


The race proved that both the riders and the cars were capable of driving such distances and it generated public enthusiasm which indicated that such events were commercially viable.


Paris–Bordeaux–Paris Trail on 25 February 1895. 1178 km


The overall results were:[3]
Pos No Driver Car Time Notes
1 5 Émile Levassor Panhard & Levassor 48:48:00 24.54 km/h
Ineligible for First prize - 2 seater
2 15 Louis Rigoulot Peugeot 54:35:00 Ineligible for First prize - 2 seater
3 16 Paul Koechlin Peugeot 59:48:00 Named as the winner, received the main prize.
4 8 Auguste Doriot Peugeot 59:49:00
5 12 Hans Thum Benz / Roger 64:30:00
6 7 Émile Mayade Panhard & Levassor 72:14:00
7 28 Boulanger Panhard & Levassor 78:07:00
8 13 Émile Roger Roger 82:48:00
9 24 Amédée Bollée Bollée 90:03:00

Did not finish

Entrants who did not finish :[3]
Driver No. Car Notes
André Michelin 46 Peugeot Orleans (B)/Tyre Trouble - Finished outside time limit.
Léon Serpollet 20 Gardner-Serpollet Poitiers (B)/Broken Crank Shaft
Paul Thaillier N. 37 Vincke et Delmer Angouleme
Hildebrand Wolfsmuller Angouleme
Charles Prévost 6 Panhard & Levassor Angouleme/Broken Wheel-Disqualified
Comte de Chasseloup Laubat 3 De Dion-Bouton Vouvray/Broken Shaft
Charles Jeantaud 25 Jeanteaud Orleans/Axle Trouble
Millet 42 Millet Orleans
Gardner-Serpollet Versailles
P. Gautier 18 Gautier-Wehrlé (Poss. Pierre or Charles Gautier)
26 Rossel
Unknown 43 Gautier-Wehrlé (Poss. Pierre or Charles Gautier)


Entrants in order of departure:
Driver Car Notes
1 15 Louis Rigoulot Peugeot petrol
2 3 Comte de Chasseloup Laubat De Dion-Bouton steam
3 8 Auguste Doriot Peugeot petrol
4 35 Vacheron petrol - Did not finish
5 12 Hans Thum Benz - Roger petrol
6 5 Émile Levassor Panhard et Levassor petrol
7 19 Lebrun et Duval petrol - Did not finish
8 24 Amédée Bollée Bollée steam
9 27 Bogard electric - Did not finish
10 32 Lepape petrol - Did not finish
11 16 A. Koechlin Panhard et Levassor petrol
12 6 Prévost Peugeot petrol
13 22 Compagnie des moteurs légers petrol - Did not finish
14 10 Decauville steam - Did not finish
15 20 Leon Serpollet Serpollet steam
16 21 Serpollet steam
17 43 Gauthier Vehrlé steam
18 18 P. Gautier Gautier (automobile) petrol
19 7 Émile Mayade Panhard et Levassor petrol
20 13 Émile Roger Roger petrol
21 46 André Michelin Michelin petrol - Did not finish
22 25 Charles Jeanteaud Jeantaud electric
23 1 Jules-Albert de Dion De Dion-Bouton 20 HP steam
24 37 Fréderic (Paul Thaillier) Vincke petrol
25 28 Panhard et Levassor petrol
26 40 Delannoy petrol - Did not finish
27 14 Ducan et Suberbie steam - Cycle
28 37 Millet petrol - Cycle - Did not finish
29 28 Boulanger Briest petrol - Cycle - Did not finish
30 42 Marc Létang steam - Cycle

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c d TeamDan Early results database - 1895
  4. ^ Hodges (1967), pp. 2–3
  5. ^ 1895 Grand Prix and Paris Races. Retrieved on 12 September 2009.

Other sources

  • IndexLe Petit JournalGallica, Online Archive,
  • 9 June 1894 – Voitures sans chevaux - Changed routeLe Petit JournalGallica, Online Archive,
  • 11 June 1894 – Voitures sans chevaux - Race dayLe Petit JournalGallica, Online Archive,
  • 12 June 1894 – Voitures sans chevaux - Intermediate race reportLe Petit JournalGallica, Online Archive,
  • 13 June 1894 – Voitures sans chevaux - Race reportLe Petit JournalGallica, Online Archive,
  • 14 June 1894 – Voitures sans chevaux - Arrival in ParisLe Petit JournalGallica, Online Archive,
  • 15 June 1894 – Voitures sans chevaux - later finishersLe Petit JournalGallica, Online Archive,

External links

  • Racing Database
  • Paris-Bordeaux-Paris, in French
  • Early auto racing, in Spanish
  • Historic cars
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