From June 3–5, Michelin and the the Automobile Club of Auvergne hosted an elaborate celebration and track festivities to honor the 100th anniversary of the final Gordon Bennett Cup race held in the Auvergne region of France in 1905.
The Gordon Bennett Cup was a series of annual motor races held from 1900 to 1905 and established by James Gordon Bennett, the owner of the “New York Herald” newspaper. The challenge for the Gordon Bennett Cup brought together competitors from each country in which automobiles were produced at the turn of the 20th century, including Austria, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the U.S. Each race was hosted by the home country of the winner from the previous year.
Following a French victory in Germany in 1904, the city of Clermont-Ferrand hosted the sixth and last Gordon Bennett Cup in July 1905. The course was designed by the Michelin brothers, André and Edouard, while the event was organized by the Automobile Club of Auvergne.
Three hundred journalists from around the world covered the race, which was watched by more than 80,000 spectators. Frenchman Léon Théry, at the wheel of his Richard-Brasier, took home the last trophy awarded by James Gordon Bennett.
This year’s centenary celebration saw 140 veteran cars from 11 countries retrace the route taken during the original race and participate in a series of track events and demonstrations.