Motor Racing, H:O Scale Slot Cars, Classic Cars, the building of my slot car circuit

Les courses automobiles francaises et voitures classiques

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Coupe de l'Auto Rambouillet 1906 and 1907 and LSR of 1902

From 1905 to 1913 the French motoring magazine, L'Auto, organised a competition for Voiturettes called La Coupe del'Auto or alternatively La Coupe des Voiturettes.  Voiturettes were lighter cars than the Grand prix cars of the day - a sort of Formula Two of its time.  For 1905 these cars had to be a maximum of 400kg.  From 1906 the engines were restricted by the size of the bore.

The 1906 and 1907 Coupe l'Auto was run on a road circuit to the south of Rambouillet in France.  I believe these were the only races ever run on this circuit.   As I don't live very far from Rambouillet and as it was a beautiful crisp but sunny winters day, today, I ventured out in my Alfa Romeo to trace the old circuit.   It is still relatively easy to follow and must have been a real challenge on the roads of the time.  Two thirds is rather a nice drive with the other third being a straight blast up the N10/D910.
The D936 through Greffiers passes by this old church
Start on the N10/D910 south of Rambouillet near Ablis.  Continue North until you can turn right on the D936 towards Sonchamp and Saint Arnoult en Yvelines.   Now begins the pleasant part of the route.

Continue all the way into Saint Arnoult on the D936 passing on the way Greffiers, La Huniere, Sonchamp and La Moulin Boutareine.
The junction between the D936 and the D988 at Saint Arnoult

When you get to the T junction in Saint Arnoult turn right onto the D988. Shortly the road starts to climb, which must have been a challenge for the Voiturettes.   At the top the road flattens and straightens.
Beginning the climb out of Saint Arnoult
This long straight section running between the roadside trees is not only part of the course that the voiturettes ran but also is the venue of the August 1902 successful Land Speed record bid by the American William Vanderbilt in his Mors.  This was a significant event as it was the first time that the record had been achieved in a car with an internal combustion engine.  Vanderbilt achieved a speed of 122.4 kph or 76 mph.  Unlike the Voiturettes the Mors weighed 1,000kg and had a 9.2 litre engine.
Imagine William Vanderbilt driving his Mors at record speed alomg this straight
Continue on the D988, over the A11and through Gueherville until you see a sign for Ablis centre and turn right here onto the D168/D988 into Ablis.   Ablis has a one way system but is worth a quick detour as it also featured in some of the big early city to city races such as the tragically shortened Paris-Madrid race of 1903.  Eventually find your way onto the D177 heading North towards the N10 and Rambouillet.   Continue back to your start point and you have completed a lap of the Rambouillet Voiturette circuit.
Where the course turned right back towards Rambouillet in the centre of Ablis
For the record the 1906 race was won by Georges Sizaire in his Sizaire-Naudin car from a Delage and a Lion-Peugeot.  Sizaire covered the 156 miles at a average of just over 36mph.

The 1907 race was a one-two for the Sizaire-Naudin team with Louis Naudin winning from Sizaire.  Jules Goux finished third in a Lion-Peugeot the forerunner of the Peugeot cars we know today.  Naudin covered the 190 miles at an average speed of just over 40 mph.

The drive along the D936 and D988 is definitely worth a detour for this little brush with motoring history.  Wishing you all happy and safe motoring in 2015.