1965: The Mexican Grand Prix was a day of firsts. American Richie Ginther took his maiden win. The race also signalled a first F1 victory for Honda and Goodyear tyres. Second in Mexico City that day was Dan Gurney in a Brabham.
1971: Swiss ace Jo Siffert was killed in a non-championship Formula 1 race at Brands Hatch. He crashed his BRM during the World Championship Victory Race, with his team-mate Peter Gethin taking the race-shortened win. Siffert won two World Championship GPs – at Brands Hatch in 1968 for Lotus and in Austria in ’71 for BRM. He also won 14 rounds of the World Sportscar Championship, including the Daytona 24 Hours, Sebring 12 Hours and Targa Florio, in Porsche 907, 908 and 917 prototypes.
1976: Forty years ago James Hunt clinched the F1 World Title in dramatic fashion after finishing third for McLaren in the Japanese GP at Fuji. The Englishman needed at least four points to overhaul season-long nemesis Niki Lauda, who’d withdrawn from the race on safety grounds, and he got them to take the crown by a single point. The race was won by the JPS Lotus 77 of Mario Andretti.
1978: The inaugural Ivory Coast World Rally Championship qualifier in Africa was won by the sturdy Peugeot 504 V6 Coupé of Jean-Pierre Nicolas. The Frenchman won the event by 15 minutes from the sister car of Timo Mäkinen.
1964: Second place in the Mexican Grand Prix season finale was enough to give Briton John Surtees the drivers’ crown. By taking F1’s biggest prize, the former motorcycle king became the first and, to date, only man to be World Champion on two and four wheels. Lotus ace Jim Clark was on course to retain his title but suffered engine failure on the penultimate lap, leaving BRM rival and fellow Brit Graham Hill in the pound seats. He too was to be denied after Ferrari’s Lorenzo Bandini let team-mate Surtees into second, which gave him enough points to pip 11th-placed Hill to the title by a single point. The race was won by Dan Gurney’s Brabham.
1980: Porsche’s second and final WRC win came on the Tour de Corse Rally, courtesy of Jean-Luc Thérier. The Frenchman’s 911 beat the Fiat 131 Abarth of Walter Röhrl by more than 10 minutes, with Alain Coppier’s 911 taking third.
1986: Thirty years ago today, Nigel Mansell’s F1 world title dreams were shattered, along with the left-rear tyre of his Williams-Honda FW11, in the Australian GP. Championship rival Alain Prost sneaked the crown away for McLaren by winning the race, while Briton Mansell would have to wait another six years before joining F1’s elite club.
1997: Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve clashed while disputing the lead of the European GP at Jerez in Spain, the Ferrari man losing out in his controversial attempt at passing the Williams driver. Villeneuve went on to finish third, behind debut winner Mika Häkkinen and McLaren team-mate David Coulthard, to clinch the title.
2003: Gilles Panizzi won the Catalunya Rally for Peugeot, ensuring a WRC title shootout for the finale in Britain. Panizzi’s team-mate Richard Burns, who retired in Spain, was one of the drivers in with a shout of the title but fate decreed he’d play no part in the decider; on the way to Wales he was taken ill and soon diagnosed with a brain tumour. He bravely fought the disease but succumbed in November 2005, aged just 34.
1991: Mercedes’ final World Sportscar Championship win came in the season-closing race at Autopolis. The team’s ‘stars of the future’, Michael Schumacher and Karl Wendlinger, took their Sauber-Mercedes C291 to victory over the Jaguar XJR-14s of soloist Derek Warwick and Teo Fabi/David Brabham.
1930: Formula 1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone was born. The former motorcycle salesman tried his hand at racing before branching out into driver management. He looked after Stuart Lewis-Evans and Jochen Rindt before buying the Brabham team in the early 1970s. After relinquishing control of the beleaguered squad in the late-1980s, he focused his indefatigable energies on representing all the teams, negotiating their position with the sport’s governing body via his FOCA organisation. One of the world’s richest men, he still has a control in the commercial affairs of F1, even at the age of 86.
1950: Thomas Alexander Fermor-Hesketh, third Baron Hesketh, was born. His Hesketh Racing team burst onto the F1 scene in 1973 with customer chassis after just a season and a half in F3 with James Hunt. Hunt would famously give Hesketh its only World Championship GP win, at Zandvoort in 1975, before he joined McLaren for 1976. Hesketh battled on uncompetitively until the end of 1977 before quitting the sport altogether.
1973: Mark Donohue gave the fearsome Porsche 917/30 Can-Am car its sixth consecutive win in the Riverside finale. It was the American’s and Porsche’s last win in the popular urestricted-sportscar series.
1951: British all-rounder Tiff Needell was born. One time a Grand Prix driver – aboard an Ensign in the 1980 Belgian GP at Zolder, he was also a winner in British GT and the British Touring Car Championship. He contested the Le Mans 24 Hours on many occasions, taking a best result of third in a Porsche 962 alongside fellow Brits Anthony Reid and David Sears. He has also spent many years co-presenting motoring TV programmes, including Top Gear and Fifth Gear, as well as competing in numerous machines at the three Goodwood events.
1995: Michael Schumacher’s Japanese GP victory at Suzuka was the ninth win of the year for the German Benetton ace, a tally that matched Nigel Mansell’s record, set in 1992 for Williams.
2006: American Honda rider Nicky Hayden secured the MotoGP title in the final race of the year at Valencia. The Kentucky Kid won two GPs during the year – in Holland and the USA – and took third behind the two Ducatis of first-time winner Troy Bayliss and Loris Capirossi to make sure of the title at Valencia.
1906: The winner of the inaugural Formula 1 Drivers’ World Championship, Giuseppe Farina, was born. The Italian won five races – four for Alfa Romeo and one for Ferrari – and saw off Alfa team-mate Juan Manuel Fangio to win the title in year one in 1950. He was killed in a road accident while travelling to the 1966 French GP, aged 59.
1988: Ayrton Senna staged a stunning comeback after a slow getaway in the Japanese GP at Suzuka relegated him to the midfield. He moved to the front just after half-distance and held off McLaren team-mate Alain Prost to win the race and the World Championship.