The era of motorsport began with the first Paris to Rouen motoring competition in 1894 and the establishment of the Automobile Club de France in 1895. Indeed, Paris was generally the starting point for city-tocity racing. Motor racing was eventually confined to enclosed circuits following numerous fatalities during competitions. The first official Grand Prix in motorsport history was held in 1906 on a course measuring approximately 100 km around Le Mans, France.
Whereas steadfastness and endurance were the prevailing qualities in the early years, speed soon became the major motivation following the First World War. The 1920’s saw the creation of numerous racing circuits, including AVUS in Berlin (1920) and Monza (1922) with their steeply banking curves, Spa-Franchorchamps (1924), Reims (1925) and the notorious Nürburgring (1927). The start also changed, with interval starts which had been usual up until then being replaced with a simultaneous start for all participating cars. Bugatti and Alfa were among the most successful vehicles of this era. In the USA, it was the heyday of the “rockets on wheels”, with speed records of up to 372 km/h.
A single marque world championship was held for the first time from 1925 to 1927. Championships included the Indy 500, the European Grand Prix, the ACF Grand Prix and the Italian Grand Prix. The first single marque World Champion was Alfa Romeo, with Bugatti in 1926 and Delage in 1927.