|Venue||Road from Paris to Rouen|
|Corporate sponsor|| Le Petit Journal |
|First race||22 July 1894 (unique race)|
|Distance||126 kilometres (78 mi)|
Paris–Rouen, Le Petit Journal Horseless Carriages Contest (Concours du 'Petit Journal' Les Voitures sans Chevaux), was a pioneering city-to-city motoring competition in 1894 which is sometimes described as the world's first competitive motor race.
The contest was organised by the newspaper Le Petit Journal and run from Paris to Rouen in France on 22 July 1894. It was preceded by four days of vehicle exhibition and qualifying events that created great crowds and excitement. The eight 50 km (31 mi) qualifying events started near the Bois de Boulogne and comprised interwoven routes around Paris to select the entrants for the main 126 km (78 mi) event.
The first driver across the finishing line at Rouen was " le Comte de Dion" but he did not win the main prize because his steam vehicle needed a stoker and was thus ineligible. The fastest petrol powered car was a 3 hp (2.2 kW; 3.0 PS) Peugeot driven by Albert Lemaître. The premier prize, the 5,000 franc Prix du Petit Journal, for 'the competitor whose car comes closest to the ideal' was shared equally by manufacturers Panhard et Levassor and Les fils de Peugeot frères ("The sons of Peugeot brothers"), with vehicles that were 'easy to use'.
In 1894, Pierre Giffard, editor of Le Petit Journal , organised the world's first motoring competition from Paris to Rouen to publicise his newspaper, to stimulate interest in motoring and to develop French motor manufacturing. Sporting events were a tried and tested form of publicity stunt and circulation booster. The paper promoted it as "Le Petit Journal Competition for Horseless Carriages" (Le Petit Journal Concours des Voitures sans Chevaux) that were "not dangerous, easy to drive, and cheap during the journey", the main prize being for "the competitor whose car comes closest to the ideal". The "easy to drive" clause effectively precluded from the prizes (but not the event) any vehicles needing a travelling mechanic or technical assistant such as a stoker. (i.e. steam powered.)
Le Petit Journal announced prize money totalling 10,000 gold francs – 5,000 for first place, 2,000 for second, 1,500 for third; 1,000 for fourth, and 500 for fifth. The main prize was for the first eligible vehicle across the finish line in Rouen.
102 people paid the ten franc entrance fee. They ranged from practical manufacturers like Peugeot, Panhard, de Dion-Bouton, and Serpollet to amateur owners and 'over-ambitious concepts'. 78 entrants did not show up for qualifying on 18 July, these included some 25 powered by unfamiliar and improbable technologies such as "gravity" – nine; "compressed air" – five; "automatic" – three; electricity – three; gas – three; hydraulics – two; liquid, pedals, propellers, and levers. Additionally, 19 petrol-powered designs and 26 steam-powered cars, quadricycles, and tricycles did not show up at the qualifying event.
Qualifying was held from 19–21 July 1894, and was preceded by a public exhibition of 26 cars to Neuilly-sur-Seine on 18 July. Journalists reported great crowds and excitement throughout the routes, and at Précy-sur-Oise they finished through a triumphal arch. On 19 July, 26 cars lined the side of the Boulevard Maillot, stretching to the Bois de Boulogne, each parked 10 m (33 ft) apart until, at 8:00 am, the first car led off, followed at 15-second intervals by the others. The 50 km (31 mi) qualifying event had to be completed in under three hours to be eligible to start the main event, the 126 km (78 mi) race from Paris to Rouen; 21 were selected for the main event.
Qualifying was used as a major publicity tool for both the event and the newspaper: "for our readers who want to see the cars on the roads around Paris". The 22 vehicles were split into five groups who completed complex interwoven tours of Paris and its environs, including Mantes-la-Jolie, Château de Saint-Germain-en-Laye, Flins-sur-Seine, Poissy, Triel-sur-Seine, Rambouillet, Versailles, Dampierre-en-Yvelines, Corbeil-Essonnes, Palaiseau, Précy-sur-Oise, Gennevilliers and L'Isle-Adam, Val-d'Oise. The groups were carefully balanced to ensure each included petrol and steam, a Peugeot, a Panhard & Levassor, and different seating. Le Petit Journal, on the morning of the event, still officially expected Lemoigne and his gravity-powered vehicle to participate, although he was included as an additional member of group five.
The groups that set off from Porte Maillot on Thursday 19 July were:
On Friday 20 July a second qualifying event was run over two routes.
On Saturday 21 July a third qualifying event was run from Paris to Poissy.
At 8:00 am on Sunday 22 July, twenty-one qualifiers started from Porte Maillot and went via the Bois de Boulogne, Neuilly-sur-Seine, Courbevoie, Nanterre, Chatou, Le Pecq, Poissy, Triel-sur-Seine, Vaux-sur-Seine, and Meulan, to Mantes where they stopped for lunch from 12:00 pm until 1:30 pm, whence they set off to Vernon, Eure, Gaillon, Pont-de-l'Arche, and 'Champ de Mars' at Rouen.
Count de Dion was the first to arrive in Rouen after 6 hours 48 minutes at an average speed of 19 km/h (12 mph). He finished 3 min 30 sec ahead of Albert Lemaître (Peugeot), Auguste Doriot (Peugeot) (16 min 30 sec back), Hippolyte Panhard (Panhard) (33 min 30 sec) and Émile Levassor (Panhard) (55 min 30 sec). The winner's average speed was 17 km/h (11 mph).
On Tuesday 24 July Le Petit Journal announced the prizes :
|Number||Driver / entrant||Make||Power||People||Time |
circa 50 km
circa 80 km
|1||4||Jules-Albert, Count de Dion, Bouton||De Dion-Bouton||Steam||4||6 h 48 m 00 s or |
5 h 40 m
|2||2 h 38 m||4 h 10 m|
|2||65||Albert Lemaître – 'Les fils de Peugeot Frères'||Peugeot||Petrol|
|4||6 h 51 m 30 s or |
5 h 45 m
|1||2 h 36 m||4 h 15 m|
|3||28||Auguste Doriot – 'Les fils de Peugeot Frères'||Peugeot||Petrol|
|4||7 h 04 m 30 s or |
5 h 50 m
|4||2 h 44 m||4 h 20 m|
|4||13||Hippolyte Panhard – Panhard et Levassor||Panhard et Levassor||Petrol|
|4||7 h 21 m 30 s or |
6 h 3 m
|5||2 h 48 m||4 h 33 m|
|5 or 7||15||Émile Levassor – Panhard et Levassor||Panhard et Levassor||Petrol|
|2||7 h 43 m 30 s or |
6 h 30 m
|3||2 h 43 m||5 h 0 m|
|6 or 5||31||Émile Kraeutler – 'Les fils de Peugeot Frères'||Peugeot||Petrol|
|4||7 h 46 m 30 s or |
6 h 7 m
|10||3 h 9 m||4 h 37 m|
|7 or 8||64||Émile Mayade||Panhard et Levassor||Petrol|
|4||8 h 09 m 00 s or |
6 h 49 m
|6||2 h 50 m||5 h 19 m|
|8 or 6||42||A. Le Brun||Le Brun||Petrol|
|4||8 h 12 m 00 s or |
6 h 24 m
|13||3 h 18 m||4 h 54 m|
|9 or 10||30||Gratien Michaux – 'Les fils de Peugeot Frères'||Peugeot||Petrol|
|3||8 h 25 m 00 s or |
7 h 2 m
|7||2 h 53 m||5 h 32 m|
|10 or 13||14||"Dubois" – Panhard et Levassor||Panhard et Levassor||Petrol|
|4||8 h 38 m 00 s or |
7 h 10 m
|8||2 h 58||5 h 40 m|
|11 or 12||27||Louis Rigoulot – 'Les fils de Peugeot Frères'||Peugeot Type 5||Petrol|
|2||8 h 41 m 00 s or |
7 h 5 m
|12||3 h 16 m||5 h 35 m|
|12 or 11||24||Alfred Vacheron||Vacheron / Panhard||Petrol|
|2||8 h 42 m 30 s or |
7 h 3 m
|11||3 h 9 m||5 h 33 m|
|13 or 9||53||"De Bourmont"||de Bourmont||Steam||4||8 h 51 m 00 s or |
7 h 1 m
|15||3 h 21 m||5 h 31 m|
|10 h 01 m 00 s or |
8 h 9 m
|16||3 h 22 m||6 h 39 m|
|15||60||Maurice Le Blant||Serpollet||Steam||8||10 h 43 m 00 s or |
8 h 50 m
|17||3 h 23 m||7 h 20 m|
|16||7||Pierre Gautier||Gautier–Wehrlé||Steam||4||12 h 24 m 30 s||19||4 h 17 m||8 h 7 m|
|17||18||Ernest Archdeacon||Serpollet||Steam||6||13 h 00 m 00 s||14||3 h 20 m||9 h 40 m|
|Stopped||44||"De Prandiéres"||Serpollet||Steam||4|| Nanterre |
– broken wheel
|Stopped||19||Étienne le Blant||Serpollet||Steam||10||Motor||20||4 h 39 m||retired|
|Stopped||10||"J. Scotte"||Scotte||Steam||8||Motor||9||3 h 8 m||retired|
|Stopped||61||Roger de Montais||De Montais||Steam||2||Motor||18||4 h 0 m||retired|
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|No show||2||Edouard Pellorce||Neuilly-sur-Seine||petrol|
|Did not qualify||3||De Dion-Bouton et C°||Puteaux||4||steam|
|Started||4||De Dion-Bouton et C°||Puteaux||6||steam|
|No show||5||Le Maitre||Paris||4||steam|
|No show||9||Victor Popp||Paris||4||air compressor|
|No show||11||Klaus Th||Lyon||4||petrol|
|Did not qualify||12||Tenting||Paris||4||petrol|
|Started||13||Panhard & Levassor||Paris||4||petrol|
|Started||14||Panhard & Levassor||Paris||4||petrol|
|Started||15||Panhard & Levassor||Paris||4||petrol|
|No show||17||Rodier, Roche et Sabatier||Bagnols-sur-Cèze||petrol|
|Started||18|| Archdeacon M E |
|No show||20||Paraire G||Château-Thierry||steam|
|No show||21||Letar Alexandre||Paris||4||steam|
|No show||22||Gaillardet||Petit Gennevilliers||4||steam|
|Started||27||Peugeot Fils et frères||Valentigney||4||petrol|
|Started||28||Peugeot Fils et frères||Valentigney||4||petrol|
|Did not qualify||29||Peugeot Fils et frères||Valentigney||4||petrol|
|Started||30||Peugeot Fils et frères||Valentigney||4||petrol|
|Started||31||Peugeot Fils et frères||Valentigney||4||petrol|
|No show||32||Darras L||Bruay||tricycle||steam|
|No show||33||Geoffroy M P||steam|
|No show||34||Geoffroy M P||steam|
|No show||35||Geoffroy M P||steam|
|No show||36||Gillot Jules||Maubeuge||4||petrol|
|No show||37||Loubiere Albert||La Ferté-sous-Jouarre||6||gravity|
|No show||38||Duchemin A||Paris||4|
|No show||40||Lemoigne Louis||Fougères||4||gravity|
|Started||42||Le Brun A||Rouen||4||petrol|
|No show||43||Spanoghe||Antwerp, Belgium||6||steam|
|Started||44||de Prandieres M||Lyon||6||Serpollet steam|
|No show||46||Matin-Cudrez F||Paris||2||steam|
|No show||47||Barthelemy Cesar||Yèbles||3||gravity|
|No show||48||Leblanc||Ay, Marne||6||steam|
|No show||49||Valentin J M||Bruyères||3||gravity|
|No show||52|| Société Parisienne de |
|Started||53||de Bourmont M||Arcachon||4||petrol|
|No show||54||Froger Elie||Feneu||4||petrol|
|No show||55||De Dion-Bouton et C°||Puteaux||4||petrol|
|No show||56||Lebrun M||Roches-Bettaincourt||4||automatic|
|No show||57||Seunier M||4||petrol|
|No show||58||Barbier et Marcillet||Paris||3||steam|
|Started||60||Le Blant Maurice||Paris||9||steam|
|Started||61||de Montais Roger||Beauvroit||2||petrol|
|No show||63||Tissandier et Lacombe||Agen||petrol|
|Started||64||Panhard & Levassor||Paris||petrol|
|Started||65||Peugeot Fils et frères||Valentigney||4||petrol|
|No show||66||Museur L et Cordonnier E||Masnières||4||steam|
|No show||68||Garnier E et Delannoy G||Beauvois||4||combination|
|No show||69||de Malapert et Barriere||Paris||4||liquid|
|No show||70||Fays – Poisson||Gigny||6||gravity|
|No show||71||Klaus Th||Lyon||2 tricycle||petrol|
|No show||72||Tamarelle – Capeyron||Bergerac||5||steam|
|No show||74||Mayer Raoul||Chevanceaux||2 quadracycle||steam|
|No show||75||Dessaux Charles||Paris||2 tricycle||gravity|
|No show||76||Tirant Georges||Baissy||steam|
|No show||78||Berthaud||Lyon||8||air compressor|
|No show||79||Baudet A||Paris||4||steam|
|No show||81||Becherel||Paris||2 tricycle||steam|
|No show||84||Plantard||Paris||4||air compressor|
|No show||86||Garrard |
Garrard & Blumfield
| Birmingham |
|No show||87||Landry & Beyroux G||4||petrol|
|No show||91||Carli le comte||Italy||2||electric|
|No show||92||de Farcy||Angers||2||petrol|
|No show||94||Morelleras H||Angoulême||gravity|
|No show||95||Roze – Andrillon||Marseille||4||air compressor|
|No show||97||Deutsch M||Germany||2||petrol (Benz Car)|
|No show||98||Deutsch M||Germany||2||petrol (Benz Car)|
|No show||100||Bellanger||Le Mans||4||system|
|No show||101||Mary Jean||Paris||4||gas|
|No show||102||Barriquand M||4||hydraulic|
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