Dario Resta

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Dario Resta
Dario Resta at the 1914 French Grand Prix (4) (cropped).jpg
Nationality United Kingdom British, United States American
Born (1882-08-19)August 19, 1882
Livorno, Italy
Died September 2, 1924(1924-09-02) (aged 42)
Brooklands, Surrey, England
Years active 1907–1924
Championship titles

American Grand Prize
Vanderbilt Cup
Indianapolis 500
Vanderbilt Cup
AAA National Championship

Dario Resta (19 August 1882 – 2 September 1924), nicknamed "Dolly",[1] was an Italian Briton race car driver. He was the winner of the 1916 Indianapolis 500.[2]

Early years[edit]

Dario Resta was born in Livorno Italy [3] but was raised in England from the age of two. He began racing there starting in 1907. He took part in the Montagu Cup, the very first race of the now historic Brooklands track. He set a record of 95.7 mph (154.0 km/h) in a half-mile run a few years later. On October 2, 1913 Resta alternating with Jean Chassagne and K Lee Guinness in 2-hours spells set up a series of long distance World Records with a Sunbeam Grand Prix fitted with a Single-Seater body. After competing in Grand Prix motor racing in Europe, including the 1913 French Grand Prix, he went to the U.S.

Coming to America[edit]

In early 1915 he was brought to the United States by Alphonse Kaufman, an America importer of Peugeots, to drive Kaufman's Peugeot EX3. In February he won the United States Grand Prix at San Francisco followed by a victory in the Vanderbilt Cup. After leading during the final stages of that year's Indianapolis 500, he finished second to Ralph DePalma when his car skidded and he had to make a pitstop for tires. Resta then drove his blue Peugeot to victory in the inaugural 500-mile (800 km) race on the board track at the Chicago Speedway on 26 June 1915. The race received eighteen pages of coverage in the 1 July 1915, issue of Motor Age magazine.

The following year in 1916, en route to winning the United States National Driving Championship, Resta repeated as the winner of the Vanderbilt Cup plus he won the 1916 Indianapolis 500, the Chicago 300, the Minneapolis 150 and the Omaha 150 races.[2]

With World War I raging in Europe and the United States entering the war in 1918 races were reduced to a minimum. During 1918 Resta drove a Peugeot at a race in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, a minor event with only a handful of racing drivers. During this time Resta became an American citizen, dedicated his time to his business and moved his family to Bakersfield, California. [4] During his time in California, Resta created a small racing track at Buttonwillow, California; the track still exists and is used by racing fans to this day.[5]

Comeback years[edit]

In 1923 Resta returned to racing at 39 years of age. His first appearance was in Beverly Hills, California. Next, he made another attempt at Indianapolis, was but forced out of the race after 225 miles (362 km). Racing in Europe, Resta finished 3rd in the Penya Rhin Grand Prix, and won the voiturette class at the Spanish Grand Prix. He drove for Sunbeam in the 1924 season with teammates Henry Segrave and Kenelm Lee Guinness.


Dario Resta was killed in 1924 at the age of 42 when his racecar crashed at the Brooklands racecourse in England while trying for a new land speed record.[2] Resta was driving a Sunbeam when a belt on his car broke on the second lap which punctured his tire sending him out of control. He crashed through the fence and his car caught on fire.

This accident also hospitalized his riding-mechanic, Bill Perkins, causing him to miss the San Sebastian Grand Prix a few weeks later. Perkins was Sunbeam driver Guinness's regular mechanic and so was substituted by Tom Barrett. Guinness suffered a serious crash during this race, in which Barrett was killed. This crash led to the end of the practice of carrying riding-mechanics during races.

Indy 500 results[edit]

Resta (car #3) in the 1915 Indianapolis 500.


  1. ^ Land Speed Record memorial site
  2. ^ a b c "Dario Resta, Auto Race Driver Dies As Car Smashes". The Deseret News. International News Service. September 3, 1924. Retrieved 2012-10-02. Dario Resta appeared in many of the biggest automobile races in the United States and was recognized as one of the world's greatest drivers because of ... 
  3. ^ The Englishman from Livorno-Dario Resta

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ralph DePalma
Indianapolis 500 Winner
Succeeded by
Howdy Wilcox