An article about very early motorsport, the first large motor race to be called a Grand Prix. On a dusty road outside Le Mans, drivers in huge, rickety cars fought, driving off planks roads, being blinded by tar. It was a miracle no one died. AlexJ has agreed to co-nom; the text is mostly mine, but the images, the video, the map, and a helpful review are his work. Thanks to Finetooth for his peer review and Malleus Fatuorum for his copyedit. Apterygial 22:59, 4 March 2011 (UTC)
File:1906_French_Grand_Prix_Szisz.jpg - how do we know that the other car is Shepard?
From this page at the LAT archive. I'll add Shepard into the image's description page. Apterygial 03:25, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
File:Shepard_Calais_1906_FrenchGP.ogv - can you provide more information about the source? Nikkimaria (talk) 02:57, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Sure, the clip is taken from a VHS copy of "Shell History of Motor Racing, Volume 1: The Heroic Days 1902-1914", now out of print I believe. Given that the cinematographs of the time wouldn't have recorded sound, the soundtrack on the film is likely to be later and not authentic, so I've stripped these from the clip before uploading it. What's left should only be original 1906 material. AlexJ (talk) 17:42, 5 March 2011 (UTC)
Sources review: Sources look reliable and formats are OK. Very limited spotchecking revealed no problems. Brianboulton (talk) 00:09, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Support. An excellent article which is fully deserving of FA status.--Midgrid(talk) 12:56, 9 March 2011 (UTC)
Support. Great artice on otherwise quite poorly covered subject of early racing. --Sporti (talk) 13:24, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Oppose - an interesting article, covering a niche topic, but some way to go.
"was a motor race held on June 26 and 27, 1906," seems a little odd to have a motor race that was held on two days, it wasn't the Le Mans 24 hours....
Can't do anything about the fact it was held over two days! This was 1906, and the very first Grand Prix. It was some time before it evolved into the hour and a half Sunday afternoon event that occurs today. AlexJ (talk) 21:51, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Agreed, but it wasn't therefore "a motor race" if it was more than one race, and held over multiple days... The Rambling Man (talk) 22:07, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
I disagree - there wasn't two races, else we'd have two winners etc. To quote The (London) Times newspaper at the time "The race for the Grand Prix of the French Automobile Club will be run to-morrow and on Wednesday" . Similar is the Sydney Times  which says "The race for the Grand Prix, the great international motor contest promoted by the Automobile Club of France, took place over the Sarthe circuit on the 26th and 27th of June." Both refer to a race held over two days, rather than races. AlexJ (talk) 23:15, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
"lapped six times on each of the two days " why not just "on both days"?"spent half an hour
Presumably you use FIAT instead of Fiat because that's how it was referred to in 1906?
Indeed, FIAT was still an acronym (Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino) in 1906. Pretty much all period sources I've come across refer to it as FIAT rather than Fiat. AlexJ (talk) 21:51, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Not convinced at all that you should be linking tyre or puncture.
Distance (in infobox) could probably use a "over two days" caveat.
The infobox doesn't have a parameter that would enable me to do this. It does say above that it was held over two days (the date), and I don't believe the number of days are "distance". Apterygial 23:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Can I just ask you to check that the flags in the infobox meet WP:MOSFLAG?
MOSFLAG states that as a rule of thumb, flags shouldn't be used in infoboxes. The way I read that, it isn't a requirement, but there needs to be a good reason to go against it. Consensus on motor races is currently that we shouldn't follow the guideline due to the strong emphasis on the nationality of competitors in the sport, as representatives of their country. Even today, the top three drivers stand beneath their national flags whilst their national anthem is played out at the end of a race. Compare this to the examples given at MOSFLAG, where the nationality of an actor or a company has relatively little relevance in comparison to other details, and may not be clearly defined in any case. Removing the flags in the infobox would require a change of consensus, which implicitly would require a compelling reason to not have the flag. AlexJ (talk) 23:31, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
" Instead, it put them on a level footing" I think it's fair to say the level footing was simply numerical here.
"numerical level footing". Apterygial 23:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
"three cars each" - "cars" is a little odd for me here, maybe "three vehicles" or something?
They were cars. "Vehicles" seems awkward to me. Apterygial 23:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
"organised" vs "organized" - please keep ENGVAR consistent throughout.
"The British were perhaps suspicious that the .." rephrase, so you focus more on the source saying this was the case.
I've knocked out "perhaps". The source says "as if to confirm worst suspicions of French motives and lack of sportsmanship." Apterygial 23:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Don't think "engine" needs linking either, or tyre (again).
Unlinked. The last time I took an article to FAC, I was requested to link all of these things, so I've tried to remain consistent. Apterygial 23:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
"As carrying each rim added 9 kilograms (20 lb) onto the weight of the car " - not "onto", just "to", and avoid "car".
Changed to "to". I've kept "car", every source uses this, and it's hardly informal. Apterygial 23:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Too many links for tar, and no need to link goggles.
Tar is now linked at the first occurance only, goggles is now unlinked (avoid linking plain English words) AlexJ (talk) 21:57, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
" in 43.4 seconds. But over the full distance of the lap Brasier's Baras was the quickest; his lap time of 52:25.4" perhaps not clear to non-experts that the second time is 52 minutes, 25 seconds, 4/10s.
It now reads "52 minutes and 25.4 seconds (52:25.4)". This should help subsequent mentions (I've done the same with Szisz's first day time below). Apterygial 23:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
I don't like succession boxes, but that's just me, especially when they add nothing to this article beyond what's already discussed.
They're used throughout Grand Prix race articles, including several FAs. They're tucked away at the bottom, so they don't really affect the flow of the article. I find them useful, so I guess this one comes down to personal preference. AlexJ (talk) 21:51, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
Should have addressed each of your points. Apterygial 23:40, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
SupportComments, leaning support: A really good piece of work. Very thorough and prose looks good. Just a few questions, but looks good otherwise.
"The Grand Prix was organised by the Automobile Club de France (ACF) at the prompting of the French automobile industry as an alternative to the Gordon Bennett races, which limited each competing country's entries regardless of the size of its industry. As France had the largest automobile industry in Europe at the time, the Grand Prix was held without limits to entry to better reflect French dominance in the sport." Hmmm... Not sure about the phrasing here and I think the events need connecting better. I'm assuming this means limit the number of entries for each country. Could this be rephrased to something like "the automobile industry, the largest in Europe, wanted the number of entries to better reflect French dominance of motor racing. Consequently, the Grand Prix had no limits to the number of entries."
Will look into a rewording of this, but it's worth pointing out that France didn't have a dominance of motor racing prior to this (prior to the 1905 Gordon Bennett, they'd won 3 out of 5 - superior but not dominant, and only 1 of the last 3). They felt the three car per country ruling was the reason they weren't dominant, as it didn't give all their manufactures a chance to compete and there was a good chance that a problem could strike their three cars. AlexJ (talk) 21:39, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Is this any clearer:"The Grand Prix was organised by the Automobile Club de France (ACF) at the prompting of the French automobile industry as an alternative to the Gordon Bennett races, which limited each competing country's number of entries regardless of the size of its industry. France had the largest automobile industry in Europe at the time, and in an attempt to better reflect this in the sport the Grand Prix had no limits to the number of entries by a particular country."? Removes any possible POV stuff about dominance etc. AlexJ (talk) 22:25, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Yes, sounds good. The only tweaks I might make would be to remove "in the sport" as this is unnecessary, and have "no limit" rather than "limits". --Sarastro1 (talk) 22:29, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Changed. I used "any particular country" rather than "a particular country", however. Apterygial 01:47, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
First paragraph of background: the word "formula" is used twice. It is a sufficiently unusual word (and made me think of formula 1) to stand out, so I wouldn't use it twice.
Funny that it made you think of Formula 1, because the meaning in it's first occurrence in the article is where F1 got it's name from - racing to a formula of rules and regulations. The second one I'd agree is a bit repetitive, so I've reworded it for clarity. AlexJ (talk) 21:27, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
The original proposal was to run this model of race alongside the Gordon Bennett one, but this is not mentioned. Any reason why this was dropped?
I can't cite this, but I think the French were just fed up with dealing the 'democratic' way the Gordon Bennett races ran; they wanted complete control over the race. Apterygial 01:47, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
If the ACF simply abandoned the GB race in 1906, which the other countries would presumably have objected to, why did this not happen in 1905? What happened to all the opposition?
My speculation is; France got fed up and decided to go it alone anyway. Britain and the US continued to object which is why they didn't enter any cars (the article covers the British view that the event was French propaganda) whilst Germany and Italy decided to give in and take part in the event. I'd have to look for sources which confirm that thought. AlexJ (talk) 21:49, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Although, having said that, it looks like the GB might have been ended as an event for racing cars before the 1906 GP ever took place by Gordon Bennett himself. Guess that would explain why Germany and Italy took part in the GP. AlexJ (talk) 22:04, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
That would have been because he saw the writing on the wall; the French were powerful enough that if they wanted to end it he had no power to stop them. I suppose a French boycott would have made the GB races quite hollow. Apterygial 01:47, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
"Cars assigned the letter "C", the last away, formed a single line at the side of the track, allowing any cars completing the circuit before the "C" group set off to pass." I'm afraid I don't understand this. Does it mean that by the time these cars set off, some cars would already have completed their first lap, so the C cars were kept to the side to allow the other cars to "lap" them?
Doing some maths, there were 34 cars scheduled to start the race to be set off at 90 second intervals meaning it would take just over 50 minutes between the first car leaving and the last one. In the event, the fastest lap turned out to also be just over 50 minutes, so I guess (and I stress I'm guessing here) they'd worked out before hand that it would be a close run thing, and so put this system in place, just in case the leaders came around before the last cars had started, to "lap" them (because the event was run to time rather than track position (like a modern day WRC rally event), it wouldn't have mattered if they were lapped). AlexJ (talk) 21:27, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
That's what I thought. I think this sentence just needs clarifying a touch. Could it be rephrased to "Cars assigned the letter "C" were the last away; they formed a single line at the side of the track so that any cars which had completed their first circuit of the track would be able to pass." [or "not be impeded"?] Or something like that. --Sarastro1 (talk) 21:40, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Is it worth adding something about the Gordon Bennett races; I notice they ceased in 1905, but this is not mentioned in the article. If this new race led to their cancellation, I think something could be added.
We've currently got "(when) the responsibility for organising the 1906 race fell once more to the ACF, the French completely abandoned the Gordon Bennett races" - does that cover it? AlexJ (talk) 21:32, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Not quite. When I first read it, I assumed that someone else would have carried on afterwards and that it was only the French who abandoned it. Could it be made explicit that these new-fangled Grands Prix replaced them? --Sarastro1 (talk) 21:40, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
Changed to "But when Théry and Richard-Brasier won again in 1905, and the responsibility for organising the 1906 race fell once more to the ACF, the French ended the Gordon Bennett races and organised their own event as a replacement, the Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France." Apterygial 01:47, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
The only other thing I wondered would be something hinted at in the final section. How did this compare to the Gordon Bennett race, especially if it was such a poor substitute? How did they start, etc. Maybe just a word or two for comparison purposes and to set this in context. The impression I get is that the other race was more toe-to-toe than this one, and this may be worth making explicit. If it is possible to do this, of course! --Sarastro1 (talk) 16:10, 12 March 2011 (UTC)
I added an explanatory note about this (I think it would be distracting from the flow if it was in the text). Looks like the GB races sent off cars at even longer intervals. I believe we have addressed all of your concerns, and thanks for taking the time to review! Apterygial 01:47, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for addressing or clearing up my points. I'm happy to switch to support now. --Sarastro1 (talk) 09:29, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Background: Personally, I'm starting to get annoyed at seeing sentences start with "But". At least in the type of English I've been taught, this isn't a great way to begin a sentence.
I'm not sure how best to break this to you, but your teacher was wrong. You might like to consider consulting authoritative sources on the matter. Here's what Fowler has to say for instance: "That it is a solecism to begin a sentence with and [or but] is a faintly lingering SUPERSTITION. The OED gives examples ranging from the 10th to the 19th c.; the Bible is full of them." MalleusFatuorum 03:52, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Race: Another "But" starts a sentence in the section's second paragraph. Even putting aside my views on the word, I don't think this is adding anything to the sentence; having it start with "Over" would be fine.
"Nazarro passed again, and led into the last lap of the race by less than a minute." This is for second, correct? That is a little confusing if the context isn't understood. Would it be possible to phrase the sentence "and led Clement" or some other way to avoid this?
Post-race and legacy: "Despite this, the ACF decided the run the Grand Prix again the following year." Second "the" should be "to" instead.
For consistency, there should be a space before the page number in reference 21.Giants2008 (27 and counting) 03:43, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Hi Giants. I've dealt with each of your points except the first; I'll defer to Malleus on that one. Apterygial 05:19, 13 March 2011 (UTC)
Support I'm struggling to find nits to pick to show I've read it! Anything on the top speeds achieved? Shouldn't AIACR be spelt out at first occurence, with the acronym given after? Or at least that's what I was always taught... Other than those vanishingly minor points, a well-polished and comprehensive article on a notable sporting event. For the reassurance of other reviewers, I've checked the Rendall (1993) (only one I've got) references and they all tie up. Well done. 4u1e (talk) 00:39, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for the support. The last paragraph of Race mentions that Szisz set the fastest time on the straight, 154 kilometres per hour (96 mph)—which would feel very quick in those cars on those roads. As for the acronym, "Association Internationale des Automobile Clubs Reconnus" is quite long and would be awkward in the main part of the sentence, and the body is generally known by the acronym. However, I'm happy to change it if it's an issue. Apterygial 01:48, 14 March 2011 (UTC)
No trouble. Many readers would be surprised by the speed, so it might be worth mentioning. AIACR is already spelled out immediately after its only use, so I don't think you can argue it is any more awkward to put it the other (correct ;)) way round. But this is a very minor point. 4u1e (talk) 00:31, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Done. As I say, Szisz's speed is already in the article. Apterygial 08:59, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Oops - sorry, missed that (despite you pointing it out!) 4u1e (talk) 09:36, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Hey, no worries. Apterygial 12:27, 16 March 2011 (UTC)
Support. I peer-reviewed this excellent article about a month ago and thought it quite good. The recent changes in response to the comments above have only made it better. Finetooth (talk) 22:58, 15 March 2011 (UTC)
Support. This is a nice article that meets all of the FA criteria in my opinion. MalleusFatuorum 01:47, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
The lead of the article clearly says:
The 1906 Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France, commonly known as the 1906 French Grand Prix, ...
I fixed it myself; will the nominator please make sure to add the correct tags to the redirect (foreign language redirect, or some such thing, that isn't print worthy). SandyGeorgia (Talk) 20:39, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Thanks for that. But I'm sorry, I don't quite understand what you mean by "tag the redirect". Apterygial 23:20, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
Sorry, got it now. Apterygial 23:30, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
I'll take this opportunity to thank everyone who commented on this page; as Finetooth said it served only to make the article better. Apterygial 23:30, 19 March 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this page.