The story behind the legendary Gordon Bennett Cup

Michelin will be celebrating the 110th anniversary of the Gordon Bennett Cup held in Clermont-Ferrand (France) from June 5 to 7, 2015. To mark the occasion, 50 cars built before 1919 will be making the journey to Clermont Ferrand, France to follow the route of the famous race on June 6. First created in 1900 to promote the nascent automobile industry, this legendary international race co-organized by Michelin is a testimonial to the enduring success of MICHELIN tires.

Gordon Bennett

The Gordon Bennett Cup, a race that went down in history

In1905, it was France’s turn to organize the 6th Gordon Bennett Cup following its victory in Germany the previous year. The race takes its name from James Gordon Bennett junior, the multimillionaire owner of the New York Herald. Clermont Ferrand was chosen to host the race consisting of four laps of a 137 km course created by the Michelin brothers - 548 kilometers in all. Six nations each entered 3 cars. There was some controversy surrounding the winner but, in the end, the Cup went to French driver Léon Théry driving a Brasier.

In addition to the traditional smooth tires, Michelin offered antiskid tires which were simply marvelous. I saw that these tires were undaunted by even the sharpest braking which would have reduced to shreds more makeshift assemblies of fabric, rubber and steel rivets.  The Michelin Man’s latest creation is most praiseworthy.

Maurice Chérié, reporting on the race for France Automobile, July 5, 1905

Find out the special exhibition on the subject at l'Aventure Michelin until August 31st, 2015.

The first race in figures

Fun facts!