July 7, 1908: Mercedes wins the French Grand Prix

  • Benz takes second and third place
  • The poor roads gave all teams a hard time
Mercedes in first, Benz in second and third place – the two German companies had the winners' rostrum all to themselves at the . It was little comfort to the French Grand Prix organizers that one domestic Bayard-Clément ended up fourth – the reason for organizing the Grand Prix had been to demonstrate the dominance of the French automobile industry. For Benz it was a Grand Prix premiere. It was particularly gratifying for Benz that it was the only brand to have all three entrants reach the finish line. For this it received the regularity prize.
The "Grand Prix" category was still young – just two years earlier, in 1906, France hosted the first race in the elite class of motor racing. Although other events with international participation also took place that year, the Grand Prix was regarded as the direct continuation of the Gordon Bennett Trophy races which had been held since the turn of the century. The racing formula determined the key features of the cars: curb weight including fuel, lubricants, cooling media at least 1100 kilograms, maximum cylinder bore 155 millimeters, weight of driver and co-driver together at least 120 kilograms – and only they were allowed to make repairs to the vehicle.
Benz & Cie. and Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft (DMG) were competing companies back then and did not merge until 1926. Racing was a proven method of demonstrating the quality and performance of the products. The maxim, "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday," applied much more then that it does today, because the automobile had not yet become a part of everyday life. Many customers were not committed to a single make, and countless manufacturers populated the market. Since the invention of the automobile by the two, independently of each other, in 1886, both Benz and Daimler had long since established themselves in the upper market segment – the products from Mannheim and Stuttgart had a reputation for extremely high quality and, engineeringwise, were regarded as absolute leaders. The two companies underscored this supremacy again and again in car races, against each other and against other makes.
 
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. The same models that contested the French Grand Prix 100 years ago retrace the race´s original route.
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. The same models that contested the French Grand Prix 100 years ago retrace the race´s original route.
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. The same models that contested the French Grand Prix 100 years ago retrace the race´s original route.
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. The same models that contested the French Grand Prix 100 years ago retrace the race´s original route.
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. 100 years ago the French Grand Prix was won by Mercedes, with Benz finishing second and third.
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. The same models that contested the French Grand Prix 100 years ago retrace the race´s original route.
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. The same models that contested the French Grand Prix 100 years ago retrace the race´s original route.
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. The same models that contested the French Grand Prix 100 years ago retrace the race´s original route.
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. The same models that contested the French Grand Prix 100 years ago retrace the race´s original route.
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    Dieppe revisited: 7 July, 1908 - 2008. 100 years ago the French Grand Prix was won by Mercedes, with Benz finishing second and third.
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