Back at the dawn of the automobile, Paris was the centre of the world of the car, with a large number of competing automobile companies fighting to win the fast-developing market with new technologies. Many of them used motor racing to showcase their products and develop technology. This is reflected in the winners in the early days of the sport with French companies such as Panhard & Levassor, Mors, De Dion Bouton, Clement-Bayard, Richard-Brasier, Renault and Peugeot lading the way, to be followed by Bugatti, Delage, Darracq, Chenard & Walcker, Ballot, Salmson, Voisin, Hispano-Suiza and many others. They were based in small workshops to the west of Paris, in a cluster around the suburbs of Levallois and Suresnes. It is apt therefore that more than 100 years later a new generation of racing car is getting its first public exposure in the same district.
The Conseil Municipal of Levallois has just given the go-ahead for the Mobygreen company to run a GP Elec – a race for electric cars – on the streets of the district, which is very different today than in the old days, thanks mainly to wartime bombing which was aimed at the nearby railway lines leaving Paris.
The race is scheduled for June 4-6 with the plan being to have a 1.8-mile street circuit running along the quays alongside the Seine and around the local streets. The mayor Patrick Balkany is a big supporter of the event which will use cars built by Porsche, Tesla and others, driven – it is said by professional racing drivers. The event will be free to the public and will be accompanied by an exhibition outlining the latest technologies and other community events, including an electric kart track with a sponsors village on the Ile de la Jatte in the middle of the river.
I think I may go…