The Vanderbilt Cup was the first major trophy in American auto racing.
- History 1
- Race winners 2
- Revival trophy 3
- References 4
- External links 5
An international event, it was founded by William Kissam Vanderbilt II in 1904 and first held on October 8 on a course set out in Nassau County on Long Island, New York. The announcement that the race was to be held caused considerable controversy in New York, bringing a flood of legal actions in an attempt to stop the race. The politicians soon jumped in, holding public hearings on the issue. Vanderbilt prevailed and the inaugural race was run over a 30.24 miles (48.7 km) course of winding dirt roads through the Nassau County area.
Vanderbilt put up a large cash prize hoping to encourage American manufacturers to get into racing, a sport already well organized in Europe that was yielding many factory improvements to motor vehicle technology. The race drew the top drivers and their vehicles from across the Panhard and another French vehicle, a Darracq, took the Cup the next two years straight. Crowd control was a problem from the start and after a spectator, Curt Gruner, was killed in 1906, the race was cancelled. Meanwhile, in France, the first Grand Prix motor racing event had been run on June 26, 1906, under the auspices of the Automobile Club de France in Sarthe. One of the competitors was American Elliot Shepard, the son of Margaret Vanderbilt-Shepard and a cousin of William Kissam Vanderbilt.
Learning from his cousin about the success of the
- Vanderbilt Cup Race Series - EMRA - EASTERN MOTOR RACING ASSOCIATION - Owners of the "Vanderbilt Cup" service mark
- Vanderbilt Cup Races
- 22 October 1904;The Vanderbilt International. Cup Contest
- Locomobile Company of America
- "Ralph Mulford In Lozier Wins Vanderbilt Trophy".
- Cavin, Curt (31 March 2008). "IRL: More changes on the horizon".
has been used since the 2011 season. Astor Cup However, the  With the bankruptcy of Champ Car and purchase of the assets by the IRL,
|CART/Champ Car Season Championship|
|2000||Gil de Ferran||Reynard-Honda||report|
|2001||Gil de Ferran||Reynard-Honda||report|
|2002||Cristiano da Matta||Lola-Toyota||report|
The Vanderbilt Cup name disappeared for another 36 years until 1996. In recognition of William Kissam Vanderbilt's place in automotive racing history, a copy of the original cup was created as the trophy for the CART U.S. 500 race. In 2000, CART designated the Vanderbilt Cup as its series championship trophy. Names of U.S. 500 winners from 1996–99 and the CART series winners since 2000, are etched into the new Cup.
- ^A The 1966 event was billed as the "Bridgehampton 200".
The original Cup was cast of sterling silver and measures 2.5 feet (0.76 m) in height. It bears the image of William K. Vanderbilt II driving his record-setting Mercedes at Ormond Beach in 1904. The trophy today is stored at the Smithsonian Institution and is not available to be seen by the public.
The Vanderbilt Cup would not return to the United States motor racing scene for more than twenty years. In 1960, sponsored by Cornelius Vanderbilt IV, it was run as a Formula Junior event and held again at Roosevelt Raceway. In 1965, 1967, and 1968, the Bridgehampton Sports Car Races were billed as the Vanderbilt Cup.
The Vanderbilt Cup was not held again until 1936 when William Kissam Vanderbilt II's nephew, Roosevelt Raceway. Once again, the Europeans were enticed by the substantial prize money and Scuderia Ferrari entered three Alfa Romeo racers. A lack of American competition and a less-than-exciting course layout saw the race run for only two years, both won by Europeans.
The Vanderbilt Cup was held successfully on Long Island until 1911 when it was showcased at American Grand Prize. The next year it moved to a racecourse in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, then for three years in California: Santa Monica in 1914 and 1916, San Francisco in 1915. The race was canceled after the United States joined the Allies in World War I in 1917. Some of the drivers who participated in the Vanderbilt Cup became famous names, synonymous with automobiles and racing such as Louis Chevrolet, Vincenzo Lancia and Ralph DePalma.