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Grand Prix motor racing has its roots in organised automobile racing that began in France as far back as 1894.
Motor racing was started in France, as a direct result of the enthusiasm with which the French public embraced the motor car.
Manufacturers were enthusiastic due to the possibility of using motor racing as a shop window for their cars.
The first motoring contest took place on July 22, 1894 and was organised by a Paris newspaper, Le Petit Journal.
Some anglophone sources wrongly list a race called the Pau Grand Prix in 1901.
This may stem from a mistranslation of the contemporary French sources such as the magazine La France Auto of March 1901.
The name of the 1901 event was the Circuit du Sud-Ouest and it was run in three classes around the streets of Pau.
The Grand Prix du Palais d’Hiver was the name of the prizes awarded for the lesser classes (‘Light cars’ and ‘Voiturettes’).
The Grand Prix de Pau was the name of the prize awarded for the ‘Heavy’ (fastest) class.
Thus Maurice Farman was awarded the ‘Grand Prix de Pau’ for his overall victory in the Circuit du Sud-Ouest driving a Panhard 24 hp.
The only race at the time to regularly carry the name Grand Prix was organised by the Automobile Club de France (ACF), of which the first took place in 1906.
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