Emilio J. Lezcano
Journalist - Editor - Photographer Professional Race Car Driver
When Jaguar North America was approached by the Historic Race Circuits of Elkhart Lake to sponsor a dedication reception honoring legendary racecar drivers Phil Hill and John Fitch, we jumped at the opportunity. After all, it’s not everyday you get the chance to see Phil Hill and John Fitch back in their original racecars, the Jaguar XKC007 and Cunningham C2R respectively. The ceremony kicked off on Thursday, July 13th with a car parade lap of the original 1950-52 Elkhart Lake Road circuit and ended with a cocktail reception in downtown Elkhart Lake. The 2007 Jaguar XK was the pace car for the Tour of the Circuits with the #63 Jaguar racing E-Type. Respected automotive journalist and Jaguar guest driver Emilio Lezcano drove the 1963 #63 Jaguar E-Type on and off the track throughout the weekend.
On the racetrack, Emilio performed brilliantly considering it was his first time at Road America. Every time he went on the track, whether it was during practice or qualifying, he improved his time significantly. He finished the feature race in position 22 overall and position 10 in class. Jaguar North America also sponsored a course marker, the 1950-52 Start/Finish. Located roadside, these signs designate the original Road America circuit as a National and State historic site. All proceeds went to the Historic Race Circuits of Elkhart Lake. Media in attendance included Road & Track, Victory Lane Magazine, Vintage Motorsports Magazine and many other motorsports publications. Kohler International Challenge with Brian Redman. Road America, Elkhart Lake, WI July 13-16, 2006
On July 22nd, 1894 twenty one assorted vehicles rumbled out of Paris on their way to Rouen. A year later a race was held from Paris to Bordeaux and back to Paris. The winner was Emile Levassor with his Panhard et Levasor who covered the 1,200 kilometers in 48 hours.
The first motor competition had begun.
Rudolf Caracciola. B January 30, 1901 at Remagen, Germany.
D September 28, 1959.
Caracciola born in Remagen, Germany to a Hotelier Italian family, was a champion racer in Europe in the Grand Prix motor racing era.
Nicknamed “The Ringmeister” for his success in rainy conditions especially at Nurburgring. Caracciola’s legend grew from his very first race, the 1926 German Grand Prix (Grosser Preis Von Deutschland) at the Avus circuit, in Berlin. Caracciola, at the time a 25 year-old weekend racer and salesman for Daimler-Benz, won the event in a factory sports car he borrowed for the weekend. He made history in 1931 after becoming the first non-italian driver to win the famous Mille Miglia.
He went on to win the driving championship three times between 1934 y 1938 even in the light of devastating injuries and the death of his wife in an avalanche.
Caracciola (Mercedes-Benz) and fellow countryman Bernd Rosemeyer (Auto Union) battled for supremacy year after year during the “Silver Arrow” era of motor racing (1934-1938).
After spending World War II in exile in Lugano, Switzerland, Caracciola returned to the track in 1946. Tony Hulman invited Caracciola to compete in the 1946 Indy 500, for which Caracciola was schedule to drive a pre-war Mercedes Benz W165, but the car did not clear customs in Switzerland. Car owner Joel Thorne then invited Caracciola to compete in a Thorne Engineering car.
Caracciola crashed violently in the Speedway’s Turn 2 during practice after -it is believed- he was struck in the face by a bird. He suffered a concussion and skul fracture.
Hulman and his wife, the late Mary Fendrich Hulman, invited Caracciola and his wife, Alice, to be their guest in Terre Haute, Indiana, while Caracciola recuperated. Their friendships remained strong until Caracciola’s death of a bone disease in 1959.