Tripoli Grand Prix
The Tripoli Grand Prix in Libya was first held in 1925 and concluded in 1940 following the onset of World War II. Part of the Grand Prix circuit, the race was first held on a 71.10 kilometer road course in Tripoli until 1933 when a new track was built, bringing the best drivers in the world to compete for the £80,000 purse, a substantial amount at the time.
With Libya becoming a colony of Italy, the new circuit was opened at Mellaha Lake on May 7th, 1933 by the country's governor, Marshal Italo Balbo. The new track was a 8.165 mile long (13.140 kilometer) affair with 15 turns situated in a salt basin between Tripoli and Tajura. From 1933 to 1938 the race was held as a Formula Libre event, meaning no weight or engine restrictions were enforced on what was then the fastest track in the world. By 1939 the Italians had tired of Germany's domination and they turned the event into a Voiturette race for smaller, 1500cc cars. Still, a specially-built W165 Voiturette Mercedes driven by Hermann Lang won. In 1940, with only the factory Alfa Romeo and Maserati teams plus independents in attendance, Dr. Giuseppe Farina took his only major pre-war victory on a 158. The race was never held again.
1933 - Accusation of Foul Play
The Grand Prix was held in conjunction with the Libyan state lottery and, in the case of the inaugural Mellaha Lake event, there have long been accusations of result fixing. From October of 1932 to April 16th of 1933, the government sold 12 lire lottery tickets and, after taking their cut, they put up the rest as the prize for a special lottery based on the outcome of the race. Thirty attendance tickets were drawn at random eight days before the event and assigned to a corresponding race entry. The holder of the winner's entry would receive three million lire, second place two million, and third one million. The story, first publicized in Alfred Neubauer's 1958 book Speed Was My Life (Männer, Frauen und Motoren: Die Erinnerungen des Mercedes- Rennleiters), alleged that Tazio Nuvolari, Achille Varzi and Baconin Borzacchini, along with their respective ticket holders, conspired to decide the outcome of the race in order to split some seven and a half million lire together. Research suggests that the story is a popular myth.
- Leif Snellman. XIII° Gran Primo di Tripoli
- H. Donald Capps. Tripoli 1933 - A Hard Look at the Legend
|Races in the Formula One championship:|
|2007 championship Grand Prix events:|
|Past championship Grand Prix events:|
|Confirmed future Grand Prix events:|