October 17, 2011 2:29 PM | By Steve Mertl for MSN Autos
Deadliest moments in motorsports

Modern racing is safer but drivers and spectators still face danger



Modern racing is safer but drivers and spectators still face danger (© Photo: Jon Feingersh, Getty Images)
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  • Modern racing is safer but drivers and spectators still face danger (© Photo: Jon Feingersh, Getty Images)
  • Paris-Madrid Auto Race, 1903
  • Atlantic City board track motorcycle crash
  • 1957 Mille Miglia
  • 1973 Indianapolis 500 (© Photo: AP Photo/Charles A. Robinson)
  • 1988 Paris to Dakar Rally (© Photo: Peugeot Sport)
  • Isle of Man TT (© Photo: Mary Evans Picture Library)
  • 1978 Safari Rally
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Photo: Jon Feingersh, Getty ImagesShow Thumbnails
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The automobile was less than 20 years old at the time, but fierce competition sprang up quickly among both automakers and enthusiasts. The 1,300-kilometre Paris-Madrid race drew more than 200 starters, from large automobiles to motorcycles, a Who's Who of auto pioneers, including the Renault brothers, Louis and Marcel.

The race's 2 a.m. start at Versailles reportedly attracted 100,000 spectators. However the race turned into a spectacle of carnage. Five racers and three spectators reportedly were killed in the first leg to Bordeaux, including Marcel Renault. The French government called a halt to the event.

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