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Cork Motor Derby: Home

About the Collection

Collection Ref.:             IE BL/VC/CMD
Title:                            Cork Motor Derby 
Dates:                            April 1938
Level of description:    Item
Extent:                          21 items
Administrative History:
IE BL/VC/CMD is the Cork Motor Derby Collection held in UCC Library. This collection was acquired in 2016 by Crónán Ó Doibhlin, Head of Research Collections, Content & Access, UCC Library.

Biographical History:

The 1930’s races were the direct equivalent of a modern day Formula 1 Grand Prix with many top international drivers of the day taking part. Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Maserati, ERA, Frazer Nash, MG, Délahaye, Riley, Delage and Ford marques were all represented, and drew 70,000 spectators to the roads of Cork in 1938. 

Three big races were held as part of the itinerary;

- The Cork National Motor Handicap, a 50 mile handicap for racing and sports cars from Ireland & Britain.

- The Cork International Light Car Race, a Formula Free race of 75 miles for cars under 1.5 litre.

- The new International Grand Prix, known as the Cork GP, the only one to be run in Ireland to GP rules.

The Cork Grand Prix took place in 1938. This was the most important of all, as it was the only race ever held in Ireland to the then current International Formula regulations and was attended by many of the leading teams and drivers of the time. It was the second race ever to be held to the new F1 Regulations of the time i.e. 3 litre.

The National Motor Handicap race, held on the Friday was won by Dudley Colley of Dublin in a 1,496cc Frazer Nash.  

The Light Car Race on Saturday 23rd April was won by Prince Bira driving his 1,488cc ERA R12C, 'Hanuman'. 

The Cork Grand Prix, also on Saturday, was won by René Dreyfus of France in a 4500cc Délahaye 145, averaging 92.95mph, with Prince Bira second in a 2992cc Maserati 8CM and Louis Gerard third in a 2984cc Delage.

The circuit for all of the 1930’s Races is still intact – the only major change being the roundabout at Poulavone, where there was a hairpin bend in the 1930’s. 

Photographic collection of images taken in April 1938, when Cork played host to the The Cork Motor Derby, featuring the first, and only, Grand Prix race held in Ireland under the then, new F1 regulations. The collection features images taken of all three races, as well as the race route, the paddock area, and the pit stops.

Access & Use

Access: Apply via online Request Form during the opening times of Special Collections and Archives


Finding Aid: Descriptive list (see separate tab above, next to 'Home' tab)

Additional Collection Information

Language: English

Copyright: UCC Library

Collection Image

The Cork Motor Derby on the Carrigrohane Straight Road, Cork.