Rigolly's feat of being the first to achieve 100
miles an hour did not stand unchallenged for long.
He had made his successful attempt in July, 1904,
and in November Baras turned out, again on the Ostend
road, to clip one-fifth of a second off the best
time so far with 21.4 seconds, a speed of 104.52.
Baras drove a 100 horse-power Darracq, a name which
appeared for the first time on the record scene but
was to become famous in road-racing and also in the
production car world for nearly 50 years to come.
Darracq also took the land speed record again the
following year, but this was a more powerful car,
for which double the power output was claimed. The
car driven by Baras was a four cylinder front-engined
machine of the type that was orthodox at the time.
Baras, like many other early record breakers, was
a racing driver and won the Paris-Ostend race of
1899 on a De Dion tricycle of 2.2 horse-power at
32.8 miles an hour over a distance of 201 miles.
1905, the year after his world record run, he also
drove the fastest car in the French Grand Prix, although
he did not win; the race was won by a Renault, but
Baras on a Brasier 105 horse-power car of 11,982 cc
covered the 64-mile circuit near Le Mans at a whopping 73.3 mph!
By this time designers were claiming power outputs
of the order of 100 horse-power for their record cars,
and the French built Darracq was so rated, although
Unique Cars & Parts have been unable
to determine in any detail or with any accuracy just
how these figures were calculated.
But Baras' car was
known as the 100 horse-power Darracq, and was a four
cylinder petrol-engined machine conforming to the formula
of the day, which imposed a maximum weight limit of
1,000 kilograms on Grand Prix road racing machines.
all the record cars of the time were modified road
racing cars the same formula also applied to them.
At this time there were few other restrictions on the
type or design of vehicle used, and runs were still
being made in one direction only.
As a result would-be
record breakers were still able to wait until the wind
was behind them before they set off, but they could
not have gradient with them as well as wind, because
it had been ruled that if the course was not quite
flat the gradient must be too slight to give any appreciable
advantage to the driver and car in one direction.