Racing began soon after the construction of the first successful petrol-fueled autos. In 1894, the first contest was organized by Paris magazine Le Perit Journal, a reliability test to determine best performance. But the race was changed to Paris to Rouen 1894. Competitors included factory vehicles from Karl Benz's Benz & Cie. and Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach's DMG.
In 1895, one year later, the first real race was staged in France, from Paris to Bordeaux. First over the line was Émile Levassor but he was disqualified because his car was not a required four-seater.
An international competition began with the Gordon Bennett Cup in auto racing.
The first auto race in the United States took place in Evanston, Illinois on November 28, 1895 over an 87.48-km (54.36 mile) course, with Frank Duryea winning in 10 hours and 23 minutes, beating three petrol-fueled and two electric cars. The first trophy awarded was the Vanderbilt Cup.