A look at motorsport’s oldest trophy

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Some of the most famous names in motorsport have competed for the RAC Tourist Trophy since its inauguration in 1905, including John Napier (the first winner), and Charles Rolls (of Rolls Royce fame) and household names like Stirling Moss and Graham Hill.

The trophy has been a major part of the history of motor racing, contested for on some of the UK’S greatest racetracks and involving world class manufacturers. The race has been responsible for technical and engineering breakthroughs, and has witnessed countless innovations.

The trophy itself features Hermes, messenger of the Greek gods and son of Zeus, as the main figure. Made from 18 carat gold, Hermes stands on a bronze pedestal and holds a golden wand, which is reputed to unite in love and dispel hatred. Hermes also wears a winged cap and has silver wings at his feet. The god of wind is resting his head on the pedestal, along with the seated figures of ‘industry’ on the right and ‘invention’ on the left. An evergreen wreath is held over the name of the victor.

The trophy sits on a square plinth and, like most engraved awards, the names of all the winners appear on plaques around the base.

Hermes was an important god in Greek mythology, being the the gods’ ambassador for all negotiations, the god of travellers, a guardian of roads, and a promoter of international commerce. As the symbol of the Tourist Trophy, the decision to choose Hermes would seem to be an inspired one.

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