|Banrekord:||57.1, Lola - David Hitches 1963|
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Eläintarhan ajot (Suomen Grand Prix in Finnish, Djurgårdsloppet in Swedish, Eltsun ajot in slang) or Suomen Suurajot (Finnish Grand Race) as it was called in 1932 was a motor racing competition arranged between years 1932 and 1963 in Eläintarha, Helsinki, Finland. The idea for the race came from a racing driver, S. P. J. Keinänen. Its racing history included the pre-war Finnish Grand Prix.
The first Grand Prix-race was a success and it attracted around 25,000 spectators. There were ten cars in the first start, six of them Finnish and four Swedish. The very first win went to the Swede Per Viktor Widengren who drove a Mercedes-Benz, second to qualify was S. P. J. Keinänen in a Chrysler and the third place went to Karl Ebb driving a Mercedes-Benz.
Motorcycle races were also held from the beginning the first motorcycle win was also taken by a Swede Gunnar Kalén. The best-placed Finn was Raine Lampinen who finished second in the lower class.
The accident which ended the races in May 1963
The Eläintarha race was an annual happening in Helsinki for almost 30 years until the final race was held in 1963. The winner of this last race was Timo Mäkinen, although the main start (Formula Junior) was canceled after a fatal accident. At the start a driver (whose identity has not been confirmed) hit Curt Lincoln's Brabham BT6 (Formula Junior), and the car slid to the left side of track. Most drivers managed to avoid a collision but the Swedish Örjan Atterberg hit his countryman Freddy Kottulinsky. Unfortunately Atterberg's car flipped over and the driver was pinned under his vehicle. As a result of the crash Atterberg sustained fatal injuries. The race was stopped by the race officials one minute after crash and the jury told the race was over.
As the setup was considered too dangerous this was the final race to be conducted on the city circuit. The racing events that followed the ill fated Eläintarha race were held at Keimola Motor Stadium between 19661978.
In the 1930s motor racing events were also arranged couple of times in Munkkiniemi, a residential district in northwest Helsinki.
The race has been arranged three times since to honour its memory the first time was in 1982, then 1992 and the last time was in 2002. In the 1992 event Juan Manuel Fangio was present. Around 2005, a detailed and driveable virtual recreation of the circuit appeared for the Grand Prix Legends historical racing simulation.
Active years: 193239 and 194663
Circuit length: 2,034 m (1.26 mi) (1932), 2,000 m (1.24 mi) (from 1933)
Lap record: David Hitches, Lola Mk 5 Ford, time: 57.1 seconds/126 km/h (78 mph) (1963)
Most spectators: 82,597 (1958)
Most wins: Curt Lincoln (14)