Although earlier competitive events had been staged - more specifically between car and bicycle - it is generally accepted that the world's first motor race was held between Paris and Rouen on July 23, 1894, having been organised by a long-gone French publication and known as Competition for Horseless Carriages that were not dangerous, easy to drive, and cheap during the journey.
The event was a cross between trial and race, with over 100 competitors entering.
The winner - after a 'bent' de Dion was excluded! - was Peugeot, a brand very much in evidence on today's roads. Peugeot's victory set a precedent: motorsport could develop the breed, and marketing kudos could be derived therefrom.