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stirling moss obituary

October 25, 2020


Hawthorn, as a result, was not disqualified.

I'd only been driving moderate cars up until then.

In 1955, too, Moss won the Mille Miglia, the gruelling time trial around 1,000 miles of Italian public roads, in a Mercedes 300SLR sports car. Of the 66 world championship grands prix he entered between 1951 and 1961, he won 16, a ratio unfavourably distorted by early years spent in uncompetitive British cars and by a pronounced share of mechanical misfortune. Men saw this and more: Moss made more than $1 million a year, more than any other driver, and was invariably surrounded by the jet-set beauties who followed the international racing circuit. It was his 1958 defeat to Ferrari’s Mike Hawthorn, despite winning four races to Hawthorn’s one, that changed Moss’s views on the championship. He participated in races for historic cars, taking advantage of a special dispensation that allowed him, and him alone of all the world’s racing drivers, to ignore modern safety regulations by competing in his old helmet and overalls and doing without seat-belts. He was 90 and had been ill for some time. Moss became so a famous figure that policemen in Britain regularly asked speeding motorists: “Who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?”.

The first race of the 2021 Supercars season has begun.

He nevertheless remained an integral part of the sport, appearing in all sorts of roles, including commentary. “It was one lap too many,” his wife, Susie, told The Associated Press.

When the German team politely indicated that they thought he needed more experience, Gregory and his father negotiated the purchase of a Maserati 250F, the new model from Ferrari’s local rivals. Having been the undisputed world’s best for four seasons, Moss had identified the growing threat of Jim Clark towards the end of 1961 and decided he needed parity of equipment. Before his retirement as a professional driver in 1962 he had competed in 529 races, not counting rallies, hill climbs and record attempts. He puttered around London on a motor scooter. Champion or not, that makes him one of the greatest racing drivers ever.

He was in a coma for 38 days, and paralyzed on one side of his body for six months. Vandervell was so distressed by the death of Stuart Lewis-Evans, the team’s third driver, in Morocco at the end of the season that he withdrew his cars during the winter, leaving Moss without a drive for 1959. It was at Haileybury that he was subjected to antisemitic bullying for the first time. Taking over the car of his team-mate Brooks, who was still suffering from the effects of a crash at Le Mans, he resumed in ninth place and eventually took the lead with 20 laps to go after the clutch of Jean Behra’s Maserati disintegrated and a puncture delayed Hawthorn’s Ferrari.

It was his 1958 defeat to Ferrari’s Mike Hawthorn, despite winning four races to Hawthorn’s one, that changed Moss’s views on the championship. "Entering the main street of Padova at 150 mph, we braked for the right-angle bend at the end, and suddenly I realized that Moss was beginning to work furiously on the steering wheel, for we were arriving at the corner much too fast and it seemed doubtful whether we could stop in time. He began barnstorming across Europe racing where he could with the Formula 3 car. Mercedes signed Moss as a works driver for 1955 and put him behind the wheel of the magnificent W196 R for 17 Formula 1 races and the 300SLR sports car for open road and endurance races. Even before that, it was clear that Moss was the driver that would soon take the legendary Argentinian’s place at the pinnacle of the sport. After competing in trials and sprints, Moss cut his teeth in 500cc competition, having bought a Cooper-JAP in 1948. There was even a brief return for Audi in the 1980 British Touring Car Championship, but most of all he was in the business of, That Moss was never world champion remains an indictment of the championship and points systems in place at the time rather than any failure of Stirling’s. Add that atop the victory in the Mille Miglia, and winning the Targa Florio across Sicily and the Tourist Trophy, and Moss was suddenly among the most popular people in Great Britain. I sat fascinated, watching Moss working away to keep control, and I was so intrigued to follow his every action and live every inch of the way with him that I completely forgot to be scared.".

When the season ended, Hawthorn had 42 points, which are given for factors like fastest lap as well as finishing position. Moss said courage and stupidity were pretty much synonymous, and may have proved it in a succession of spectacular accidents: seven times his wheels came off, eight times his brakes failed. I didn't get paid the kind of money Lewis does, but I suspect my quality of life was far higher than his is now.

At a time when race drivers often peaked in their thirties or forties (Fangio won his last world championship in 1957, when he was 46 years old), the 1960s promised to be Moss's decade of dominance.

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Despite never winning the Le Mans 24 Hours, Moss became the established top sportscar driver of the 1950s, his wins in the 1955 Mille Miglia (for Mercedes), 1958 and 1959 Nurburgring 1000km and the 1959 Tourist Trophy (all for Aston Martin) remain among the greatest performances in endurance competition. factory Formula 2 team.

In the fullness of time, he came to regret the decision.

His father Alfred's career as a dentist had the family financially well grounded and able to subsidize young Stirling's ambitions. The dark blue car suffered from unreliability until late summer, when Moss took it to victories in Portugal and Italy. And then in 1948 he bought one of the first open-wheel, mid-engine Cooper 500s.

When Vanwall did not attend the first race of the year, in Buenos Aires, he was allowed to drive a little two-litre Cooper-Climax entered by his friend Rob Walker and, through a clever bluff involving pit stops, managed to beat the Ferraris.
It became less important to him. “If Moss had put reason before passion,” said Enzo Ferrari, “he would have been world champion many times.”. After Fangio’s retirement in 1958, Moss became his undisputed heir.

So he didn't win a race.

Overall, he entered 527 races of all sorts, finished 375 of them, and won an astonishing 212.

The outward signs of physical damage – severe facial wounds, a crushed left cheekbone, a displaced eye socket, a broken arm, a double fracture of the leg at knee and ankle, and many bad cuts – were less significant than the deep bruising to the right side of his brain, which put him in a coma for a month and left him paralysed in the left side for six months, with his survival a matter of national concern.

He raced for 14 years, won 212 of his 529 races in events that included Grand Prix, sports cars and long-distance rallying, in 107 different types of car. It was in Walker’s Lotus 18 that Moss scored the most famous of his victories, defeating the more powerful Ferrari ‘Sharknose’ 156s in the 1961 Monaco GP in a relentless drive. And in each of the next three years, he placed third. It helped that he had legendary British journalist Dennis Jenkinson alongside to read pioneering pace notes and then to report the event from the winning car.
Last modified on Wed 20 May 2020 19.38 BST. Although neither spoke the other’s language, a warm respect grew between them.

‘Mr Motor Racing’ as he became known was the benchmark driver in F1, sportscars and just about anything else he turned his hand to following the retirement of his great friend Juan Manuel Fangio in 1958. That Moss was never world champion remains an indictment of the championship and points systems in place at the time rather than any failure of Stirling’s.

His fellow drivers considered him the best in the world. Resistant to the lure of dentistry, he worked briefly as a trainee waiter at various London establishments. He became Jaguar’s team leader in sportscar racing shortly afterwards.

He was sure he was “a goner” after his steering column snapped at over 160 m.p.h. Isn’t that a far better deal than he’s got? Motorsport Network sends its condolences to Lady Moss, a strong supporter of Moss for so many years, and to Stirling’s friends, family and many, many fans.

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