Recently we popped by The Royal Automobile Club for the anniversary of Sir Stirling Moss OBE winning the 1955 Mille Miglia which also coincided with the launch of Sir Stirling’s new book Stirling Moss: My Racing Life.
Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee, said, ‘The Club were honoured to host both the media launch and an exclusive event for its members on such an historical date.’
During the event Sir Stirling provided a fascinating insight into his racing life from his early racing years, making his name in little 500cc Coopers, through to his gradual move towards stardom in HWM, ERA and Cooper Formula 2 cars and onwards to the pinnacle of his career, the 1955 season, which brought two celebrated highlights when he won both the Mille Miglia and the British Grand Prix with Mercedes-Benz.
When Sir Stirling drove one of the 300SLRs entered for the 1955 Mille Miglia, only two non-Italian drivers had previously won the event. He won it with with journalist and navigator Denis ‘Jenks’ Jenkinson. His outright record for the fastest-ever 1,000-mile road race has never been beaten.
Wanting to break Italy’s eight-year reign, Mercedes entered what were effectively converted Grand Prix cars and ran a dream team, with Juan Manuel Fangio in a sister car.
After rolling off the start line at Brescia at the allocated time of 7.22 am (hence the car race number 722) Sir Stirling completed the Mille Miglia in 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds, at an average speed of 98.53 mph (159 km/h) for the 1,000 miles, the first British victors.
Sir Stirling’s career was cut short by a near-fatal crash during a race at Goodwood on Easter Monday in 1962. Britain’s greatest racing star- won 212 of the 529 races he started- including 16 Formula 1 Grands Prix and runner-up in the World Championship four times.
Stirling Moss: My Racing Life has been co-written with Simon Taylor, who said, ‘During Stirling’s career the media called him Mr Motor Racing. It’s more than 50 years since his professional racing career ended against that earth bank at St Mary’s, but for me he will always remain exactly that.’
The Royal Automobile Club (89 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5HS)
Sir Stirling Moss will be signing copies of the book at Hatchards, Piccadilly on Wednesday 20th May, from: 12.30pm- 1.30pm