Sir Stirling Moss ‘the greatest driver never to win the World Championship’ has died at the age of 90 following an ongoing illness.
Although the World Championship eluded the iconic British Formula 1 driver, he was and still is regarded as one of the greatest racing drivers of all time. Competing from 1948 to 1962 and victorious in 212 of the 529 races he took part in, Moss remained humble yet fiercely competitive.
The illustrious racing driver even won Italy’s 1000 Mille Miglia road race which was described by Doug Nye as the “most iconic single day’s drive in motor racing history“.
Mercedes-Benz Mille Miglia
Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson started in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W196 S) one of the most important and tough road races in the world at the time – the Mille Miglia.
A gruelling 1,000 miles through Italy lay ahead, the equivalent of 1,597 kilometres.
Opponents are not only the 520 other vehicles but above all a difficult winding and challenging route on public roads against the clock with a second hand that constantly ticks. In the end, the only thing that counts is the time it takes to travel 1000 miles.
After 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds, the silver 300 SLR from Stirling Moss with the red “722” came to the finish in Brescia. The number represents the start time, as is usual with the Mille Miglia.
It was to be a sensation with Moss and Jenkinson setting a new record time for the iconic “1000 miles”, on average driving at an unbelievable 157.65 km / h on the day. This time will never be undercut in this street race.
“No other vehicle in the world would have given us the opportunity to achieve the Mille Miglia at this enormous speed. Only Mercedes-Benz could build such a car. Scared? Yes, I had that before the race because he knew how fast he had to go to win without always knowing the exact course of the road. That’s why it took a reliable passenger like Denis Jenkinson with his instructions from the road book recorded on a paper roll.”
His successes in 1955:
- Mille Miglia: 1st place
- International Eifel race at the Nürburgring: 2nd place
- British Grand Prix: 1st place and also his first Formula 1 victory
- Swedish Grand Prix: 2nd place
- Belgian Grand Prix: 2nd place
- Dutch Grand Prix: 2nd place
- Tourist Trophy in Dundrod / Northern Ireland: 1st place
- Targa Florio: 1st place
When asked which has been your greatest race, Moss replied:
“Difficult to say, but the 1961 Monte Carlo Grand Prix stands out because I drove 90 out of the 100 laps absolutely flat out. Every corner and accelerating all of the time.
“It was like asking a ‘miler’ to run 100 yards for a mile, it was that hard.”
The final chequered flag was one of sadness with Moss having retirement forced upon him in 1962 after a serious crash at Goodwood, although he did make a number of one-off appearances in various professional motorsport events over the next 20 years.
Today we say goodbye to Sir Stirling Moss, the racing legend. I certainly will miss our conversations. I am truly grateful to have had these special moments with him. Sending my prayers and thoughts to his family. May he rest in peace🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/SDUAqxENHk
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) April 12, 2020
A moment we’ll cherish forever 🙏 Sir Stirling Moss and @LewisHamilton at Monza in 2015, taking to the iconic banking in two Silver Arrows
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) April 12, 2020
Wonderful Sir Stirling Moss. RIP pic.twitter.com/c3gio1L8gC
— Mario Andretti (@MarioAndretti) April 12, 2020
Please send us all your best pictures and memories of Sir Stirling Moss, and we'll collate them on GRR pic.twitter.com/OicIGSUpwE
— Goodwood Road&Racing (@GoodwoodRRC) April 12, 2020
— Formula 1 (@F1) April 12, 2020
4 things you might not know about the legendary Sir Stirling Moss:
April 1960: Moss was found guilty of ‘dangerous driving, fined £50 and subsequently banned from driving for 12 months when he was on a test drive in a Mini.
80 Car Parade: Moss’s 80th birthday fell on the eve of the Goodwood Revival where he drove a different car on each of the three days: Mercedes W196 Monoposto, the Lotus 18 he won the 1961 Monaco GP driving and Aston Martin DBR3.
7 March 2010: Fell down a lift shaft at his home and broke both ankles, shattered his foot and chipped four vertebrae.
December 2016: Suffered a difficult chest infection including respiratory problems and was admitted to a hospital in Singapore which led to Moss announcing his retirement from public life in January 2018.