A brief history video series on the exploits of Stirling Moss
Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss, OBE (born 17 September 1929) is a former Formula One racing driver from England. An inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, he achieved success in several categories of competition. Stirling Moss has been described as “the greatest driver never to win the World Championship”.
Stirling Moss was born in London, the son of Aileen (née Craufurd) and Alfred Moss, a dentist of Bray, Berkshire, where Stirling was raised at Long White Cloud house on the right bank of the River Thames. Alfred was an amateur racing driver who had been placed 16th at the 1924 Indianapolis 500. Stirling was a gifted horse rider as was his younger sister, Pat Moss, who became a successful rally driver and married Erik Carlsson.
Stirling Moss was educated at independent schools; Shrewsbury House School (Surbiton) Clewer Manor Junior School and the linked senior school Haileybury and Imperial Service College. All were for boys (but the latter are now co-educational except for Shrewsbury) and located at Hertford Heath, near Hertford.
Stirling Moss, who raced from 1948 to 1962, won 212 of the 529 races he entered, including 16 Formula One Grands Prix. He would compete in as many as 62 races in a single year and drove 84 different makes of car over the course of his racing career, including Cooper 500, ERA, Lotus, Maserati, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Vanwall single-seaters, Aston Martin, Maserati, Ferrari, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz sports cars, and Jaguar saloons. Like many drivers of the era, he competed in several formulae, often on the same day.
He preferred to race British cars, stating, “Better to lose honourably in a British car than win in a foreign one”. At Vanwall, he was instrumental in breaking the German/Italian stranglehold on F1 racing (as was Jack Brabham at Cooper). He remained the English driver with the most Formula One victories until 1991 when Nigel Mansell overtook him after competing in more races.
In the 1950s Stirling Moss participated in several successful speed record attempts.
At the Autodrome de Montlhéry, a steeply banked oval track near Paris, Moss and Leslie Johnson took turns at the wheel of the latter’s Jaguar XK120 to average 107.46 mph (172.94 km/h) for 24 hours, including stops for fuel and tyres. Changing drivers every three hours, they covered a total of 2579.16 miles. It was the first time a production car had averaged over 100 mph (160.93 km/h) for 24 hours.
Revisiting Montlhéry, Moss was one of a four-driver team, led by Johnson, who drove a factory-owned Jaguar XK120 fixed-head coupé for 7 days and nights at the French track. Moss, Johnson, Bert Hadley and Jack Fairman averaged 100.31 mph (161.43 km/h) to take four World records and five International Class C records, and covered a total of 16,851.73 mi (27,120.23 km).
In August Moss broke five International Class F records in the purpose-built MG EX181 at Bonneville Salt Flats. The streamlined, supercharged car’s speed for the flying kilometer was 245.64 mph, which was the average of two runs in opposite directions.