One of the greatest racing drivers in history has just passed away.
After retiring from public life in 2018 due to a lingering illness, Sir Stirling Moss passed away at his home in Mayfair, London. He was 90.
Moss first joined the world of motorsport way back in 1947 in Formula Three. His first major international victory occurred in 1950 when he won the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) Tourist Trophy in a Jaguar XK120. He then went on to win 6 more races and was able to drive a Jaguar C-Type, Mercedes-Benz 300SLR, Aston Martin DBR1, and a Ferrari 250 GT.
In 1955, he joined Mercedes-Benz and won his first World Championship in the British Grand Prix of the same year. He led a 1-2-3-4 finish for Mercedes-Benz, and it was the first time he was able to beat his teammate, friend, and arch-rival Juan Manuel Fangio.
But throughout his racing career, he had never won a Formula 1 driver's championship. Moss did, however, won 16 world championship grand prix victories, and 7 RAC Tourist Trophies. He was also the first person to win a World Championship Grand Prix in a Lotus in the 1961 Monaco Grand Prix. Moss also won the Sebring 12 Hours in 1954, the 1955 Mille Miglia road race (hence the legendary number 722 that was used by Mercedes-Benz for a special edition SLR), and the Nurburgring 1,000 km endurance race four times.
Despite grabbing countless victories, Moss was no stranger to injuries. But what ultimately spelled the end of his racing career happened in 1962. For reasons still unknown, Moss crashed his Lotus 18/21 at St. Mary's in Goodwood. The crash caused Moss multiple injuries which included a displaced eye socket, crushed cheekbone, broken left leg and ankle, and a broken left arm. On top of those, Moss also suffered from brain damage which left him in a month-long coma.
Eventually, he was able to make a full recovery from his injuries and soon got back behind the wheel in 1963. But after getting to test drive a Lotus 19 in Goodwood, Moss felt that he was slower and did not have the skills as before. This led him to ultimately retire from competing in motorsport.
But despite his “retirement”, Moss did make a number of appearances in other motorsport events for the next two decades. He even briefly returned to full-time competition in 1980 to 1981 in an Audi touring car in the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) alongside Richard Lloyd and then Martin Brundle. In the latter years, however, Moss turned his attention to historic racing. On June 9, 2011, Moss officially announced his retirement from racing during the Le Mans Legends race.
Sir Stirling Moss left a lasting legacy not just in Formula 1, but in motorsports as a whole. Described by many as straightforward, Moss raced with a no non-sense approach. And despite being known as the 'Boy Wonder' at the height of his racing career, Moss did not develop an ego and shared his passion for racing and cars with not just his colleagues, but to anyone who is equally passionate.
Rest in peace, Sir Stirling Moss.