Sir Stirling Moss 1929-2020: we salute a racing great

Published: 12 April 2020

► Sir Stirling Moss 1929-2020
► We pay tribute to a racing great
► Plus 360deg Mille Miglia video

Sir Stirling Moss has died aged 90 after a long illness. 'It was one lap too many, he just closed his eyes,' said his wife Lady Moss.

Moss is widely considered one of the motorsport greats, despite never winning the F1 world championship outright. He triumphed in 16 of the 66 F1 races he entered between 1951 and 1961, but is equally remembered for his extraordinary feat in the 1955 Mille Miglia road race across Italy, where he averaged 98mph in a Mercedes 300 SLR. 

The great and the good from the motorsport community queued up to pay respects on Easter Sunday:

We've dug up an interactive Mercedes video reuniting Moss with his Mille Miglia SLR - you can drag and zoom and pinch the video in the player above to see the master at work.

Stirling Moss and the Mille Miglia: the stuff of legend

Even by the relaxed safety standards of motor racing in the 1950s, the Mille Miglia was a spectacularly dangerous event. A near thousand-mile dash down the boot of Italy in the fastest sports racing cars of the day on (mostly) closed roads lined by walls of excitable spectators, stopping only for fuel and checkpoints, it seemed an event only Italian drivers spurred by local knowledge and patriotic fervour could win.

In 1955, however, Stirling Moss and co-driver Denis Jenkinson dominated the event in a Mercedes 300 SLR, setting a course record. In the video above Moss was reunited with the very same car on a stretch of the same route, albeit driven at more sedate speeds than 60 years ago. The latest 360-degree camera technology captured the reunion, which you can watch in the video above.

Moss and Jenks’ Mille Miglia triumph is the stuff of racing legend. Descending the start ramp at Brescia at 7.22am (hence the 722 competition number daubed on the flanks of their 300 SLR), they crossed the finish line at Rome in one long powerslide 10 hours, seven minutes and 48 seconds later. They’d averaged nearly 100mph, hit speeds in excess of 170mph and finished more than half an hour ahead of Juan Manuel Fangio (also in a 300 SLR) in second place. Even in a career overflowing with great drives, it was one of its highest peaks.

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Stirling Moss in the Mercedes 300 SLR

By CAR's road test team

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