Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss OBE, an inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, is often described as "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship." Here are some very interesting facts about the British former Formula One racer:
Moss’s career in motorsport spanned for 14 years from 1948 to 1962, winning 212 of the 529 races he competed.
The 88 year old Briton and the ‘Segrave Trophy’ awardee was the greatest driver never to have won the Formula-1 World title, finishing as a runner-up on four occasions. He was awarded the ‘BBC Sports Personality of the Year’ in 1961.
His passion for car racing started with Cooper 500 racing car competing in the Formula Three circuit.
His first major victory was at the 1950 RAC Tourist Trophy, on the Dundrod circuit, in Northern Ireland, with Jaguar XK120. He went on to win the trophy six more times in his career.
After he signed up with Mercedes Grand Prix Team in 1955, he won his first Formula One race at 1955 British Grand Prix, Aintree. He defeated the more experienced Juan Manuel Fangio and the Mercedes team went on to take the first four positions.
During his driving career, Moss was one of the most recognized celebrities in Britain. For many years the phrase ‘who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?’ was the standard question of all British policeman to the speeding motorists.
He was born Stirling Craufurd Moss, on September 17, 1929, in West Kensington, London, to Alfred Moss, a dentist by profession and Aileen.
As a 25 year old he won the most iconic single day’s drive in motor racing history in 1955, at thousand-mile ‘Mille Miglia’ road race from Brescia to Rome and back. He was in his Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, setting a course record of 10 hours. 7 minutes and 48 seconds, that still stands.
He once again demonstrated his long distance skill in winning the 1957, 25 km Pescara Circuit of World Championship Grand Prix. He beat Fangio by three minutes.
In 1958, Moss lost the Formula 1 World Championship Title, to Mike Hawthorn by a single point, due to his sporting attitude. He had earlier in the circuit helped Hawthorn to finish the Portuguese Grand Prix, with a piece of advice after his car spun and stalled on the uphill section.
For the 1961 Grand Prix season, Moss fielded the underpowered Lotus against Ferrari 156 and still managed to win the Monaco Grand Prix and the partially wet German Grand Prix. He achieved this with his technical expertise and driving skill.
On April 23, 1962, he was involved in a career ending accident during the Glover Trophy at Goodwood. After he spend a month in hospital in coma, he took further six month to recover from paralyze.
Despite bidding adios to racing, he made one-off race appearance in the 1974 London-Sahara-Munich World Cup Rally, but retired midway. He again made an appearance two years later in the Bathurst 1000 when he was hit from back and retired with engine failure.
On March 2010, he survived a three-storied fall down a lift shaft at home, breaking both ankles and four bones in his feet, but recovered to get back behind the wheels again by July.
In 1950 he along with Leslie Johnson took turns at the wheels of Jaguar XK120 at Autodrome de Montlhery, Paris and drove for 24 hours averaging 107.46mph. It was the first time a production car recorded this feat.
In 1952, he was part of four drivers who drove a factory owned Jaguar XK120 fixed-head coupe for 7 days and night at the French track. They covered a total of 16,851.73 mi, averaging 100.31mph to set four world and five international Class C records.
He once again set speed record in August 1957, when he drove MG EX 181 at Bonneville Salt at Flats at 245.64 mph, to break five international Class F records. He achieved this as an average of two runs in opposite directions.
Following his retirement he was involved with ABC’s Wide World of Sports as color commentator for Formula One and NASCAR races from 1962 to 1980.
Following his retirement he did make a comeback for two seasons in the 1980 British Saloon Car Championship with GTI Engineering Audi team as its number two driver.
He lent his voice as a narrator for the popular children’s series ‘Roary the Racing Car.’ He also reviewed the 1988 Formula-1 season with Tony Jardine.
On June 09, 2011, at the age of 81, he finally announced his retirement once and for all. He was at qualifying event of Le Mans Legends race, when he scared himself that afternoon.
Moss’s 80th birthday on September 17, 2009, fell on the eve of the Goodwood Revival, Lord March celebrated with an 80-car parade on each of three days. Moss drove different car each day.
In June 2005, he signed on the bonnet of his 1955 Mille Miglia-winning Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. The car was retired to newly built Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.
In July 2016, Lister Cars unveiled a £ 1 million full magnesium bodied Lister Knobbly in his honor. This was first time he lent his name to launch the ‘Stirling Moss Lister Knobbly’ racing car at the Royal Automobile Club in London. He also travelled to US to launch the Lister Knobbly at Pebble Beach.
Moss was knighted by Prince Charles on March 21, 2000, as ‘Knight Bachelor’ for his service to motor racing.
In December 2006, he was awarded the FIA Gold Medal, Monaco, in recognition of his contribution to motor sports. Earlier in 1999, he was also inducted into International Motorsports Hall of Fame.
Apart from a biographical book titled ‘All But My Life’ published by Ken Purdy in 1963, Moss himself published his autobiography with Simon Taylor titled ‘My Racing Life,’ 2015.
With his playboy image it was no wonder he appeared in several TV programmer and feature films, such as ‘This Is Your Life,’ ‘What’s My Line,’ ‘The Beauty Jungle’ and in the James Bond film ‘Casino Royale’ in 1967.
In April 1960, Moss was found guilty of Dangerous driving and given a £ 50 fine and a 12 month ban after an incident near Chetwynd Shropshire, while he was test driving a Mini.
On December 22, 2016, he was taken ill and admitted to hospital in Singapore with a serious chest infection.