1956 Australian Grand Prix

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Australia  1956 Australian Grand Prix
Race details
Formula Libre race
Date 2 December 1956
Location Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria
Course Temporary street circuit
5.03 km (3.125 mi)
Distance 80 laps, 402.25 km (250 mi)
Weather Sunny
Pole position
Driver United Kingdom Stirling Moss Maserati
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Stirling Moss Maserati
Time 1'52.2
First United Kingdom Stirling Moss Maserati
Second France Jean Behra Maserati
Third United Kingdom Peter Whitehead Ferrari
The Talbot-Lago T26C driven to 8th place by Doug Whiteford. The car is pictured at Mallala Motor Sport Park on 3 April 2010

The 1956 Australian Grand Prix was a motor race held at Albert Park Street Circuit, Victoria on 2 December 1956. The race had 22 starters. The race was held over 80 laps of the five kilometre circuit, the longest of all the Australian Grands Prix at 402 kilometres.

It was the twenty first Australian Grand Prix and the second to be held on a street circuit situated around the Albert Park Lake, home of the present day Australian Grand Prix. The race was moved to the end of the year, and the rotational system which shifted the race from state to state was suspended to allow the AGP to capitalise on the publicity generated about the 1956 Olympic Games which were being held in Melbourne. This 'Olympic Grand Prix' quickly built up and for the first time since 1938 European based entrants arrived. With the presence of the works Maserati racing team, bringing with them Stirling Moss, Jean Behra and a fleet of 250F and 300S racing cars, and with them fellow European based racers Ken Wharton, Peter Whitehead and Reg Parnell the race became the most important motor racing event held in Australia's history to that point.

Moss and Behra secured a 1-2 result for Maserati, dominating the two week festival which began the previous weekend with the Australian Tourist Trophy sports car race where the duo raced the 300S sports cars. In the Grand Prix the two were a class apart, but Moss was a class above Behra coming close to lapping his team mate. The two Ferraris, the overweight 555s by now superseded in Europe by Ferrari's purchase of the Lancia D50 race team, were not a serious threat but they did have the measure of the local drivers with 1938 Grand Prix winner Whitehead finishing two laps clear of the first of the Australians, Maserati racer Reg Hunt. Parnell finished sixth, behind another domestic Maserati driven by Stan Jones, both on the same lap as Hunt, while Lex Davison's older sports car engined Ferrari was another two laps distant. Doug Whiteford was the first non-Italian car home in his Grand Prix Lago-Talbot. With defending champion Jack Brabham absent the best of the Cooper sourced machinery was Len Lukey's already much modified Cooper-Bristol in ninth. Wharton's European Maserati failed to reach the finishing line.


Results as follows.[1]

Pos No. Driver Car Laps Time
1 7 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Maserati 250F / Maserati 3.0L 80 2h 36m 15.4s
2 1 France Jean Behra Maserati 250F / Maserati 3.0L 80 2h 38m 27.4s
3 3 United Kingdom Peter Whitehead Ferrari 555 F1 / Ferrari 3.4L 79
4 5 Australia Reg Hunt Maserati 250F / Maserati 2.5L 77
5 8 Australia Stan Jones Maserati 250F / Maserati 2.5L 77
6 2 United Kingdom Reg Parnell Ferrari 555 F1 / Ferrari 3.4L 77
7 9 Australia Lex Davison Ferrari 625 F1 / Ferrari 3.0L 75
8 11 Australia Doug Whiteford Talbot-Lago T26C / Talbot-Lago 4.5L 72
9 25 Australia Len Lukey Cooper T23 / Bristol 2.0L 70
10 19 Australia Julian Barrett Alta GP-2 / Alta S/C 1.5L 70
11 18 New Zealand Tom Clark HWM / Alta 2.0L 66
12 23 Australia Jack Myers Cooper T20 / Holden 2.4L 66
Ret 6 Australia Kevin Neal Maserati A6GCM / Maserati 2.5L 68
Ret 20 Australia Bill Willcox Alta / Alta 2.0L 39
Ret 26 Australia Bill Craig Alta / Holden 2.4L 26
Ret 24 Australia Alec Mildren Cooper T20 / Bristol 2.0L 21
Ret 4 United Kingdom Ken Wharton Maserati 250F / Maserati 2.5L 19
Ret 16 Australia Ted Gray Tornado II / Ford 4.5L 15
Ret 22 Australia Reg Smith Cooper T40 / Bristol 2.0L 13
Ret 28 Australia Harry McLaughlin Ford Special 4.3L 6
Ret 17 Australia Tom Hawkes Cooper T23 / Holden 2.3L 5
Ret 12 Australia Owen Bailey Talbot-Lago T26C / Talbot-Lago 4.5L 0


  1. ^ Howard, Graham (1986). "1956". In Howard, Graham. The Official 50-race history of the Australian Grand Prix. Gordon, NSW: R & T Publishing. pp. 218–226. ISBN 0-9588464-0-5. 
Preceded by
1955 Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix
Succeeded by
1957 Australian Grand Prix