1955 RAC Tourist Trophy

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The 1955 RAC Tourist Trophy took place on 18 September, on the roads around Dundrod, (County Antrim, Northern Ireland). It was also the fifth round of the F.I.A. World Sports Car Championship, however it was the first championship race following the horrendous tragedy at Le Mans. It was also the Golden Jubilee year for the Tourist Trophy. Going into the race, Ferrari were leading the Manufacturers Championship by four points from Jaguar. Victory for the Italian marque would put them in a strong position to win a third successive title.

Dundrod Circuit



A grand total of 64 racing cars were registered for this event, of which 55 arrived for practice and qualifying. Scuderia Ferrari entered a pair of Ferrari 857 Monzas for regulars Eugenio Castellotti and Piero Taruffi, and Umberto Maglioli and Maurice Trintignant, alongside a 750 Monza for the partnership of Olivier Gendebien and Masten Gregory. Their closest championship rivals, Jaguar, brought just one D-Type to Northern Ireland for Mike Hawthorn and Desmond Titterington. Hoping to keep the championship alive, Officine Alfieri Maserati sent two of their 300S and a A6GCS over. Amongst their line-up were Jean Behra and Luigi Musso.[1]

From West Germany, Daimler-Benz AG entered three of their Mercedes-Benz 300SLRs to tackle the 7.41 mile circuit. The car were to be driven by Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling, Stirling Moss and John Fitch, and André Simon joined by team newcomer Wolfgang von Trips. With works entries also from the likes of Aston Martin and Porsche, an incredible fifteen manufactures were represented in the field.[2][3]


In qualifying, the number 10 Mercedes-Benz of Moss and Fitch would emerge with the fastest lap, and would start from pole position. Alongside them was the Hawthorn/Titterington Jaguar. A Ferrari was in third place, driven by Gendebien and Gregory, followed by Fangio/Kling. The third Mercedes, of von Trips and Simon, would start the race from seventh.[4]


Following an accident in practice, the Ferrari 857 Monza of Gendebien and Gregory did not start.[5]

A Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, similar to that driven by Moss/Fitch

The race was held over 84 laps of the 7.416 miles Dundrod Circuit, giving a distance of 622.936 miles. To make matter worse, the race started in warm conditions, but it would not remain dry. Despite this, the German marque would finish in the first three places.[6]

As the flag dropped, it was Moss who would lead the incredible array of cars around the County Antrim countryside. As there was an obvious threat of rain, this motivated the drivers to push a little harder at the beginning of the race than normal for a seven-hour event. But with so many cars, on such a tight and dangerous circuit, racing at high speed, on par with Le Mans, the TT was balancing between safety and catastrophic danger. There was no margin for error. Mercedes driver John Fitch had already publicly criticized the safety of the Dundrod circuit.[7]

While everyone was looking forward to a Mercedes/Jaguar duel, the Tourist Trophy would be marred by tragedy, within the first few laps of the lap. The Cooper-Climax T39 of Jim Mayers, who was sharing the car with Jack Brabham, would hit a concrete pillar and the car immediately burst into a ball of flame. Mayers would have been killed instantly. This explosion caught out the approaching William Smith, at the wheel of a Connaught AL/SR. Smith would plow straight into Mayers and would eventually perish just a little while later. After the event horrible events at Le Mans, two more death would only add to the numbness for many.[8][9]

Meanwhile, Moss was strong right from the start, as was Hawthorn. Hawthorn would push his Jaguar D-Type as hard as he had when he won at Le Mans. He would set the fastest lap of the race, averaging a speed of nearly 95 mph.[10]

With a lead of one and a half minutes, the right rear tyre on Moss’s 300 SLR began to throw its tread and tore through the rear-end bodywork. Incredibly, Moss managed to bring the car back to the pits, even with the damaged bodywork and shredded tyre. The mechanics set to work changing the tyre and pulling away some of the dangling bodywork. Having lost a lot of time, Moss and his co-driver, Fitch would drive flat-out in an effort to catch up with Hawthorn, and with it a shot at the win.[11]

As the rain began to fall on the Irish countryside, the accidents would keep on coming. In the first two laps, a total of nine cars were eliminated due to accidents. Of course, two of those were fatal, but then on lap 35, Richard Manwaring would lose control of his Elva-Climax Mk I and crash off the track. As a result of this crash, a third driver would lose his life. It was clear that the cars of that day were out-pacing the roads upon which they were competing. Incredibly dangerous, the combination of fast cars and narrow lanes were still making for some entertaining action. And, despite the deaths, the crowd would remain, watching Hawthorn and Titterington trying the hold off Moss and Fitch.[12]

Once the repairs had been made to the number 10 300SLR, Moss and Fitch would manage to bring the car up to second place overall behind the sole works Jaguar D-Type. Still, Hawthorn and Titterington would manage to hold off Mercedes off, turning some truly fast laps around the Dundrod circuit.[13]

With the finish in sight, the Jaguar remained in the lead ahead of the Mercedes, despite everything that Moss and Fitch could do, the Jaguar was just too far out of reach. But, all of a sudden, Hawthorn would come to a screeching halt, just a few miles from the finish line. The Jaguar’s engine would seize leaving the Coventry marque without any hope of winning the race, or even finishing. Although slowed by the damage and weather conditions, Moss and Fitch had been unable to close down the gap enough to be able to challenge for the lead, it was clear that Mercedes were ‘gifted’ the race.

As a result, car number 10 (Daimler-Benz AG), took an impressive victory, winning in a time of 7hrs 03:11 mins., averaging a speed of 88.321 mph. The retirement of the Jaguar would lead to Mercedes being able to take a sweep of the top three positions. Second place went to Fangio, for the second year in a row, and Kling, one lap down. The podium was complete by the other 300SLR, that of von Trips and Simon, two laps adrift. Meanwhile, the Aston Martin DB3S of Peter Walker and Dennis Poore were the best of the English entrants, finishing in fourth place, with the best of the works-Maserati further behind in fifth.[14][15][16]

One of the outstanding drives of the race, came from Peter Collins, who’s Aston Martin DB3S was left stranded at the start due to a seized starter motor. Once the mechanics got the engine started, a furious Collins set off after the pack, after what must have been an astonishing first lap, he had climbed up to 14th. By lap 31, Collins had caught and passed Fangio for third before handing the car over to Tony Brooks, who was only able to complete a few laps before the Aston’s engine expired.[17]

Official Classification[edit]

Class Winners are in Bold text.

Pos No Class Driver Entrant Chassis Laps Reason Out
1st 10 S3.0 United Kingdom Stirling Moss United States John Fitch Daimler-Benz AG Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR 7hr 03:11, 84
2nd 9 S3.0 Argentina Juan Manuel Fangio West Germany Karl Kling Daimler-Benz AG Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR 83
3rd 11 S3.0 West Germany Wolfgang von Trips France André Simon Daimler-Benz AG Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR 82
DNF 1 S5.0 United Kingdom Mike Hawthorn United Kingdom Desmond Titterington Jaguar Cars Ltd. Jaguar D-Type 81 Engine
4th 18 S3.0 United Kingdom Peter Walker United Kingdom Dennis Poore Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB3S 81
5th 15 S3.0 Italy Luigi Musso Italy Franco Bordoni Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 300S 79
6th 4 S3.0 Italy Eugenio Castellotti Italy Piero Taruffi Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 875 Monza 79
7th 17 S3.0 United Kingdom Reg Parnell United Kingdom Roy Salvadori Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB3S 78
8th 5 S3.0 Italy Umberto Maglioli France Maurice Trintignant Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 875 Monza 79
9th 28 S1.5 United States Carroll Shelby United States Masten Gregory Huschke von Hanstein Porsche 550 Spyder 75
10th 41 S1.1 United Kingdom Mike MacDowel United Kingdom Ivor Bueb Cooper Car Co. Cooper-Climax T39 74
11th 46 S1.1 United Kingdom Colin Chapman United Kingdom Cliff Allison Lotus Cars Ltd. Lotus-Climax Mark IX 74
12th 29 S1.5 West Germany Helmut Glöckler West Germany Wolfgang Seidel Porsche KG Porsche 550 Spyder 74
13th 7 S3.0 Belgium Jacques Swaters Belgium Johnny Claes Equipe Nationale Belge Ferrari 750 Monza 73
14th 19 S3.0 United Kingdom Raymond Flower United Kingdom Mike Llewellyn Raymond Flower Austin-Healy 100S 71
15th 47 S1.1 United Kingdom Dick Steed United Kingdom Peter Scott-Russell Richard Steed Lotus-Climax Mark IX 71
16th 30 S1.5 West Germany Richard von Frankenberg West Germany Herbert Linge Porsche KG Porsche 550 Spyder 70
17th 50 S750 France Paul Armagnac France Gérard Laureau Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet D.B. HBR Panhard 70
18th 56 S2.0 France André Loëns Sweden Jo Bonnier André Loëns Maserati A6GCS 69
19th 49 S750 France Louis Cornet France Claude Storez Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet D.B. HBR Panhard 69
20th 35 S1.5 United Kingdom Jack Fairman United Kingdom Peter Wilson MG Car Co. MG EX182 69
21st 23 S2.0 United Kingdom Wilbert Todd United Kingdom Ian Titterington Jasper B. Johnstone Triumph TR2 68
22nd 21 S2.0 United Kingdom Bob Dickson United Kingdom W. Ken Richardon Robert Dickson Triumph TR2 Prototype 67
23rd 26 S2.0 United Kingdom John Maurice Tew Republic of Ireland Joe Kelly J. Maurice Tew Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica 66
24th 51 S750 France Robert Mougin France Guillaume Mercader Ecurie Jeudy-Bonnet D.B. HBR Panhard 66
25th 27 S1.5 United Kingdom John Fisher United Kingdom Ronnie Adams Kieft Cars Ltd. Kieft-Bristol 66
26th 37 S1.5 United Kingdom Berwyn Baxter United Kingdom Max Trimble Kieft Cars Ltd. Kieft-BMC 65
DNF 14 S3.0 France Jean Behra Italy Luigi Musso Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati 300S 63 Accident
NC 38 S1.5 United Kingdom John Coombs United Kingdom Ian Burgess Lotus Cars Ltd. Lotus-Connaught Mark VIII 55
DNF 48 S1.1 Republic of Ireland Cecil Vard United Kingdom Ken Rudd Automobiles Fraser Nash Ltd. DKW Sonderklasse 52 Engine
DNF 22 S2.0 United Kingdom Brian McCaldin United Kingdom Charles Eyre-Maunsell Jasper B. Johnstone Triumph TR2 48 Unknown
DNF 3 S5.0 United Kingdom Peter Whitehead United Kingdom Graham Whitehead Peter Whitehead Cooper-Jaguar T38 43 Chassis
DNF 16 S3.0 United Kingdom Peter Collins United Kingdom Tony Brooks Aston Martin Ltd. Aston Martin DB3S 43 Con-rod bolt/Oil leak
DISQ 12 S3.0 France Henri de Barry Ecurie Côte d’Azure Mercedes-Benz 300 SL 39 Poor driving/too slow
DNF 44 S1.1 United Kingdom Otway Plunkett United Kingdom Alan Rippon Kieft Cars Ltd. Kieft-Climax 1100 38 Accident
DNF 45 S1.1 United Kingdom Robbie MacKenzie-Low United Kingdom Richard Mainwaring Elva Elva-Climax Mk. I 34 Fatal accident
DNF 24 S2.0 Italy Luigi Bellucci Republic of Ireland Cecil Vard Officine Alfieri Maserati Maserati A6GCS 31 Engine
DNF 55 S750 France René Philippe Faure France Philippe Duval Automobili Stanguellini Stanguellini 750 Sport 29 Unknown
DNF 34 S1.5 United Kingdom Ron Flockhard United Kingdom John Lockett MG Car Co. MG EX182 23 Engine
DNF 54 S750 France Pierre Chancel France René Chancel Pierre Chancel Panhard X88 22 Gearbox
DNF 36 S1.5 United Kingdom Ted Lund United Kingdom Dickie Stoop David Brown Aston Martin DB3S 15 Final drive
DNF 2 S1.5 United Kingdom Bob Berry United Kingdom Ninian Sanderson Jack Broadhurst Jaguar D-Type 1 Accident
DNF 20 S750 United Kingdom Lance Macklin United Kingdom John Dalton John Dalton Austin-Healey 100S 1 Accident
DNF 25 S1.5 United Kingdom Ken Wharton Republic of Ireland Cecil Vard Automobiles Fraser Nash Ltd. Fraser Nash Le Mans Replica Mk.II 1 Accident
DNF 31 S1.5 West Germany Friedrich Kretschmann
United Kingdom Raymond Flower
United Kingdom Ernie McMillen Raymond Flower Porsche 550 Spyder 1 Accident
DNF 39 S1.5 United Kingdom William Smith United Kingdom John Young Connaught Connaught AL/SR 1 Fatal accident
DNF 40 S1.5 United Kingdom Peter Jopp United Kingdom Mike Anthony Lotus Cars Ltd. Lotus-Climax Mark IX 1 Accident
DNF 42 S1.1 United Kingdom Jim Russell United Kingdom Dennis Taylor Cooper Car Co Cooper-Climax T39 1 Accident
DNF 43 S1.1 United Kingdom Jim Mayers Australia Jack Brabham O’Shea Racing Cooper-Climax T39 1 Fatal accident
DNS 6 S3.0 Belgium Olivier Gendebien United States Masten Gregory Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari 750 Monza Accident in practice
DNS 8 S3.0 France Jean Lucas Spain Alfonso de Portago Ecurie Bullfrog Ferrari 750 Monza


Class Winners[edit]

Class Winners
Sports 5000 no finishers
Sports 3000 10 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Moss / Fitch
Sports 2000 56 Maserati A6GCS Loëns / Bonnier
Sports 1500 28 Porsche 550 Spyder Shelby / Gregory
Sports 1100 41 Cooper-Climax T3 MacDowel / Bueb
Sports 750 50 D.B. HBR Panhard Armagnac / Laureau


Standings after the race[edit]

Pos Championship Points
1 Italy Ferrari 19
2= United Kingdom Jaguar 16
West Germany Mercedes-Benz 16
4 Italy Maserati 13
5 United Kingdom Aston Martin 9
  • Note: Only the top five positions are included in this set of standings.

Championship points were awarded for the first six places in each race in the order of 8-6-4-3-2-1. Manufacturers were only awarded points for their highest finishing car with no points awarded for positions filled by additional cars. Only the best 4 results out of the 7 races could be retained by each manufacturer. Points earned but not counted towards the championship totals are listed within brackets in the above table.


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  22. ^ "ICNSCC Kent [AP+BP+CP+DP+EP+FP] 1965 - Racing Sports Cars".

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