1955 World Sportscar Championship

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1955 World Sportscar Championship
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The 1955 World Sportscar Championship season was the third season of FIA World Sportscar Championship motor racing. It featured a series of six endurance races for sportscars, contested from 23 January to 16 October 1954.

The championship was won by Mercedes-Benz, the German manufacturer ending the dominance of Ferrari which had won both of the previous World Sportscar Championship titles.

Season summary[edit]

Mercedes-Benz won the championship with the 300 SLR
Ferrari placed second with the 750 Monza (pictured) and other models
Jaguar placed third with the D-Type
Maserati placed fourth with the A6GCS (pictured) & 300S
Aston Martin placed fifth with the DB3S

The 1955 World Sports Car Championship was contested over a six race series. With legendary races such as the Mille Miglia and the RAC Tourist Trophy now part of an international race calendar, they were accompanied by the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 12 Hours of Sebring. The championship started in January, with a trip to Argentina for the 1000 km Buenos Aires. The Carrera Panamericana was no longer run after 1954, and while the 1000 km Nürburgring was due to run, this was later cancelled following the events at Le Mans. They were replaced with another legendary road race, the Targa Florio. [1]

The Championship was open for manufacturers, with works teams such as Scuderia Ferrari, Officine Alfieri Maserati, Daimler-Benz and Jaguar Cars leading the way, but the majority of the fields were made up of amateur or gentlemen drivers, often up against professional racing drivers with experience in Formula One.

Classes were split between closed cars (GT) and open cars (Sports), with further divisions due to engine displacement. The 1955 season was a very bittersweet one for Daimler-Benz, with their Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRs. After missing the opening two, non-European rounds, which allowed Ferrari to gain a 14-point head start on Mercedes, the German team joined the championship. Aided by an English journalist, Denis Jenkinson, Stirling Moss would romp to victory in the Mille Miglia. However the elation achieved by this English pairing, would be quickly subdued at Le Mans a month later, when Pierre Levegh’s 300 SLR would be launched into the air and into the crowd, killing more than 80 spectators. Daimler-Benz would withdraw from the race, and motor sport altogether at the end of the season.[2]

This difficult decision would be made a little easier when Moss, and John Fitch drove to victory at the Dundrod Circuit, winning the RAC Tourist Trophy. This race was marred by the deaths of three drivers. The victory put Mercedes back in the hunt for the championship. The last race of the season, the Targa Florio, would see Moss win again, this time aided by Peter Collins, ensuring the manufacturers title was won by the German marque.

Season results[edit]

Race results[edit]

Date Round Event Circuit or Location Winning driver Winning team Winning car Results
23/01 Rd. 1 Argentina 1000km of Buenos Aires Autódromo Municipal-Avenida Paz Argentina Enrique Sáenz Valiente
Argentina José-Maria Ibanez
Italy Ferrari 375 Plus Results
13/03 Rd. 2 United States 12 Hours of Sebring Sebring International Raceway United Kingdom Mike Hawthorn
United States Phil Walters
United States B. S. Cunningham United Kingdom Jaguar D-Type Results
01/05 Rd. 3 Italy Mille Miglia Brescia-Rome United Kingdom Stirling Moss
United Kingdom Denis Jenkinson
West Germany Daimler Benz AG West Germany Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Results
11/06
12/06
Rd.4 France 24 Hours of Le Mans Circuit de la Sarthe United Kingdom Mike Hawthorn
United Kingdom Ivor Bueb
United Kingdom Jaguar Cars Ltd. United Kingdom Jaguar D-Type Results
18/09 Rd. 5 United Kingdom RAC Tourist Trophy Dundrod United Kingdom Stirling Moss
United States John Fitch
West Germany Daimler Benz AG West Germany Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Results
16/10 Rd. 6 Italy Targa Florio Circuito delle Madonie Piccolo United Kingdom Stirling Moss
United Kingdom Peter Collins
West Germany Daimler Benz AG West Germany Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Results

Championship standings[edit]

Pos Manufacturer R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 Total
1 Germany Mercedes-Benz 8 8 8 24
2 Italy Ferrari 8 6 4 (1) 4 22 (23)
3 United Kingdom Jaguar 8 8 16
4 Italy Maserati 4 4 3 2 (2) 13 (15)
5 United Kingdom Aston Martin 6 3 9
6 Germany Porsche 3 3 6
7 France Gordini 2 2
8 United Kingdom Austin-Healey 1 1

Note:

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

The cars[edit]

The following models contributed to the net championship point scores of their respective manufacturers.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.racingsportscars.com/championship/World%20Championship.html
  2. ^ http://www.conceptcarz.com/articles/article.aspx?articleID=4992

Further reading[edit]

  • János L. Wimpffen, Time and Two Seats, 1999, pages 170–200
  • The Automobile Year Book of Sports Car Racing, 1982

External links[edit]