1956 Australian Grand Prix

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1956 Australian Grand Prix
Formula Libre race [1]
Race details
Date 2 December 1956
Location Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria
Course Temporary street circuit
Course length 5.03 km (3.125 mi)
Distance 80 laps, 402.25 km (250 mi)
Weather Sunny
Pole position
Driver Officine Alfieri Maserati
Fastest lap
Driver United Kingdom Stirling Moss Officine Alfieri Maserati
Time 1'52.2
First Officine Alfieri Maserati
Second Officine Alfieri Maserati
Third Scuderia Ambrosiana

The 1956 Australian Grand Prix was a motor race for Formula Libre cars held at Albert Park Street Circuit, in Victoria, Australia on 2 December 1956. The race, which had 22 starters, was held over 80 laps of the five kilometre circuit, the longest of all the Australian Grands Prix at 402 kilometres. It attracted a crowd of over 120,000 spectators.[2]

The race was the twenty first Australian Grand Prix and the second to be held on a street circuit situated around the Albert Park Lake, the current location of the race. It had been 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 around the 1956 Olympic Games which were being held in Melbourne. With the presence of the works Officine Alfieri Maserati racing team, bringing with them Stirling Moss, Jean Behra and a fleet of 250F, and 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 dominated the two-week festival which began the previous weekend with the Australian Tourist Trophy sports car race in which the duo placed first and second, each driving a Maserati 300S. In the Grand Prix the two were again dominant, but Moss was a class above Behra coming close to lapping his team mate. The two Scuderia Ambrosiana entered Ferraris of Peter Whitehead and Reg Parnell were not a serious threat but Whitehead did have the measure of the local drivers with the 1938 Australian Grand Prix winner finishing two laps clear of the first of the Australians, Maserati 250F driver Reg Hunt. Parnell finished sixth, behind another domestic Maserati 250F driven by Stan Jones. Both finished on the same lap as Hunt, while Lex Davison's older sports car engined Ferrari 625 was another two laps distant. Doug Whiteford’s Talbot-Lago was the first non-Italian car home in eighth place. With defending champion Jack Brabham absent the best of the Cooper sourced machinery was Len Lukey's much modified Cooper-Bristol in ninth. Wharton's European-based Maserati 250F failed to reach the finishing line.

Moss’s fastest lap of 1:52.2 (100.25 mph) was a new lap record for the Albert Park Circuit.[3]


A Maserati 250F similar to that in which Stirling Moss won the 1956 Australian Grand Prix
The Talbot-Lago T26C driven to 8th place by Doug Whiteford. The car is pictured in 2010
Pos [4] No. [4] Driver [4] Car Entrant [5] Laps [4] Time [4]
1 7 United Kingdom Stirling Moss Maserati 250F / Maserati 2.5L [6] Officine Alfieri Maserati 80 2h 36m 15.4s
2 1 France Jean Behra Maserati 250F / Maserati 2.5L [6] Officine Alfieri Maserati 80 2h 38m 27.4s
3 3 United Kingdom Peter Whitehead Ferrari 555 F1 / Ferrari 3.4L Scuderia Ambrosiana 79
4 5 Australia Reg Hunt Maserati 250F / Maserati 2.5L Reg Hunt Motors P/L 77
5 8 Australia Stan Jones Maserati 250F / Maserati 2.5L Stan Jones Motors P/L 77
6 2 United Kingdom Reg Parnell Ferrari 555 F1 / Ferrari 3.4L Scuderia Ambrosiana 77
7 9 Australia Lex Davison Ferrari 625 F1 / Ferrari 3.0L Ecurie Australie 75
8 11 Australia Doug Whiteford Talbot-Lago T26C / Talbot-Lago 4.5L D Whiteford 72
9 25 Australia Len Lukey Cooper T23 / Bristol 2.0L RH Hunt Motors P/L 70
10 19 Australia Julian Barrett Alta GP-2 / Alta S/C 1.5L J St Q Barrett 70
11 18 New Zealand Tom Clark HWM / Alta 2.0L TE Clark 66
12 23 Australia Jack Myers Cooper T20 / Holden 2.4L J Myers 66
Ret 6 Australia Kevin Neal Maserati A6GCM / Maserati 2.5L Reg Hunt Motors P/L 68
Ret 20 Australia Bill Willcox Alta / Alta 2.0L W Wilcox 39
Ret 26 Australia Bill Craig Alta / Holden 2.4L WJ Craig 26
Ret 24 Australia Alec Mildren Cooper T20 / Bristol 2.0L AG Mildren 21
Ret 4 United Kingdom Ken Wharton Maserati 250F / Maserati 2.5L Ecurie Du Puy 19
Ret 16 Australia Ted Gray Tornado II / Ford 4.5L LJ Abrahams 15
Ret 22 Australia Reg Smith Cooper T40 / Bristol 2.0L Smith's Radio P/L 13
Ret 28 Australia Harry McLaughlin Ford V8 Special 4.3L H McLaughlan 6
Ret 17 Australia Tom Hawkes Cooper T23 / Holden 2.3L TV Hawkes 5
Ret 12 Australia Owen Bailey Talbot-Lago T26C / Talbot-Lago 4.5L O Bailey 0


  1. ^ FIA Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix preview, www.cams.com.au Retrieved on 5 May 2015
  2. ^ Bill Tuckey, The Book of Australian Motor Racing, 1965, page 67
  3. ^ Jim Shepherd, A History of Australian Motor Sport, 1980, page 29
  4. ^ a b c d e 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. 
  5. ^ Second Day Programme, Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park Circuit, 25 November - 2nd December 1956
  6. ^ a b Australia and New Zealand's Role in Maserati's 100 Year History, www.ferrarimaseratisydney.com.au Retrieved 5 May 2015
Preceded by
1955 Australian Grand Prix
Australian Grand Prix
Succeeded by
1957 Australian Grand Prix