Ferrari Race History

2011 marked the 50th anniversary of Stirling's 1961 RAC Tourist Trophy win racing a Ferrari 250 GT SWB in the Rob Walker colours. To celebrate this anniversary we look back in detail at Stirling's career racing the cars that carried the famous prancing horse of Maranello.
 

He raced a Ferrari on 14 occasions, winning 12 of the races he entered and taking 10 fastest laps, a remarkable driving record, below we have provided the key facts in tabular form on every single race he contested in the marque.

Of the two races Stirling did not win, the first was the 1961 Le Mans when the radiator hose was cut by a fan blade, boiling all the water away, a consequence of the team leaving a road going cooling fan in the car which blew apart. At the time he was third overall with team mate Graham Hill, leading the GT Class in a Ferrari 250 GT SWB.

The second occasion was in a Ferrari 250 TR 62 he was racing with Innes Ireland at the 1962 Sebring 12 Hours, which was disqualified because the mechanics put in fuel when in fact the car had come in for brake linings.

 

Of all the Ferraris Stirling raced, the one that stood out was the Ferrari 250 GT Sperimentale, chassis 2643GT, the prototype 250 GTO. He raced this car to a class win in the Daytona 3 hours in February 1962. On reflection, Stirling recalls that this race was part of the process of integrating himself with the Ferrari family in readiness for the 1962 season.
 
 
At the end of 1961, Enzo Ferrari approached Stirling about the possibility of driving for Ferrari in 1962. Despite the animosity that had existed between Ferrari and Stirling over the years, they agreed to a secret meeting and letting bygones be bygones came up with a compromise for the 1962 season.

The plan was for Stirling to race a works Ferrari Formula 1 car, in the Rob Walker Racing colours, and a Ferrari 250 GTO in the light green of the British Racing Partnership (BRP). In addition he would also be given a Ferrari 246S sports car to drive.

 

Stirling was looking forward to the prospect of racing a F1 Ferrari and was pleased that Enzo had accepted that Rob Walker could run the car, with Alf, his mechanic, looking after it, with the car based at Maranello. The Ferrari 250 GTO, chassis 3505GT, Stirling was to race across the 1962 Easter weekend was delivered directly to Goodwood by the Ferrari UK agents, Maranello Concessionaires.
 
Stirling drove the GTO in a wet practice on the Saturday, fate then intervened, and his Ferrari and racing career was ended all too abruptly.
 
 
 
 
1957
Date Event & Venue Car Result Notes
8 Dec Nassau Sports Car Race, Oaks Field Ferrari 290S 1st A straight forward victory in a borrowed car belonging to a Dutch amateur Jan de Vroom
8 Dec Nassau Trophy Ferrari 290S 1st & fastest lap at 101.603mph The second victory that day despite bad brakes and a poor start. Shelby second and Phil Hill third.

 

1958
Date Event & Venue Car Result Notes
23 Feb Cuban Grand Prix Ferrari 335S 1st in 12m 59.3s The most worrying aspect of the weekend for Stirling was the risk of being kidnapped by Fidel Castro's rebels!

 

1960
Date Event & Venue Car Result Notes
20 Aug RAC Tourist Trophy, Goodwood Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1st & fastest lap at 89.44mph The TT was reduced to a 3 hour race in 1960, tyre wear and strategy gave Stirling the win over Roy Salvadori's Aston Martin DB4 GT
27 Aug Brands Hatch Redex Trophy Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1st Another straight forward win in this sprint race
27 Nov Nassau Tourist Trophy Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1st at 83.559mph Back to the winter sun of the Bahamas for a win in the Rob Walker TT wining Ferrari

 

1961
Date Event & Venue Car Result Notes
10-11 Jun Le Mans 24 hours,La Sarthe Ferrari 250 GT SWB DNF, sliced radiator hose The new 1961 Ferrari had bigger valves, different carburettors and a lighter body shell. With co-driver Graham Hill we ran as high as 3rd overall before retiring because of the lack of prepartation by the NART team
8 July Silverstone GT Race Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1st at 97.97mph A statisfying win for Stirling at a record speed
7 Aug Brands Hatch Peco Trophy Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1st at 82.53mph Another win at a record speed in the 250
19 Aug RAC Tourist Trophy, Goodwood Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1st at 86.62mph The second back to back in the TT, again, tyre wear and strategy gave Stirling the win over Mike Parkes
3 Dec Nassau Tourist Trophy, Heat 1 Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1st Now with a holiday home on the island Stirling enjoyed yet another victory in the Nassau TT
3 Dec Nassau Tourist Trophy, Heat 2 Ferrari 250 GT SWB 1st Another win in the sun

 

1962

Date Event & Venue Car Result Notes
11 Feb Daytona Continental 3 Hours Ferrari 250 GT Sperimentale 4th (1st in class) Stirling's first experience of the combined road circuit and banked track at Daytona
25 Mar Sebring 12 hours Ferrari 250 TR 62 DSQ The complete lack of organisation in the NART pit saw Stirling disqualified for being refuelled to early