Le Mans Test for Sir Stirling Moss

When Sir Stirling Moss took the wheel of Aston Martin DBR1/2 at a Silverstone test day last Friday, he quickly demonstrated that he hasn’t lost his touch. While Moss was not attempting to set a record-breaking lap-time, the 77-year-old race driver lapped faster and faster throughout the test session, to approving nods from Tim Samways of Sporting and Historic Cars who looks after the DBR1. By the end of the morning the pit-board showed that Sir Stirling was using the beautifully balanced car to full effect, and Moss later said “it felt wonderful”.

This, of course, is the car that won Le Mans outright in 1959 in the hands of Roy Salvadori and Carroll Shelby. Sir Stirling, who himself had plenty of experience of driving the DBR1 in the 1950s, will share the car with Dr Ulrich Bez, Chief Executive of Aston Martin, in next week’s Le Mans Legend – the historic support race to the Le Mans 24 Hours. Sir Stirling and Dr Bez will be joining 60 other historic Le Mans cars for a one-hour, two-driver race on the full 8.5-mile circuit, a few hours before the start of the modern 24 Hours.

Moss drove for Aston Martin at Le Mans three times, making his debut with the team in a DB3S for the 1956 race, before competing with a DBR1 in 1958 and 1959. Also in the DBR1, he claimed wins at the 1958 and 1959 Goodwood Tourist Trophy, as well as at the Nurburgring 1000Km. He now says he is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of one of Aston Martin’s most famous cars in order to demonstrate it to the public – and is “delighted to have the opportunity to race at Le Mans again.”

Dr Bez said: “I’m sure every racing enthusiast in the world would love to see Sir Stirling and the DBR1 in action again, and I am delighted that so many will have the opportunity at Le Mans this year, 48 years after they last appeared there together. To partner Sir Stirling in the race is a dream and a great honour for me.”

The Legends race has become a quintessential part of the Le Mans experience. This year the one-hour race will feature 61 of the finest sports cars ever to grace the track, including the Ford GT40, Ferrari 250LM, Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 and of course the Aston Martin DBR1.

Duncan Wiltshire, Chairman of race organiser Motor Racing Legends, said: “Sir Stirling’s presence couldn’t be better news. He is a true motor sport hero to all generations, and a real legend outside the sport as well.”

After the Le Mans Legend race a record six Aston Martin DBR9s will be competing in the GT1 class of the main 24 Hours event.

For further news on the Le Mans Legend, see www.motorracinglegends.com.

Editor's Note: The 2007 Le Mans Legend is generating a lot of interest, and looks like being one of the highlights of the weekend. For an overview of the entry please visit our preview article published last month.

Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Aston Martin Lagonda - Strictly Copyright

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