By: Jeremy McMullen
blog comments powered by Disqus
By: Jeremy McMullen
|Racing can be infectious. Harry Schell's mother was not immune to its effect. It helped that she descended from a wealthy family as racing is also an expensive infection. Harry and his mother moved from America to France. It was in France that Harry's mother met Laury Schell and soon the two of them became quite invested in auto racing, specifically rallying. Born in 1928, Harry grew up watching his parents race cars. The infection spread.
Shortly before World War II, Harry's parents were involved in an accident that killed Laury and severely injured his mother Lucy. As the 'Blitz' rolled through western Europe, and the Germans came to occupy France, Harry and his mother left France and returned to America. Harry had already served in the war with the Finnish Air Force in 1939. However, upon returning to America Harry was given a commission in the U.S. Tank Corp.
Upon cessation of hostilities Harry returned to Europe and to racing. Schell drove Coopers in Formula 3 and Formula 2. When the Formula One Championship began in 1950, Schell was there. Schell's first race came during the Championship's second round, the Monaco Grand Prix. Harry arrived with his little Cooper T12 (See Cooper T12 article).
Harry, under the team name Horschell Racing Corporation, qualified in the 20th spot for the Monaco Grand Prix; with no time. The race unfortunately did not go any better. Schell was unable to complete even one lap after being involved in a collision at the harbor chicane. Harry, along with the majority of the field, was knocked out of the race.
Schell skipped the next event, the Indianapolis 500, but showed up at the event after, the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten. Harry arrived under another team name. Instead of Horschell Racing Corporation, Schell ran under his new team name Ecurie Bleue. Harry also arrived with a different car. Harry chose to drive a Talbot-Lago T26C for the Swiss Grand Prix. (See the article Talbot-Lago T26C).
Harry had a new team name and a new car, but despite this, qualifying didn't fare any better. He ended up qualifying 18th, dead last, some 29 seconds off the pace. The race, however, did bode better. Schell was able to come up through the field and ended up the race finishing in the 8th spot, beating out the likes of Louis Chiron, Johnny Claes and Toni Branca. Schell also beat out other top drivers, such as Juan Manuel Fangio and Alberto Ascari, who suffered mechanical failures.
Schell, like many other entrants, abandoned going to the Belgian Grand Prix held at Spa-Francorchamps. Besides the championship races there were many other non-championship races taking place almost every weekend and this pace led to many teams not making the trip to Belgium. Schell, however, would end up not only skipping out on the Belgian Grand Prix but also the remaining French Grand Prix and Italian Grand Prix.