TeamsGilby Engineering: 1955 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
In April of 1954, Gilby Engineering would take delivery of its Maserati 250F chassis. This was the first 250F to become the property of a private owner and it would prove to be very successful in the hands of Roy Salvadori at non-championship races all throughout England. This was partly due to the fact that most of the competition was still competing with Formula 2 chassis. However, by 1955, the competition would be much better armed and would pose an even greater challenge. Still, with the talented Roy Salvadori at the wheel of the 250F the team had reason to be confident.
Throughout the whole of the 1954 season Gilby Engineering enjoyed a handful of victories and a plethora of podium finishes. Was it not for a sticking throttle at Oulton Park that led to Salvadori plowing into a tree, the team would complete the season with very little in the way of black marks on its racing record.
Salvadori would do the best he could to avoid the accident at Oulton Park. Finding the throttle sticking he would try to shut off the magnetos and thereby kill the engine. He would manage to shut one of the magnetos off but could not shut the other off before chassis 2507 plowed into a tree. The car would be heavily damaged. Immediately, the car would undergo repair in order to complete the 1954 season.
Once the car emerged from repairs it would be involved in a number of races and would still manage to post some positive results, including a 3rd place result in the Goodwood Trophy Formula One race on the 25th of September.
The final race of the 1954 season would be a Formula Libre race held at Snetterton on the 9th of October. The team could not have ended the season on a brighter note than when Salvadori drove the car to victory in the Formula Libre race. Salvadori would even set the fastest lap in the event en route to the victory. It was clear the car was working fine and that Gilby Engineering had a car that made them competitive, at least in non-championship races around England.
Gilby Engineering would not have reason to be so confident when it actually came to World Championship races. During the 1954 season, the team would enter two Formula One World Championship races, the French and the British Grand Prix. The team would earn the same result in both. Both the French and British Grand Prix would end with the team scoring early retirements. Compared to the best teams, cars and drivers in the world, Gilby Engineering looked good but was not in the same league its results around England would have suggested.
A small team like Gilby Engineering would have a limited budget and would have to concentrate on racing where it could be the most successful while also providing greater challenges in order to improve against the best teams in the world. The racing scene around England would be difficult in that there were many small manufacturers and teams and not the giants like Ferrari or Mercedes-Benz. Still, the competition presented a challenge. And still, success around England would allow Gilby Engineering to grow in size and competitiveness. Therefore, during the 1954/1955 offseason the team would work hard at finalizing the 250F making sure it was in tip-top shape for the upcoming season.
In the midst of the long break between the first and second rounds of the Formula One World Championship, Gilby Engineering would load its Maserati 250F onto its transporter and would head off to the eastern region of lower England. The destination would be Snetterton and a Formula Libre race to be held on the 26th of March.
Snetterton had been the site of the last race of the 1954 season for the Gilby team and it had ended with a victory in a Formula Libre race. The team would hope and pray Snetterton would be as welcoming to them as it had been in 1954. Were Salvadori to come through with another victory, even in a Formula Libre race, the team knew it was on the right track for a good season.
The team would have reason to be encouraged. Not only had Snetterton provided them one last victory in 1954, but as Salvadori put the 250F through its paces during the Formula Libre race, the team would find its car was as competitive as ever. Salvadori would go on to earn the fastest lap of the race and would come away with yet another victory. So he had started the 1955 season where he had left off in 1954—with victory.
Two weeks would be the gap in between races for Gilby Engineering. After leaving Snetterton, the team would return to home to continue working on the car and to prepare for the next race on the '55 calendar. After a week or so, the team would pack the car and the equipment back up and would head out. This time, the destination would be to the south of England, almost right along the English Channel coast. It was April and that meant it was time for the Easter Monday races held at Goodwood.
Traditionally, Goodwood had been an auxiliary airfield during the Second World War and was known as RAF Westhampnett. However, when the war concluded and the airfield became decommissioned it would soon be transformed into one of the more popular motor racing venues in all of England. Not long afterward, another of Goodwood's great traditions would begin—the Easter Monday races.
The Easter Monday races was comprised of a full day of motor racing, but it would not just feature one or two longer races. Instead, the day was comprised of a number of very short events meant to display the various classes and categories of motor racing that existed in those days. This meant there would be a Formula One, Formula 2 and numerous other Formula Libre races to entertain the usually large crowd that would attend.
One of the longer races on that Monday would be the 3rd edition of the Glover Trophy race. This race would last 21 laps and would cover a total distance of 50 miles. And, heading into this race, there was a fair amount of expectation amongst the large crowd. Not only would Salvadori be present behind the wheel of the Gilby Maserati, but Stirling Moss would also be present driving another 250F. In addition, it was circulated that Vandervell Products Ltd. had a couple of entries for the race. One of those entries was to be driven by Mike Hawthorn. Therefore, there would be a great amount of excitement about an all-English brawl on the 2.39 mile Goodwood circuit.
Unfortunately, the fight that everyone hoped and longed for would not be fully realized. Yes, Salvadori and Moss would be there with their 250Fs, but, the Vanwalls would not be ready in time, and therefore, would not arrive. This meant the vast majority of the competition would be comprised of Formula 2 machines. This would become very evident near the start of the race.
In practice, the Maseratis of Moss and Salvadori would dominate the timesheets. Moss would be the fastest and would start from pole while Salvadori would line up 2nd. The rest of the front row would include Don Beauman in 3rd and Bill Holt in 4th.
As the cars lined up on the grid preparing for the start of the 21 lap race, quite a few cars would be missing from the grid. Initially, 13 cars qualified for the race. However, as the cars were rolled out onto the grid for the start of the race, the field would be reduced to just nine. Most of the competitors knew full well that this race would come down to the battle between Salvadori and Moss. The conventional wisdom would be quite understandable. However, the race itself would prove that point to be somewhat misguided and merely a reason to give up early.
Moss and Salvadori would dominate the proceedings at the front of the field. Moss would be fast in his Maserati but he would not be as fast as Salvadori who would end up posting the fastest lap of the race with an average speed of more than 92 mph.
Tony Rolt, driving a Connaught B-Type, would find his race in the new car would come to an early end. After just 8 laps, the fuel pump on the car would fail leaving him out of the running. Amazingly, just 4 laps later, the same problem would take the prerace favorite right out of the running as well.
Just past the halfway mark in the race, Salvadori would find himself running all by himself in the lead of the race. Being that it was the first race of the season, he would need to take care of the car to ensure that it would make it all the way to the end. And, he had a comfortable enough of a lead to be able to do exactly that.
All throughout the 1954 season Bob Gerard had been impressive driving a Formula 2 Cooper-Bristol T23 beyond its limits and pressuring even the Formula One cars. One year later, Gerard would be doing the same thing. While he would not be able to challenge Salvadori, he would be leading the rest of the field looking quite strong. It was especially impressive considering he had started the race down in the 6th position on the grid.
Salvadori, with little to no competition to speak of, would cruise to victory. In just under thirty-four minutes, Salvadori would come across the line to take what would be his first non-championship Formula One victory of the season and his second-straight behind the wheel of the Maserati. Gerard would hold on to finish the race in 2nd place. He would finish thirty seconds behind Salvadori and just a second and a half in front of Don Beauman in a Connaught A-Type. In fact, the battle between Gerard and Beauman would prove to be the most entertaining part of the whole Glover Trophy race.
The season really could not have started out much better for Gilby Engineering. Two-straight victories would certainly help the team build up some momentum early in the season. However, the team was not done with its victory in the Glover Trophy race. In fact, there would be two more Formula Libre races in which Salvadori would take part with the 250F.
Roy Salvadori would not merely take to the wheel of the 250F. He would also drive a Connaught A-Type for John Young in the 7th Lavant Cup Formula 2 race. Despite not having the use of the Maserati, Salvadori would prove successful earning pole for the race and taking the victory over Bob Gerard.
But then, Salvadori would be back behind the wheel of the 250F for a couple of Formula Libre races. And in those races, Salvadori would continue to prove his competitive prowess finishing in 2nd place in both races.
The campaign at Goodwood would be quite successful for Gilby Engineering. With Salvadori at the controls, and with a dominant 250F, all the team really had to concern itself with was reliability. And throughout those first few races of the 1955 season reliability had been perfect.
Formula One World Championship and non-championship Formula One races were a little harder to come by in 1955, especially early on in the season. However, the team would find other races in which it could enter its Maserati and gain important track time and prize money. One of those races Gilby Engineering would enter would be a Formula Libre race held at the former RAF Station Ibsley located near Ringwood in Hampshire.
As with just about every other race to that point in the season, Salvadori and the 250F would prove to be the class of the field as he would go on to set the fastest lap of the race and take yet another victory on the season. It was clear the Formula One Maserati 250F was no match for the older Formula 2 and sportscars that would normally populate Formula Libre races during the 1950s throughout England.
If the first handful of races of the 1955 season had proven to be lacking in superior competition, then the next race on Gilby's calendar, traditionally, had proven to be one of the most competitive. On the 7th of May, the Silverstone Circuit prepared to play host to its popular BRDC International Trophy race.
Ever since its first appearance in 1949, the International Trophy race had drawn the best teams, drivers and cars that existed at that time. The 1954 edition of the race would be no exception. While the field would be devoid of the factory Maserati team, Scuderia Ferrari's and Equipe Gordini's presence right alongside numerous privateers maintained the International Trophy's reputation as being a world class non-championship event. Heading into the 1955 edition, the 7th running of the International Trophy race, many expected the same turnout of elite teams and drivers. Sure enough, Equipe Gordini would bring a couple of its cars. Vandervell would finally have a couple of its Vanwalls ready for competition. And, there would be a couple of Scuderia Ferrari entries on the list as well. It seemed the field would be full, as usual, with the very best. Unfortunately, the field would lose a couple of world-class talents when Scuderia Ferrari failed to show.
Still, there would be enough Formula One cars in the field to make it clear the 1955 edition of the race would be as competitive as any other year. To the British faithful that would assemble around the 2.88 mile Silverstone circuit, the 1955 International Trophy race couldn't have been a better matchup. Yes, Roy Salvadori would be considered one of the favorites coming into the race, but just one of the favorites as Stirling Moss would also be in the race at the wheel of a Maserati 250F and Mike Hawthorn was now driving for Vandervell after leaving Ferrari. The British fans couldn't have been more excited about the race.
Being located on the Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire border, Silverstone has always been known to produce its own kind of weather patterns. The rest of the country could be sunny and warm, but at Silverstone it was very likely to be incredibly wet and cold. 1954 had been a good example. A portion of the race would be conducted in heavy rains. The rest would be conducted in dry conditions that allowed average speeds to climb higher and higher. Heading into the 1955 running, the weather seemed as though there would be nothing but dry conditions and mild temperatures.
Unlike previous years, the format for the 1955 running of the International Trophy race would change. Instead of a couple of heat races and a final, the race would consist of a single race lasting 60 laps covering a total of 175 miles. And in practice, it would be Salvadori that would shock many by setting the pace with a best lap time of one minute and forty-eight seconds around the circuit. Salvadori would barely edge out Hawthorn for the pole and would find the rest of the front row to include Stirling Moss in 3rd and Jack Fairman in 4th. Certainly, this was shaping up to be Salvadori's greatest test of the season.
The flag waved to start the race and immediately Salvadori was up at the front of the field looking incredibly strong. Mike Hawthorn would be right there with him challenging for position. Stirling Moss would also be looking strong, as most expected from the new Mercedes-Benz driver. Peter Collins, who had been overlooked throughout practice as he started down in 5th place on the grid, would be impressive early as he made his way up through the field toward the front. Ken Wharton, Mike Hawthorn's teammate at Vandervell, would also be impressive right from the start moving forward after starting down in 9th place on the grid.
The race would see another big shakeup within the first 20 laps. Stirling Moss would be one of the first to retire from the race. A cylinder head would crack on his Maserati bringing an end to his challenge for victory. Reg Parnell, the 1951 winner, would retire on the same lap as Moss with transmission failure. Then, on the 17th lap of the race, a couple of other key competitors would retire from the race.
Robert Manzon had started the race well driving, once again, for Equipe Gordini. Manzon had left the Gordini team out of frustration with the lack of reliability the team exhibited with its cars. Manzon would return to find not much had changed. The rear axle on his T16 would fail leaving him unable to complete the race. But Manzon's retirement would not attract as much attention as the other that had retired on the same lap as he.
Mike Hawthorn had been challenging Salvadori during the early going of the race. However, after just a few laps Hawthorn would begin to fade as his car would begin to suffer from an oil leak. The oil leak would be in the car's gearbox and it wouldn't take long before Hawthorn would be out of the race. This would leave Wharton to challenge Salvadori near the front of the field. However, Providence would not be on Wharton's side either. On the 23rd lap, while battling with Salvadori, Wharton would strike one of the marker barrels around the circuit. This would cause Wharton to lose control and crash heavily off the circuit. Wharton would crash heavily and the car would erupt into flames. By the time the fire had been put out the car would be completely written-off.
Salvadori had managed to outlast the battles with the two Vanwalls. However, there was very little he could do to fight off Peter Collins in another Maserati 250F. Salvadori's battles with the Vanwalls would allow Collins to take advantage and move into the lead of the race, and even extend a lead.
Still, Salvadori would be one of the few that would manage any kind of pace to keep things interesting. He would match Collins' time for the fastest lap of the race. However, he would continue to lose ground over the course of the race, but, would manage to remain on the lead lap. This was an achievement in and of itself given the fate of other drivers in the field, many of whom would also be driving 250Fs.
Collins could not be touched. Averaging nearly 96 mph over the course of the 60 laps race, Collins would lap all but Salvadori and would cruise to victory with nearly forty seconds in hand. Salvadori would look good despite being forty seconds behind. He would manage to be the only driver to remain on the lead lap with Collins, thereby proving his pace. And, given the fact he matched the fastest lap of the race and enjoyed great reliability, it was clear Salvadori was more than capable of competing with the best in the world. Prince Bira would complete the podium finishing in 3rd place more than a lap behind Collins at the finish.
Salvadori would prove himself to be a very capable driver despite finishing in 2nd place. Yes, he had taken the pole for the race, which was an achievement in its own right. However, as Collins applied the pressure during the race, he would respond by stretching himself beyond even what he considered to be his limits. This would be proven by the fact that his fastest lap time in the race would actually be faster than his pole-winning time set in practice. And though victory had been right there for Salvadori to take, to finish the race in 2nd place was still an incredible achievement for the team and only added to the team's confidence moving forward. For, in the races the team had taken part early on in the 1955 season, the team had not finished any worse than 2nd in any of them, a truly remarkable run.
There was no reason not to believe the incredible run could not continue. Instead of making the trip across the Channel and all the way to Monaco for what was the second round of the Formula One World Championship, the Gilby Engineering team would remain in England and would take part in the regional Formula One races. One of those regional non-championship races would come on the 29th of May, one week after the Monaco Grand Prix. The race was the 3rd Curtis Trophy race and would be held at the 2.70 mile Snetterton Motor Racing Circuit.
Like so many motor racing circuits throughout England, Snetterton would actually get its beginnings as a airbase used during World War II. Known as RAF Snetterton-Heath, the airbase would become the home to the United States Army Air Force's 96th Heavy Bombardment Group and would be instrumental in a number of bombing raids throughout Europe during the war and would even be involved in the ferry operations to North Africa as well. As with Silverstone, the 2.70 miles of perimeter road would come to serve as a perfect venue for motor races and the circuit would soon host race weekends similar to that of Goodwood where a number of shorter races of all different categories would have a chance to take part.
One look at the entry list and it would have become immediately obvious Salvadori would have a chance at a good result as long as the car held together. Still, the presence of Peter Collins and the Owen Racing Organization's Maserati 250F, the very same combination that had beat Salvadori just a couple of weeks earlier at the International Trophy race, would have been cause for alarm. However, as the team arrived and unloaded, it would become more than evident that Salvadori would be the favorite for the Curtis Trophy race as the Owen Racing entry would not arrive and Salvadori's Maserati would be the only Formula One car in the small, five-car, field.
Not surprisingly, Salvadori would take the pole for the race. He would be joined on the front row by Archie Scott-Brown driving a Lister-Bristol and Jimmy Somervail at the wheel of a Cooper-Bristol 20.
The team, and Salvadori, knew they really had no competition. Salvadori just needed to take care and not do anything stupid and the victory would be practically assured. Still, though victory seemed assured, with average speeds approaching 90 mph, the short 10 lap race still carried some potential pitfalls that could take a sure thing and turn it into great disappointment just like that.
Salvadori, not surprisingly, would set the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:48 at an average speed of 90 mph. Amazingly, Salvadori would not back off all that much over the course of the 10 laps. Evidence of Salvadori's pace would be found in the margin he would enjoy over the remainder of the field.
Salvadori would cruise to another victory. He would complete the 27 miles in just eighteen minutes and eleven seconds and would enjoy a margin of victory of a minute and sixteen seconds over Archie Scott-Brown. Nearly two minutes would be the gap back to Jimmy Somervail finishing in the 3rd position.
Though taking part in races against some rather subpar competition, the Gilby Engineering team, at least, was doing what they were expected to—dominate. The team would prove victorious when they were supposed to and certainly competitive when the competition tightened. The season really couldn't have started much better. Unfortunately, events at Le Mans in June would come to impact some of the team's intentions when it came to the Formula One World Championship.
Get expectations surrounded the 1955 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, the race would be forever remembered for the incredible tragedy that transpired during the first couple of hours. When the smoke cleared and full stock of the situation had been taken into account a driver would be dead and nearly 90 spectators would perish. This would send a shockwave throughout the motor racing community and would lead to a number of races, including Formula One World Championship races, being cancelled. And, in the case of the Swiss Grand Prix, it would never again return.
Though Salvadori would be present at Le Mans driving for Aston Martin, the effects of the tragic crash would lead to Salvadori's grand prix calendar being altered. One year earlier, Gilby Engineering entered its Maserati 250F for Salvadori in the French Grand Prix. Considering the success the team had been experiencing throughout the first half of the season it was quite likely the team would have returned for 1955. However, the events in Le Mans would lead to the French Grand Prix being cancelled. Therefore, if Gilby Engineering had any designs of taking part in a World Championship grand prix then the team needed to make its choice and commit to it as the list of remaining races would be quite a bit shorter than what it originally had been.
The Belgian Grand Prix remained on the calendar but Gilby Engineering would not make the trip to take part in the car-breaking race on the ultra-fast Spa circuit. The previous season the team had made the short trip across the Channel to take part in the French Grand Prix held at Reims. Despite this race being cancelled there were still a couple of races just across the Channel the team could have taken part in but would choose not to.
Thankfully, organizers would decide to keep the British Grand Prix on the calendar. And though it would prove to be the second-to-last round of the championship for 1955 it would still provide many of the British teams the opportunity to take part in a Formula One World Championship, Gilby Engineering included.
Although the British Grand Prix remained on the World Championship calendar after the tragic events at Le Mans, the venue would be changed. The first ever round of the Formula One World Championship had been at Silverstone in 1950. Every year after that, the former bomber training base had served as the home of the British Grand Prix and the British leg of the World Championship. However, heading into 1955 the decision would be made to change venue. At the end of the 1954 season, the Aintree Racecourse would host its first Formula One grand prix. It would be a non-championship race but would prove to be quite popular with fans and teams. This race would serve as a preview of the World Championship race to come in 1955.
Aintree would be quite different from Silverstone in a number of ways. First of all, the average speeds around the 3.0 mile circuit would be a bit less than those posted around Silverstone. Over the course of a single lap, average speeds tended to range about a full 10 mph slower at Aintree than at Silverstone.
Additionally, the setting at Aintree would be quite different than at Silverstone. Whereas Silverstone had formerly been bomber training base during the Second World War, and therefore, was wide open and practically featureless, Aintree, in contrast, would be rather confining in its nature. Famous for being the home of the Grand National, the Aintree Motor Racing Circuit would be created from within and around the 4.5 mile Grand National course and would even make use of the grandstands located along the finish straight. This would give the circuit a totally different feel than that of Silverstone.
Though the venue may have changed, there were a couple of things that remained the same. For one thing, the date of the race would remain the same. In 1955, the race would be held on the 16th of July. For another thing, the number of laps of the race would also remain the same. Measuring about the same distance, the British Grand Prix at Aintree would be contested over 90 laps, or, 270 miles.
The 10th edition of the RAC British Grand Prix would take place at some place other than Silverstone. Additionally, the 10th edition of the race would experience vastly different weather than that which was considered the norm around Silverstone. Heading into the grand prix weekend, Aintree would experience hot and dry conditions, nearly the exact opposite of the weather usually surrounding Silverstone.
Gilby arrived at the race with its single entry. However, give the teams success throughout the first half of the season, it was almost like the team was coming to the race with more than just a single car. Unfortunately, the team would come with just a single entry and would have to face the threat of the superior Mercedes-Benz team.
Germany had family managed to invade Britain. Mercedes-Benz would unload no less than four cars at Aintree. Of course, the British faithful wouldn't mind the Silver Arrows so much given the fact that Stirling Moss was the team's number two driver behind Juan Manuel Fangio.
Not surprising, Mercedes-Benz would be quickest in practice. However, it would be something of a surprise to see Moss the quicker driver, especially against the great Fangio. Moss would post a best time of 2:00.4 around the circuit and would end up two-tenths of a second faster than Fangio. The real surprise would be the driver that would complete the front row in the 3rd position. The position would not go to either Karl Kling or Piero Taruffi of Mercedes. Instead, it would be Jean Behra that would take the position having moved on from Equipe Gordini and was now driving a Maserati for the Maserati factory team.
Salvadori would come to realize real quick he was not facing off against Formula 2 cars or regional talent. His best lap in practice would be a little more than eleven seconds slower than Moss and would lead to him starting the race from the eighth row of the grid in the 20th position overall.
Salvadori could not sit back and rely on his superior power to carry him through to victory. Most everyone ahead of him on the grid was at the wheel of Formula One cars with power equal to or greater than that which his Maserati possessed. Salvadori would have to take himself to the absolute edge of his limits and would need to stay there for the whole of the 90 laps.
The cars would be started and would be pushed forward toward their grid position awaiting the start of the race. It would be important for Behra to make a good start if he had any allusions of hanging with the Mercedes. The same could be said for Salvadori starting so far back in the field. He would need to make a fantastic start and would either have to stand on it or would have to make his car as wide as possible in order to hold onto positions.
At the start it would be Fangio that would get a great jump. Behra would struggle off the line and would lose a number of positions. Heading through the first corner on the first lap of the race it would be Mercedes one-two-three-four. Salvadori would do what he needed to do and would make a fantastic start climbing a number of positions over the course of the first lap.
At the end of the first lap, it would be Fangio leading the way ahead of Moss. Behra would recover quickly from his poor start and would actually be running back in 3rd place by the end of the first lap. And though Salvadori started the race from the 20th position on the grid, by the end of the first lap, would be up to 12th and looking strong. At the end of the first lap, Salvadori would be the casualty of an unfortunate moment. Andre Simon would be in trouble as he rounded Tatts. Because he was slowing down to enter the pits Salvadori would find himself caught in a bad position and would lose ground as a result. Almost immediately after crossing the line in the 12th position he would lose the position and would only fall further down the running order. By the end of the 2nd lap, Salvadori would be down in 14th place struggling terribly to refocus himself. Unforunately, he would only continue to slide down the order until he bottomed out in 16th.
While Salvadori was falling down the running order, Moss would be all over Fangio and would eventually take the lead on the 3rd lap. From that point on, the two Mercedes drivers would hook up and would begin pulling away from the rest of the field like a tremendous train gaining speed. Over the next 14 laps it would be Moss in the lead of the British Grand Prix, much to the delight of the incredible throng of British motor racing fans.
Salvadori would manage to regain his focus and would begin a quick march back up through the field. In addition to attrition, Salvadori would drive impressively to find himself back up to 11th place by the 20th lap of the race.
Attrition on the hot day would begin to take its swings at the field. Behra would be out of the running after just 9 laps with a broken oil pipe, Harry Schell, despite an impressive performance to climb back up through the field after his poor start, would find his race come to an end after 13 laps with a broken accelerator pedal. Scuderia Ferrari would lose Castellotti's 625 due to transmission failure and then there would be two of the Connaught B-Types that would retire within a lap of each other.
Schell's retirement meant Salvadori would find himself in 10th place. Unfortunately, this position would be short-lived. Roy would begin to notice all was not well with the Maserati. Throughout the first half of the season the Gilby Engineering team had not had a retirement of any kind. The car had worked perfectly. But on this hot day, and against an incredible lineup of competition, the car would be stretched beyond its limits. Gearbox problems would slow Salvadori. Roy would pull the car into the pits and the team would see what it could do to rectify the situation but it would be beyond the team's limits to repair it in time to finish the race. And so, the first retirement of the season for the Gilby team would, unfortunately, take place at the one and only round of the Formula One World Championship in which the team would take part in 1955.
Although the race would come to an end for Salvadori, it was just beginning for Stirling Moss. Though Fangio retook the lead on the 18th lap, Moss would not give up on the potential for his first Formula One World Championship victory coming in the British Grand Prix. And, on the 26th lap, Moss would make his move and would take over the lead.
Once in the lead, Moss would pull away from Fangio ever so slightly. Karl Kling would make his way past Roberto Mieres to make it a Mercedes-Benz one-two-three. From the 20th lap on the Mercedes-Benz team would roll on in dominant fashion. Moss' pace at the front of the field would be such that by the end of the race just the three Mercedes Silver Arrows would remain on the lead lap.
But while it would be a Mercedes runaway, the race would be far from over. Lap after lap, Moss would lead the way with Fangio following along and Kling bringing up the end of a Silver Arrows sweep of the podium. However, heading into the final lap of the race Moss would be losing ground and Fangio would begin to threaten Moss. Moss was so close to his first victory he could almost taste it.
For the majority of the race Moss led the way comfortably ahead of Fangio. However, as Moss powered his way out of Beecher's Bend and along the Railway Straight he would find Fangio right there behind him closing all the faster. It was clear Fangio was the quicker of the two. Through Melling Crossing and down into Tatts, Fangio would close right up behind Moss. Coming out of Tatts and powering toward the finish line, Fangio would get the better jump out of the turn and would pull alongside of Moss heading toward the line. It seemed that Moss could have the British Grand Prix snatched right out of his hands. But he would not let this happen. Moss would put his foot down and would power his way toward the line. Despite Fangio nearly pulling up alongside of him, Moss would cross the line to take an extremely emotional victory. For not only had he gone on to earn his first ever Formula One World Championship, but it would come at the British Grand Prix!
Gilby Engineering certainly had to have looked forward to the British Grand Prix. The team had a competitive car. The team had a competitive driver. On top of everything else, the team had one of the most enviable of starts to the season of any team, and therefore, had reason for confidence. Unfortunately, the one time in which the team would experience unreliability would come at Aintree. This certainly would be bitterly disappointing, but, the season still had provided more than enough reason for the team to be confident moving forward.
Thankfully for Gilby Engineering, there would be a couple of weeks between races. The team would return to its home base to repair its broken Maserati before setting off to London for the 3rd London Trophy race held at Crystal Palace on the 30th of July.
Located to the south of downtown, Crystal Palace Park had once been a haunt for gypsies and other nomads. However, by the middle of the 19th century it would become a popular place for recreation and for sport. Named for the crystal palace that had been a part of the Great Exhibition, Crystal Palace Park boasted of gentle rolling terrain and seemed like the perfect setting for motor sports around downtown London.
Using the access roads around the park, a 1.35 mile circuit would be created and had first come to be used during the Formula 2 era of the World Championship. In 1954, the nature of the course was such that Formula 2 cars could remain competitive against the few number of Formula One cars entered. However, by 1955 it had become very clear the Formula 2 cars could not really challenge the Formula One threat. And with more Formula One cars entered in the 1955 race it was more than clear the Formula 2 cars needed their own race.
The London Trophy race would be comprised of two heat races and a final. The whole of the field would be divided up into the two heats which would last 10 laps each. Then the grid would be set for the 15 lap final. Salvadori and Gilby Engineering would be listed in the first heat right along with Mike Hawthorn who would be driving Stirling Moss' Maserati 250F. Jack Fairman would be at the wheel of a Connaught B-Type chassis while Horace Gould would enter his own Maserati 250F.
The nature of the Crystal Palace Park circuit was such that any kind of bobble would turn into a poor lap time. And, in practice, it would be Mike Hawthorn that would set the fastest time. However, Roy Salvadori would not even end up on the front row. Instead, he would start in the 4th position on the second row of the grid behind Hawthorn, Horace Gould and Tony Brooks.
During the 10 lap heat race, Hawthorn would be quickest starting from the pole. He would turn the fastest lap of the race and would have a clear lead over the rest of the field. However, Salvadori would make a great start and would quickly find himself in 2nd place, pulling away from Gould in 3rd and Fairman in 4th after Brooks fell down the running order.
Salvadori would not equal Hawthorn's fastest lap time but would end up keeping the pressure on him throughout the whole of the race. Hooked up together, Hawthorn and Salvadori would only further pull away.
Averaging nearly 76 mph, Hawthorn would power his way to victory but would only be a second and a half in front of Salvadori who had come from 4th on the grid to finish 2nd. Gould would hang on to finish in 3rd place some three seconds ahead of Fairman and thirteen seconds behind Salvadori.
The second heat would see Harry Schell start from pole driving a Vanwall while Bob Gerard would start in 2nd place driving a Formula 2 Cooper-Bristol T23. Paul Emery would complete the front row starting in the 3rd position on the front row.
At the wheel of the Maserati, Schell had the advantage on everyone else in the second heat. He would power his way into the lead right off the line and would quickly begin to pull away into the distance. His escape would be aided by Bob Gerard's broken half shaft that made it impossible for him to complete even a single lap of the heat. Jack Brabham would show why he would be a future World Champion as he would take his Cooper T40 and would steadily climb up the running order.
But out front it would be Schell running away with the race. Completing the distance in just eleven minutes and four seconds, Schell would be all alone crossing the line. Paul Emery would finish in 2nd place some thirty-five seconds behind. A further nineteen seconds would be the gap back to Jack Brabham finishing in 3rd.
The starting grid for the 15 lap final would be determined by the finishing time of each individual in their respective heat. This mean that Mike Hawthorn would start from pole with Roy Salvadori sandwiched in the middle of the front row in 2nd and Harry Schell completing the front row in the 3rd position.
Three cars would not start the race. Surely mechanical issues would be the reason for some, but the simple fact of the dominance of the Formula One cars would also be a good reason for the nine car field for the final.
Always one ready for a challenge, Schell would make a great start and would be ahead of Salvadori challenging Hawthorn for the lead of the race. Once he had a head of steam built it was almost impossible to bring Schell down, unless his car did. Therefore, Hawthorn and Schell would begin to pull away from Salvadori despite Roy driving a solid race himself.
Hawthorn would be harried greatly by Schell. Hawthorn would respond by turning the fastest lap of the race. Still, Schell could not be shaken and would continue to apply tremendous pressure on Hawthorn. Meanwhile, Salvadori would slip further and further back of the tremendous battle. Being chased by a Formula 2 Connaught A-Type driven by Tony Brooks, Salvadori knew he had the power to maintain his solid 3rd, and therefore, would not push too hard in an effort to try and reel in Hawthorn and Schell. Though this could have been considered giving up, after the retirement in the British Grand Prix, it was a smart move to help the team maintain momentum and confidence moving forward.
Schell's confidence was riding high as he continued to harass Hawthorn. Still, Hawthorn would have an answer for the American and would maintain his lead. The battle would go right down to the very last lap of the race. Heading down the hill and around the final bend heading for home, Hawthorn maintained the lead and had managed to pull out a pit of an advantage crossing the line a second and a half in front of Schell who would finish thirty-one seconds ahead of Salvadori in 3rd.
Though the result would not be a 1st or 2nd as had been the norm throughout the first half of the season, Salvadori's consistent run to 3rd place would help the team after the disappointment at Aintree. The team could maintain its confident focus heading into the later-half of the season.
The calendar rolled over to August. And on the 13th of month Gilby Engineering would be busy preparing for a race held at the very place its season had begun. On the 13th of August, the 3rd RedeX Trophy race was scheduled and would be contested on the 2.70 mile Snetterton circuit.
Returning to Snetterton had the potential of being a shot in the arm for the Gilby team. By no means was its season spiraling out of control, but the British Grand Prix had been its lowest point and the 3rd place at Crystal Palace had the feel of being about nipping the bad times in the bud more than about being on the attack and looking for another victory. Having already achieved victory at Snetterton earlier on in the season, the RedeX Trophy race, therefore, had the potential of being a race where Gilby got back to its winning ways.
Unfortunately, the return to Snetterton would be greeted with an entry list full of potent Formula One competitors. Not only had Vandervell brought two of his Vanwalls to the event but Stirling Moss would also be in the field with his own Maserati 250F. Even Louis Rosier would be present for the race driving his own Maserati. Needless to say, if Salvadori and the Gilby team were to achieve victory it would truly have to earn it.
The challenge would become all the tougher at the conclusion of practice. Stirling Moss would be the fastest in practice and would take the pole. He would be joined on the front row by Harry Schell in 2nd, Horace Gould in 3rd and Ken Wharton in 4th. Roy Salvadori would barely make it onto the second row of the grid as he would start the race in 7th.
The race distance would be nearly 68 miles and meant the race would be just 25 laps in length. This would give little time in case of a mistake or a bad start. One who would not make a bad start would be Harry Schell and Ken Wharton. They would be on the move early. But they would also have Stirling Moss to worry about. Jack Brabham would be another that would get away from the line very well and would in front of Salvadori in his Cooper-Bristol T40.
Salvadori would improve upon his starting position but would find moving up the order extremely difficult. He would even not be able to handle Brabham in the T40 and would settle into position just outside the top five. Stirling Moss would be pushing hard in his Maserati and would even go on to set the fastest lap of the race. But as the race wore on, this would do little to help his chances at victory.
Peter Walker's retirement in the B-Type Connaught and Salvadori's ability to get ahead of Louis Rosier meant that, in the later stages of the race, he would be running in 5th place, but this would be a far cry from the last time he had scored victory. But this time, the competition would be wholly different.
Schell was in a racing mood on this day and would pull away from his Vanwall teammate Ken Wharton. Averaging nearly 81 mph, Schell would power his way to victory some eleven seconds ahead of Wharton and nearly nineteen seconds ahead of Moss in 3rd.
Salvadori just could not do anything with Jack Brabham over the course of the 25 lap race. Though Brabham started the race 11th on the grid, he would be clearly home in 4th place ahead of Salvadori in 5th.
The 5th place would be the worse race finish result the Gilby Engineering team had experienced to that point in the season. Seemingly having their way through the first half of the season, when finding itself on equal footing with its competition, the team was finding itself coming up wanting. The team needed a turn-around.
True competitors will face their failures squarely in the eye and will actually look forward to the next time they can face-off against the very foe that had beaten them before. And, on the 3rd of September, Gilby Engineering and Roy Salvadori would have its opportunity.
The worse race the Gilby team had experienced to that point in the season had been the British Grand Prix at Aintree. However, in the early part of September the team would arrive back at Aintree in order to take part in the 2nd Daily Telegraph Trophy race. It would be the team's opportunity to exact revenge at the very place that had handed them their worse result. Furthermore, if the team could pull off a great result in Aintree, thereby defeating its greatest foe, then the team would certainly have confidence heading into the remainder of the season and would have no reason to back down.
The competition that would be present for the race would also have the opportunity of only further adding to the team's confidence if it could pull out a tremendous result. Stirling Moss would return looking for his second-straight victory in the race. Horace Gould and Louis Rosier would also be present at the wheel of Maseratis.
Moss would be quickest in practice and would take the pole. However, Salvadori would be impressive and would qualify for the race with a time even faster than his best effort for the British Grand Prix. Just six-tenths off of Moss' pace, Salvadori would also start from the front row in the 2nd place position. Gould would complete the front row having set a time two seconds adrift of Salvadori.
It was clear Salvadori had the pace to pull away from the rest of the field. The fight, then, would be between himself and Moss. Salvadori knew he needed to drive at a whole different level to pull off the victory, but he knew he could do it.
Jimmy Somervail would crash right at the start of the race and would not complete a single lap. Salvadori would be quick off the line and would be challenging for the lead straight-away. Despite being just 17 laps in length, attrition was playing a huge part in the events of the race. Cars would fall out of the running, mostly Formula 2 cars, left and right. By the 10th lap of the race, six cars would be out of the race.
Bob Gerard would show the fight and determination that he become well known for. Starting 4th on the grid, Gerard would make a great start and would frustrate the Formula One drivers throughout. He would get in front of Gould's Maserati and would manage to stay there lap after lap. Salvadori would also get in front of Moss. And when Moss' engine let go on the 14th lap, he would be pretty much left to himself to take the victory.
Salvadori would ascend to a higher level on this day. Not only would he put the pressure on Moss, but he would keep himself right on the limit throughout the whole of the race. He would turn the fastest lap of the race with a time more than a second faster than Moss' own pole-winning effort. And though Gerard would maintain his place in 2nd place, Salvadori's pace would be such that he had no chance of being able to reel in the Gilby Maserati.
It would be one of Salvadori's finest performances. He would return to the very place that had smitten him a couple of months earlier and would come out victorious in his return. Completing the 17 laps in thirty-six minutes and thirty-three seconds, Salvadori would enjoy a victory of margin of some fifteen seconds over Bob Gerard. Ten seconds further back would be the Maserati of Gould.
This would be a fantastic victory for Salvadori and Gilby Engineering. They would face some strong competition on a track that had bested them a couple of months prior and would come away victorious. Now, with just a couple of months remaining in the season, it certainly seemed as though Gilby was back on its charted course. Unfortunately, there were more challenging races yet to come.
Three weeks after earning glorious victory at Aintree in the Daily Telegraph race, the Gilby Engineering team would be at Oulton Park preparing for the 2nd Intenational Gold Cup race. If the race at Aintree had been a challenging event with some tough competition then the International Gold Cup could have qualified as a Formula One championship race.
Oulton Park Circuit would come into existence during the early 1950s. Based upon a portion of the Oulton Estate in Cheshire, England, the Oulton Park Circuit would be a departure from the airbases-turned motor circuits. Featuring plenty of undulation and blind corners, Oulton Park was anything but featureless and would be an immediate favorite with motor racing fans and drivers alike.
1954 would be the first year for the International Gold Cup. That first race would attract tens of thousands of fans and even more would return the following year for the 2nd edition of the race. All of these spectators would spread out along the 2.76 miles awaiting a truly competitive event.
Mike Hawthorn would be back driving for Scuderia Ferrari and would enjoy being able to drive the Lancia-Ferrari D50. He would set the fastest lap in practice with a time of 1:52.4. This time would end up being two-tenths of a second faster than Stirling Moss's effort in the factory Maserati 250F. The four-wide front row would be completed by Luigi Musso starting in 3rd and Eugenio Castellotti in 4th. This meant there would be two factory Ferraris and two factory Maseratis on the front row.
Facing some strong competition, Salvadori would need to push hard to earn a strong starting position. This would not be an easy thing for Salvadori to do. And by the end of practice, Salvadori would find himself on the second row of the grid in the 7th position overall. His best time would be three and a half seconds slower than Hawthorn's effort.
Salvadori would surely have a fight on his hands. And as the field roared away, this fact would become all the more clear. Stirling Moss would be immediately on the pace and would be pressuring Hawthorn for the lead of the race and would be leaving everyone else behind. Unfortunately, that would include Salvadori as well.
Moss would be driving on a whole different level compared to everyone else in the field. Even Hawthorn at the wheel of a D50 could not keep up with Moss in his Maserati. Anchored by a fastest lap time just six-tenths of a second slower than his own qualifying effort, Moss would continually pull away from Hawthorn and the others over the course of the 54 lap race.
Castellotti would start the race from the front row. However, as the race wore on, Castellotti would begin to fade. This would offer Salvadori a rare opportunity to move forward in the running order. Still, Roy would find the going difficult and just could not find that next level that he had exhibited at other times during the season.
Thankfully, Salvadori's movement up the running order would be helped by the misfortune of others. Harry Schell would start the race from the 5th position on the grid and would look strong driving the Vanwall. However, on the 17th lap of the race Schell would drop out of the running due to a mechanical failure. This would also help Salvadori move forward without having to push his way past others out on the circuit.
While Salvadori was having trouble moving forward, Moss was having absolutely no problem leaving everyone else behind. Averaging nearly 86 mph around the 2.76 mile Oulton Park Circuit, Moss would be all by himself as he crossed the line to take his second-straight victory. A minute and six seconds would be the margin of victory he would enjoy over Hawthorn. Moss would enjoy more than a lap advantage over Desmond Titterington finishing in 3rd place in one of the Vanwalls.
Reg Parnell would have to be the other intriguing story of the race behind Moss. Starting 9th on the grid, Parnell would be on the fly throughout the race and would even make his way past Salvadori in the running order. Unfortunately, this meant Salvadori would not be able to move up the running order even more. In fact, Salvadori would only manage to complete the race in 5th place and would be more than 2 laps down to Moss.
The International Gold Cup would not unfold as Gilby Engineering certainly had hoped and believed. Facing strong competition, Salvadori just would not be able to rise to that next level to challenge for a podium finish. Still, the result would be a solid one and would be a result the team would be able to build upon for the last month or so of the season.
A week after the difficult challenge of the International Gold Cup, Gilby Engineering would find itself facing another great contest. On the 1st of October, the team would be at Castle Combe for the 1st Avon Trophy race. The entry list for this race would include a number of strong factory teams like Scuderia Ferrari and would also include a number of other competitive privateers. This meant the end of the season was turning out to be much more difficult than the beginning.
Castle Combe would not make things any easier. Yet another former airbase from the Second World War, Castle Combe would happen to be one of the shorter circuits. Despite being just 1.84 miles in length, the circuit would not play out like most short circuits. It is a fast circuit and even in 1955 average speeds around the circuit were touching 90 mph.
Looking at the entry list of the race it seemed certain the Avon Trophy race would be a repeat of the International Gold Cup just about a week earlier. However, as the teams began to arrive, it would become evident that many of the competitive privateers and factory efforts would not make the trip to take part in the race. Included in those that would not make the trip would be Scuderia Ferrari, Owen Racing and Stirling Moss' own Maserati.
While this seemed like a reprieve for Salvadori, the nature of the circuit and of the remaining competition would be such that the road would still be rough going. Harry Schell would further bolster this claim when he took the pole in a Vanwall. Horace Gould would find himself starting 2nd. Bob Gerard would continue to impress in the Cooper-Bristol T23. He would be fast enough around the circuit in practice to start from the 3rd position on the front row. Tony Brooks would also be impressive in another Formula 2 car. Driving a Connaught A-Type, Brooks would complete the front row in the 4th position.
Salvadori certainly wasn't as dominant as what he had been at the start of the season. Instead of starting from on pole or somewhere on the front row, he would find himself starting the race at Castle Combe in the 5th position, which was on the second row of the grid. What's more, his best lap time in practice would be nearly three seconds slower than Schell's in the Vanwall. This would be a little disconcerting.
The Avon Trophy race would not be a short event. At 55 laps, or 101 miles, the race would test the cars and the drivers, especially given the high average speeds. And, as the field roared away around the kink at Folly, the pace of Schell and the other front-runners would be such that it would be clear drivers and car alike would be severely tested.
Peter Collins would be one of the first casualties of the race dropping out after completing 10 laps. The de Dion suspension would fail on the car compromising the handling, and thereby, ruining any chance at a top result.
Meanwhile, Harry Schell would be flying at the front of the field. At the wheel of the Vanwall, Schell would find Gould not to be competitive enough to really challenge for the lead. As a result, Schell would continually and gradually pull away from the rest of the field. Aided by setting the fastest lap of the race with an average speed of 90 mph and a lap time faster than his own pole-winning effort, Schell would enjoy more than a ten second advantage over Gould before too long.
Once again, Salvadori would not be able to rise to that next level in order to move up in the running order and to challenge Schell for the lead. Instead, like Oulton Park, Salvadori would be mired further down in the order unable to really make any headway.
One of the reasons for Salvadori lack of progress would be Bob Gerard. Tony Brooks would fade over the course of the race and Salvadori would get by to take over the 4th place position in the running order. However, Gerard would make his Cooper-Bristol as wide as possible and would do everything he could to keep Salvadori behind him. It would work. Lap after lap, Salvadori would find himself behind Gerard unable to use the power of the Maserati to get by the Cooper.
Out front, Schell only continued to leave everyone else behind. And heading into the final lap of the race, Schell would enjoy a lead of around twenty seconds over Gould. Through Folly, around Paddock Bend and down Dean Straight, Schell was in command and unchallenged. Sliding through Camp Corner for the last time, Schell would take an easy victory defeating Gould by exactly twenty seconds. Nearly thirteen seconds later, Gerard would come across the line to take a well-earned 3rd place. Salvadori would cross the line a very quiet 4th.
Salvadori and the Gilby team seemed unable to achieve the same kind of fireworks as they had earlier on in the season. In the Avon Trophy race, Salvadori's only move would be on Brooks driving a Connaught A-Type. After that, his progress would stall. This seemed a far cry from the performance that saw Salvadori take victory over Stirling Moss and others at the Daily Telegraph Trophy race where he had not only taken victory but set the fastest lap. Instead of being aggressive, it seemed like Salvadori and the team were merely hanging on until the season came to an end.
If Gilby Engineering was holding on until the end of the season it would finally be able to let go on the 23rd of October. The cancellation of a number of races due to the tragic events at Le Mans meant Gilby Engineering never left the British Isles at any time, whereas in 1954 the team at least made the trip to Reims to take part in the French Grand Prix. However, that would all change at the end of October as the team would pack everything up, heading across the Channel and carry on until reaching the island of Sicily. The team would be heading to Sicily to take part in the 5th Gran Premio di Siracusa, a race that had been formerly one of the first non-championship races on the calendar.
Measuring 3.48 miles and located to the west of Syracuse, the public roads that coursed through the rolling terrain ensured some high average speeds. Given the routing of the circuit, the drivers would not get to enjoy much of the incredible culture and architecture. However, they would have the opportunity to pay homage to the about 1,000 men buried at the Commonwealth War Graves cemetery. These soldiers died in and around Syracuse at the time of the Second World War and would be right along one of the straights that made up the circuit.
The previous year saw the Gran Premio di Siracusa almost become a grave memorial for Mike Hawthorn when he crashed his Ferrari up against one of the concrete walls lining the sunken circuit. Fire would erupt and Hawthorn would escape the car with some burns. It could have been a whole lot worse had it not been for Jose Froilan Gonzalez stopping to help his fellow Ferrari teammate out of his car. Unfortunately, Ferrari would lose two cars as a result of the incident.
No doubt remembering the nearly tragic events from the previous year, Scuderia Ferrari would not send a single car to take part in the race. However, the factory Maserati team would be represented en mass as they would enter no fewer than five cars under their factory name. This meant some more incredibly tough competition for Salvadori.
Somewhat newcomer, Luigi Musso, would be quickest in practice and would start his Maserati on pole. Sandwiched in the middle of the front row would be Luigi Villoresi. Somewhat lost without his pupil Alberto Ascari, Villoresi would still show impressive pace and would be just a little more than a second slower than Musso. Tony Brooks would be impressive at the wheel of the Connaught B-Type. He would complete the front row starting in the 3rd position.
Despite also driving a Maserati 250F, Salvadori would be nowhere near the top five after practice. Instead, Salvadori would find himself all the way down on the fourth row of the grid in the 10th spot. This meant a lot of ground would have to be made up if Salvadori and Gilby had any hopes of ending the season as they had started it.
The Gran Premio di Siracusa would be every bit the World Championship race, though it would not be an official championship event. Total race distance would be 243 miles, or, 70 laps. The race would certainly be a grand prix and one fitting final test for the grand prix season.
The extensive list of Maserati 250Fs in the field, plus the fact they were Italian-built, meant Maserati had to have been considered the favorite coming into the race. However, right from the start of the race Tony Brooks would be impressive in the Connaught and would be pestering the Maserati hive looking for the outright lead. The consummate underdog in this situation, Brooks would be fearless in the Connaught having absolutely nothing to lose. He would challenge all of the Maserati drivers, including Salvadori, to a race to the finish.
Unfortunately, for just the second time all season long, Salvadori's Maserati would not be up to the challenge. Though facing an incredibly difficult situation after practice anyway, the belief amongst the Gilby team was that it could end the season on a bright note. However, on the 16th lap of the race, that note would turn flat as a split in the fuel tank would lead to Salvadori departing the race, thereby throwing away any opportunity to end the season the same as it started—with a victory.
Brooks would be sharp throughout the 70 lap race. He would look the challenge presented him right in the eye and would make the Connaught respond. He would push hard putting his competitors in a tough position. Either they could lay back and wait for the Connaught to expire due to the insane pace, or, they too could try and go with Brooks and take some chances themselves. Really, none of the Maserati drivers would decide to do the later. Instead, drivers, like Musso, would carry on with their own race strategies fully expecting the B-Type Connaught to retire.
And who could blame them. Brooks' pace throughout the race would have certainly seemed like insanity. Brooks' best effort in practice would land him a 3rd place starting position, but it would be on the front row. However, during the race his pace would be such that many would come away confused as to exactly why he didn't start on pole. Lap after lap Brooks maintained his crazy pace. But then he would go even further. Brooks had been on the limit from the very beginning of the race but then he would reel off one lap they would nearly defy all logic. Brooks would come through across the line and would catch the attention of just about everyone up and down the pits as he clicked off a lap time of 2:00.2 at an average speed of 102.36mph. This would be an amazing time. Not only would it be a little more than five seconds faster than his best effort in practice but it would be more than three seconds faster than Musso's own pole-winning time. This was an incredible achievement and only further increased his lead over Musso and the rest.
Had it not been for Musso, Brooks would have absolutely destroyed the competition. Still, he would do a pretty good job of that anyway. Averaging 99 mph, Brooks could have walked the car across the line to take the victory. Finishing the race distance in a little under two hours and twenty-five minutes, Brooks would defeat Musso by just over fifty seconds. The gap back to 3rd and on down through the field would be even greater. Luigi Villoresi would hold on to finish the race in the 3rd position but would find himself more than two laps down in the end.
What a contrast in performances. While Brooks would put together one of the most masterful and mind-blowing performances, Salvadori's final act of the season couldn't have been more disappointing. There would be no end to the 1955 season like that which the team had earned in 1954. And the trip to Sicily would end up being the wasteful event in which the team would take part throughout the whole of the season.
The disastrous British Grand Prix would serve as the turning point in Gilby Engineering's season. The first half was full of success. The later-half was mostly full of desperation and hanging on for dear life. Still, the team would manage to put together flashes of the same brilliance with which it shone earlier on. The victory at Aintree should be considered one of the best performances of the year for the team as they managed to overcome the setback suffered during the British Grand Prix and would come away with a well earned victory. Nonetheless, once the events transpired causing Salvadori to retire during the British Grand Prix, it was clear the Gilby team struggled to regain its focus and confidence. The fact the team still managed to pull together and earn some strong results would certainly have to be a testament to the team's real strength. And, had it not been for the unfortunate result in the British Grand Prix it is clear the team had the potential for even greater success.
The strength of the team would not be lost to everyone at Gilby Engineering. Though the season did not end as they would have liked, the team still headed into the off-season with reason to be confident about the future. And given the way the team performed straightaway in 1955 there was every reason to expect more success for 1956. And while Sid Greene may have only had the use of one arm he realized he had all of the necessary elements to be competitive and had reason to be confident of the team's abilities despite the handicaps they faced in 1955.