TeamsGilby Engineering: 1956 Formula One Season By Jeremy McMullen
Sid Greene could not emulate the same kind of achievements behind the wheel of his racing car as he had while serving in the military during the Second World War. However, when he decided to make the switch to team owner he would do so with absolute commitment. Especially in national Formula One events, Gilby Engineering would be a serious player from the very beginning in 1954.
Gilby Engineering Co Ltd. would focus primarily on national Formula One events and would routinely be amongst the top ten or better. Aided by the talents of all-around driver Roy Salvadori, Gilby Engineering would often start up near the front of the field and would remain right there to the very end.
While Salvadori would be a big part of the team's success, a great deal of credit needed to be passed along to the chariot in which Salvadori rode. The return of Formula One regulations to the World Championship in 1954 would change things again after two years of the Formula 2 era. Many manufacturers would take their Formula 2 cars and would evolve them to conform to the new Formula One regulations. One of those manufacturers, however, would be prepared with a new car. After two years of Ferrari dominance, Maserati's 250F would take over the role of must-have chassis, at least until the Mercedes-Benz W196 appeared on the scene.
The W196 was not available to customers. Therefore, for teams, like Gilby Engineering, only the Maserati 250F would really do if the team was truly serious about making an impression in Formula One. Therefore, the demanding Sid Greene knew exactly what he needed in order to compete.
Amongst the national Formula One events the Gilby Engineering team would be competitive straight-away. In many ways it would be impressive to see a brand new team doing so well. However, throughout the three World Championship events in which the team would take part between 1954 and 1955 the team would fail to finish all three. As a result, the team would be humbled amongst the best teams on the larger stage. So, as the team headed into the 1956 season the team would not only be looking for continued success on the national scene, but would also be looking for their first finish in a World Championship race.
The 1955 season had started for the team with the Easter Monday races at Goodwood. In the 3rd Glover Trophy race Roy Salvadori had started from the 2nd position on the grid but managed to guide chassis 2507 on through to victory. It would be an impressive performance for the team as Salvadori would not only take the victory but would also post the fastest lap of the race. Therefore, considering the success the team experienced the year before, it would not be at all surprising the team would make its 1956 debut also at the 4th Glover Trophy race on the 2nd of April.
In many respects Goodwood was just like, and therefore rather fitting, to Sid Greene. Like Greene, Goodwood would gain its reputation during the Second World War as an auxiliary fight base attached to RAF Tangmere. Following the end of the war, the Duke of Richmond looked for a use for the land. A keen motor racing enthusiast himself, the Duke would make the decision to turn the land over to become a fast 2.39 mile racing circuit.
The Glover Trophy race was just one of a number of events that would be a part of the Easter Monday races held at the circuit. However, the race would be one of the longer events of the day and would often attract some of the best Formula One teams England had to offer. Sure enough, in 1956, Gilby Engineering would have to face entries like Stirling Moss, Connaught Engineering, Walker Racing and Owen Racing Organization. However, in 1956, Gilby would also square off against such teams as Equipe Gordini and Ecurie Rosier.
The presence of such strong teams would make for a very competitive grid. Stirling Moss would prove to be the fast of the group posting a time of 1:32.0 in his own Maserati 250F. Archie Scott-Brown would be impressive at the wheel of a B-Type Connaught posting a time just six-tenths of a second behind Moss. The rest of the four-wide front row would include Mike Hawthorn in 3rd place driving a BRM 25 for Owen Racing and Bob Gerard completing the front row in yet another Connaught B-Type.
Roy Salvadori would be some 4 seconds off of Moss' efforts around the same 2.39 mile circuit. Still, he would just miss out on the front row, and instead, would start from the 5th position, or, the first position on the second row.
Though Salvadori had started the race from the second row of the grid he had reason to be confident. He had already won a race earlier in the day when he piloted a Cooper-Climax to victory in the Lavant Cup race. Unfortunately, the victory would be marred by the death of fellow competitor Bert Rogers.
As the race got underway, Stirling Moss seemed utterly in control. Even behind the wheel he looked unperturbed and entirely effortless. This relaxed style seemed to be slow, but the hallmark of a true talent is the ability to make it look easy. And as he posted a fastest lap time nearly 2 seconds faster than his own qualifying effort, he certainly did make it all look easy.
Following along behind Moss would be a driver with a totally different look. Roy Salvadori would be absolutely determined behind the wheel of the Maserati and would make a great start from the second row to be within reach of Moss.
The other major competitors, like Hawthorn and Scott-Brown, would not be so fortunate. Ken Wharton, who would be driving an older Ferrari 500, would be out of the race after just one lap as a result of engine failure. Tony Brooks, who had wowed everyone at the wheel of a B-Type Connaught at Syracuse only months before, would also not make it 10 laps before he would also be out of the running. Scott-Brown and Hawthorn would last a bit longer but would still run afoul of issues and misfortunes that ended their day.
Powering toward the checkered flag at the end of the 32 lap race, it would be two Maseratis leading the way with a fleet of Connaught B-Types giving chase, but well behind. Averaging over 94 mph throughout the whole of the race, Moss would enjoy a steady margin over Salvadori despite all of Roy's best efforts. The rest of the field would be well back, if not a lap or more down.
It would take 48 minutes and 50 seconds for Moss to come through the victor. Salvadori would not be able to repeat his victorious performance from the previous year but he would still make Gilby Engineering proud finishing just about 3 seconds behind in 2nd place. Following along behind Salvadori some 32 seconds behind would be Les Leston driving for Connaught Engineering.
Gilby Engineering would start out the 1956 season strongly. A solid 2nd place performance behind Stirling Moss was certainly nothing to be upset about. Salvadori had shown determination and had delivered after starting from the second row of the grid. If such performances could be repeated the team could expect some very good results throughout the whole of the season. The big variable, however, could best be defined by the one word, 'if'.
The season had started out strongly for Gilby Engineering and they looked to keep the momentum going in their favor. Therefore, just a little more than a couple of weeks after the 2nd place finish in the Glover Trophy race at Goodwood, the team would be making final preparations to take part in the 11th BARC Aintree ‘200' race held at Aintree on the 21st of April.
Raymond Mays may not have had much success with his British Racing Motors brainstorm but one of his other ideas would become very popular. Aintree Racecourse had been well known as the site of the Grand National Steeplechase. However, in 1955, the 3.0-mile racecourse would take center stage as host of the British Grand Prix. Hosting its first motor races at the end of 1954, Aintree would become a busy venue from then on. And, in 1956 the site would become host to what had been formerly the JCC 200.
As with the Glover Trophy, the BARC Aintree race would draw the best Formula One teams England had to offer. Most all of those who had been at Goodwood a couple of weeks earlier would be at Aintree. This promised great competition and another opportunity for Salvadori and Gilby Engineering to show what it could do in 1956.
Unfortunately, it would be Archie Scott-Brown that would show strongest in practice. His lap of 2:03.8 would be more than 2 seconds faster than Mike Hawthorn and would easily give him the pole for the 67 lap, 200 mile, race. Desmond Titterington made it two B-Type Connaughts on the front row when he claimed the 3rd spot.
Mere hundredths of a second would separate three competitors battling it out for the two second row spots. Stirling Moss would slightly edge Roy Salvadori, and so, the two combatants from Goodwood would be side-by-side on the grid at Aintree.
Nearly two and a half hours of racing lay before the 13 car field. Therefore, the BARC Aintree would certainly serve as a great test for the GIlby Engineering team. Very quickly it would go to prove the uncertainty of motor racing.
The race would start with Stirling Moss and Tony Brooks looking very strong. Moss would leap up toward the front of the field while Brooks would follow suit. After just 4 laps Mike Hawthorn's brakes would fail on the Owen Racing BRM 25 forcing him out of the race. Archie Scott-Brown would last just a little while longer before engine failure ended his day. Therefore, Moss would be free to roam all by himself out front with Brooks and the rest of the field giving chase.
At Goodwood, Salvadori's Maserati seemed capable of running at any speed without fail. This would not be the case just two weeks later. Just as Reg Parnell was departing the scene with overheating problems, Roy Salvadori would be seen pulling out of the race with bearing failure. Just like that, after just 5 laps, the race would be over for Gilby Engineering and it became clear the team could not take anything for granted.
Tony Brooks would be flying in the BRM 25. He would go on to post the fastest lap of the race with a time less than a second slower than Scott-Brown's qualifying effort. Still, Moss would be out front looking calm and relaxed as always. In fact, despite Brooks' incredible efforts, Moss would only add to his sizable margin.
In many respects the competitors would be competing against attrition and themselves, instead of each other. Over the course of the race many of the favorites would be taken out of the running. Those remaining would become quite spread out. And with just 5 cars still circulating toward the very end of the race, the event would become rather boring.
The only intriguing aspect to the final moments of the race would be watching Moss. He would be at his best on this day and the results would reveal the fact. After 2 hours and 23 minutes, and while averaging a little more than 82mph, the man who gained his first World Championship victory on the very same circuit the year before would cruise to victory. The margin of victory would be devastating as Moss enjoyed more than a lap advantage over Brooks who had gone on to maintain the fastest lap of the race honors. Jack Brabham would finish in 3rd place in another Maserati 250F but he would be a further 2 laps behind Brooks.
The fantastic start to the season had come to a very realistic and unfortunate end at Aintree. The team needed to make sure the setback did not rob them of too much momentum going forward. Just two weeks would pass before the team would find out.
After travelling from the south of England to the northwest, the team would be on the move again. This time the team would be just to the north of London and the familiar grounds of Silverstone. They would be there for the 8th BRDC International Trophy race held on the 5th of May.
Perhaps the most famous of the former World War II airfields-turned motor racing circuit, Silverstone would first come to be as a motor racing venue in 1947 when a group of local racers assembled and took part in a competition around the former bomber training base. Unfortunately, that first event would have its first fatality when a sheep would be struck by a competitor and killed.
The BRDC International Trophy race would first come to be held at Silverstone two years later, but would be the first to take part in a race around the perimeter road only. The British Grand Prix had been held there the year prior but made use of the runways, as well as, the perimeter. That would all change with the International Trophy race in 1949.
The non-championship International Trophy race had been one of the more popular events and would draw some of the best teams and drivers throughout its early history. And, with the British Grand Prix returning to the circuit in the summer of 1956, the event would again boast of a field of top teams and drivers.
The International Trophy race had changed the layout of the Silverstone Circuit, but it too would undergo some changes throughout the early part of its existence. Prior to the 1955 running of the race the International Trophy race consisted of heat races and a final. That would change in 1955 and would remain intact for 1956.
Instead of heat races, all of the competitors would be fighting it out for starting positions and over the course of the 60 lap race. Stirling Moss had been on an absolute roll winning two of the previous non-championship Formula One races on English soil. This confidence would carry on to Silverstone. Driving for the Vandervell Products Ltd team, he would take and lap the 2.90 mile circuit with a time of 1:42. This would be just mere tenths of a second faster than teammate Harry Schell but would be good enough to give him the pole. Just because Moss had the pole didn't mean the race was over, however. Also present at the race would be his former Mercedes teammate, Juan Manuel Fangio. Now driving for Scuderia Ferrari, Fangio would take the Lancia D50 and would grab the 3rd place starting position. Then there would be Mike Hawthorn. He had struggled with the BRM 25 to that point in the season but he would still be right there on the final front row starting spot looking ready to pounce if the opportunity presented itself.
Despite the presence of Ferrari in the field, Salvadori continued to show his prowess around British circuits. His best lap in practice would be just a couple of seconds slower than Moss. Therefore, he would start the race from the middle of the second row in the 6th position.
At the start of the race Moss would make a poor start and his former teammate Fangio would have the better of him throughout the early going of the race. Salvadori would get away alright and would also look strong, but would have to keep thinking toward the finish of the race given the unfortunate problems suffered a couple of weeks prior.
Meanwhile, at the front of the field, Moss would be rolling in the Vanwall. Recovering from his poor start, Stirling would find that he could pass his old teammate, and multiple world champion, with ease just about any time he wanted. This would be made easier when Fangio retired from the race after 20 laps with clutch failure. Fangio would end up being just one of a number that would fall prey to attrition as the reputation of the Silverstone circuit continued to live on. Parnell, Hawthorn, Schell, Fangio, Collins and Mike Oliver would all be victims of Silverstone's attacks on reliability.
This gave Moss a tremendous advantage at the front of the field. His own pace would help a lot though. More than a dozen laps he would complete within a second of his pole time. In fact, he would only slow when he began to notice oil smoke in the cockpit. As a result, he would back off the pace a little bit but would still enjoy a comfortable margin over the rest of the field.
Moss would find himself comfortably in the lead for Salvadori just could not match the drive and determination of his fellow countryman, nor of his own performance at Goodwood. It seemed as though Salvadori was struggling with his car around the 2.90 mile circuit. And then, on the 47th lap, the car would finally get the better of him as he would crash out of the race.
It really wouldn't have mattered if he been still running by the end of the race. Moss was in such an untouchable place that the best Salvadori could have done on that day would have been to battle it out for second-best honors.
Moss would cruise to his third-straight victory and would do so in the same style in which he had taken victory at Aintree. Finishing the race in just under one hour and forty-five minutes, Moss would have more than a lap in hand over Archie Scott-Brown in 2nd place and would have 3 laps cushion over Desmond Titterington who would finish 3rd.
All of the momentum the Gilby Engineering squad had garnered in the first race of the season had disappeared by the time they load their broken Maserati onto the transporter. Not too often in life does one get a second chance. But that is exactly what the team would have presented to them in their next race of the season. And it would be important they took advantage of the opportunity before their World Championship assault began.
Gilby Engineering desperately needed to regain the moment it had lost. Two retirements in a row were setbacks the team really couldn't have with their World Championship rounds fast approaching. Therefore, the team would head back to the place where it had all started to go wrong in hopes that the second chance could turn things around for the team. So, on the 24th of June, Roy Salvadori and Gilby Engineering would be back at Aintree to take part in the 1st Aintree ‘100'. In a way, the team was looking for revenge.
The race would be a warm-up for the squad with the British Grand Prix fast approaching. Unfortunately the competition present at Aintree would not give the team a full test, but they would still have to work hard to do well.
Archie Scott-Brown would make sure that Salvadori and everyone else knew that neither he nor the Connaught Engineering team were easy push-overs as he would set the fastest time around the 3.0 mile circuit. In fact, Scott-Brown would be in a class unto himself in practice. His best lap of 2:05.8 would end up being nearly 5 seconds faster than the second place qualifier. That second place qualifier would be Salvadori, but the reason was rather straight-forward. The crash Salvadori endured at Silverstone meant the Maserati was not ready in time for the race at Aintree. On top of that, the fact that the British Grand Prix was looming on the horizon gave the team pause. They didn't want to repair the car and bring it out, only to have it run the potential of being damaged again. If that were to be the case it was doubtful the team could put it together fast enough for the most important grand prix on English shores. Therefore, the team would enter Salvadori with an A-Type Connaught.
The Formula 2 car really didn't stand much of a chance against the more powerful Connaught brethren. Still, Salvadori would do a great job putting the car 2nd on the grid. Yes, he would be 5 seconds slower than Scott-Brown, but he would out-qualify Horace Gould driving a 250F. The final spot on the front row would go to another Formula 2 Connaught A-Type driven by Bill Holt.
Prior to the race it was figured that Tony Brooks needed to be one to watch. However, engine problems prior to the start of the race would leave the Owen Racing team with the unfortunate decision of having to pull out of the race. This left just 8 cars ready to take the flag at the start of the 34 lap, 102 mile, race.
Given Scott-Brown's pace in practice it seemed as though he would run away with the race. However, as the race began and the laps began to tick off it would become apparent that Scott-Brown wasn't the lock everyone thought. In fact, Archie's race would last just 8 laps before problems would force the B-Type out of the race. This retirement opened the door to just about everyone else in the field…well everyone else who had an engine larger than a 2.0 liter displacement.
Salvadori would put together an impressive performance despite the obvious power disadvantage. While Horace Gould would come to the fore and would set the pace, Salvadori would work hard to keep the Formula 2 Connaught on the lead lap. This would not be an easy accomplishment given the length of the race, but that is what Salvadori continued to be able to do, lap after lap.
Gould would post the fastest lap of the race with a time just a couple of tenths away from Scott-Brown's pole-winning efforts. Still, Salvadori remained on the lead lap and headed up the fleet of Formula 2 cars in the field.
The strong and tenacious Bob Gerard was sitting in 2nd place behind Gould and usually is an absolute bear to try and tangle with, even when his car is deficient in some way. But on this day, even Gerard didn't have an answer. Gould would pull away from the field and would continue to do so as the race wore on.
Heading into the final couple of laps, averaging just over 83 mph, Gould would find himself comfortably out front. He would easily take the victory and would wait some 35 seconds before Gerard crossed the line in 2nd place. It would be another 25 seconds before Bruce Halford followed along in 3rd.
Salvadori would put together an impressive performance despite the power deficiencies. Maintaining his position at the head of the Formula 2 field, Salvadori would struggle and fight to remain on the lead lap by the end. And while it was close, he would come through in 4th place, still on the lead lap.
It had been a good all-around effort by the Gilby Engineering team. They had to switch cars, which put a lot of pressure on Salvadori to deliver, and he really would come through and do just that. Fighting to remain on the lead lap would not be an easy achievement around Aintree, and yet, he did it. Tough it wasn't their Formula One Maserati that earned the success it was still a fantastic result nonetheless and would go a long ways to restore the team's confidence. This would be important given the team's next race.
It was now the end of June, and that meant the French and, more importantly, the British Grand Prix were right around the corner. The Gilby Engineering squad had taken part in the French Grand Prix held at Reims back in 1954, and the result wasn't at all memorable. Therefore, the team would forget about travelling abroad, well at least across the English Channel, and instead, would focus on staying at home preparing for the home grand prix.
The team had gone to Aintree earlier in the year and had come away disappointed and with their momentum stalled somewhat. Then they travelled to Silverstone and had what momentum they had left totally stolen from them. Now, they did travel back to Ainree and managed to get some of the momentum back. Could they travel back to Silverstone, take part in the British Grand Prix and be right back to where they were following the Glover Trophy race back in April? The answer to this question would come on the 14th of July.
The Gilby Engineering team had proven to be fast at previous races. Even with the presence of Scuderia Ferrari, Stirling Moss and many of the other top drivers and teams, Salvadori and the team proved to be very competitive in the short haul. They just needed to put that speed with endurance and they would become real challengers.
As the cars were unloaded and the drivers began to take part in practice, it would become abundantly clear just the amount of work the team had before them. Taking to the 2.90 mile Silverstone circuit it would become abundantly clear the fight at the front of the field would be intense.
Stirling Moss would continue to show incredible form turning in the fastest lap in practice with a time of 1:41.0. Battling right there with him would be his former Mercedes teammate, Juan Manuel Fangio. The two would be within hundredths of a second of each other, but it would be Moss that would gain the upper hand and take the pole. Joining Moss and Hawthorn on the front row would be Mike Hawthorn driving a BRM. He would start in 3rd place. The final starter on the front row would be Peter Collins. Driving a Lancia-Ferrari like Fangio, Collins would gain the final spot on the front row by posting a time just a couple of seconds off of Moss' best.
Salvadori would show his mettle around the Silverstone circuit as well as he would post a time that would be within a second of the front row. Though he could not overcome the pace of the Vanwalls driven by Harry Schell and Jose Froilan Gonzalez, Salvadori would still find himself on the second row of the grid in the 7th position overall. This would put Salvadori in a good position heading into the race the following day.
The British Grand Prix would take place on Saturday, July 14th. And as the cars and drivers gathered on the grid, all would be greeted with conditions rather unseen at Silverstone over the course of the previous few years. Though the skies would be overcast, the conditions would be dry.
There would be 28 cars that would take to the grid preparing for the 101 lap race. As the flag waved to start the race, Hawthorn would make a fast start in the BRM and would jump into the lead. Tony Brooks would also get away well, jumping up from the third row of the grid to take over 2nd place in the running. Fangio would be the only other of the front row starters that would get away well at the start. He would hold down 3rd place while Collins and Moss slipped well down the running order. Salvadori, on the other hand, would follow Schell and Brooks forward and would be running inside the top eight through the first lap of the race. His forward movement would be helped slightly when former winner Jose Froilan Gonzalez failed to complete a single lap due to a drive shaft failure right at the start.
Salvadori continued to run right around 5th and 6th position through the first 8 laps of the race while Hawthorn continued to hold onto the lead over Brooks, Fangio and Moss. Moss would recover from his poor start and would be in 2nd place after 10 laps had been completed. Salvadori, who often had some spirited battles with Moss earlier on in the season, would follow him up through the running order and would soon be in a fine 3rd place, which would become a 2nd place spot in the running order when Mike Hawthorn's race came to an end due to an oil leak.
Salvadori was driving a determined and gritty race through the first 25 laps and was able to maintain his 2nd place position over Fangio, Brooks and Collins. It was an incredible performance by the all-around racer in the Maserati. As they had throughout the early part of the season, a British event would see Moss and Salvadori running 1st and 2nd.
The excitement of the moment would be quickly counterbalanced by the realization that the race was 101 laps in length and that Silverstone had a nasty reputation of being a car wrecker. This concern would be well founded given the fallout early on in the race. No less than 11 of the 28 starters would run afoul of problems prior to the halfway point of the race. Among those that would depart the running early would be the three BRMs of Brooks, Hawthorn and Flockhart, Maurice Trintignant, Jack Brabham and others. Brooks' departure would be dramatic and alarming as his car burst into flame after he crashed hard into the barriers. He would escape, however, with a broken jaw and some other bruised body parts. Salvadori, however, would continue to hum right along with Fangio doing his best to challenge for 2nd spot.
Moss was either going to win the race going away, or his car was going to go away. He continued to lap faster and faster. This put tremendous pressure on Salvadori to try and keep up, and therefore, stay ahead of Fangio and the others who desperately wanted to track Moss down. So Salvadori would continue to push as well. This would be detrimental to the Maserati. After running so well for more than half of the race, it would all come to naught after 59 laps when his engine let go. It would be an absolutely bitter moment for the team given that Salvadori clung on to 2nd place for some 30 laps. The souring engine would cause him to lose the position and drop down the order until he finally retired.
Fangio was now in 2nd place a good ways behind Moss. Moss would continue to lead the way and would continue to push harder and harder. Fangio would remain right there and would even manage to get by the Brit on the 69th lap. This would only serve to motivate Moss who would immediately pick up the pace and set what would be the fastest lap of the race. Unfortunately, this move would backfire as it would lead to gearbox issues that would see him lose his 2nd place position very late in the race.
Once in the lead, Fangio settled in and focused on driving a perfect race. This is what Fangio always did, and therefore, it was not at all surprising that he held onto a comfortable lead well clear of the struggling Moss and the steady Collins.
Some 7 laps from the finish Moss would finally drop out of the running with his gearbox issues. This would hand Collins 2nd place in the running order. Jean Behra had fought his way from 13th on the grid and would enjoy the spoils of the day. He would be running in 3rd place when Moss departed the scene.
Peter Collins had taken over Alfonso de Portago's Lancia-Ferrari rather late in the race because of oil pressure problems with his own Lancia. This would cause Collins to fall well behind Fangio and would be more than apparent in the final stages of the race.
Fangio would cross the line to take the victory entirely uncontested. More than a lap would be the difference as Collins crossed the line a while later to claim 2nd place in his home grand prix. Jean Behra would complete the podium finishing in 3rd place. He would be well back of Fangio as there would be more than 2 laps between he and the winner.
Salvadori had driven a spectacular race until the engine soured on the Maserati. On this day he showed himself to be more than capable of staying up there with the best in the world. The performance, though eventually ending in failure, still would have to be confidence-building for the team given Salvadori's ability to stay ahead of drivers, like Fangio, for long stretches of time. It was equally impressive that Salvadori had managed to come from 7th on the grid to run as high as 2nd. The performance, therefore, showed Gilby Engineering to be very capable, they just needed to be able to last.
Leaving Silverstone, the Gilby Engineering team knew that on any given day they could run with the best in the world. And though the results didn't necessarily reflect that, the team knew that when in the right element they could be unstoppable. They perhaps believed their next race, the 1st Vanwall Trophy race held at Snetterton, could be that opportunity.
The engine failure in the British Grand Prix would leave the team with a short amount of time to get ready for the next race, which would be just a couple of weeks later on the 28th of July. However, the team would work hard and would pull in to Snetterton right on time in order to take part in practice.
Coming into the event many of the top teams and drivers would not be present. Therefore, the Gilby Engineering team would have to be considered one of the favorites. Still, there were a number of strong Formula One efforts entered in the field.
However, in practice, Salvadori would show the same determination that had him running 2nd for so long during the British Grand Prix. He would go on to set the fastest lap time around the 2.70 mile circuit. This would give him the pole, but he would be joined on the front row by Archie Scott-Brown in 2nd place, Horace Gould in 3rd and Jack Brabham in 4th.
Snetterton was yet another former World War II airbase that had turned to become a motor racing circuit. However, Snetterton, or RAF Snetterton-Heath as it was known during the war, would not merely be some training base like Silverstone. In fact, Snetterton would be highly involved in bombardment and shuttling campaigns carried out all throughout the war. Home of the 96th Bombardment Group, Snetterton-Heath would have the distinction of playing host to a bombardment group that would be involved in some of the most famous and perilous bombing missions of the war. Therefore, it was only fitting that in 1952, the former airbase would turn to play host to some of the most famous teams and drivers within the world of motor racing.
The field for the 15 lap Vanwall Trophy race would be quite small with just 6 cars having arrived. Still, the 6 cars would take to the grid in preparation for the race. Salvadori and the Gilby Engineering team would look to capitalize upon its strong performance at Silverstone, a circuit rather similar to Snetterton.
But as the race got underway, it would become clear Salvadori would have some hard work ahead of him with the pace Scott-Brown was capable of turning out in the B-Type Connaught. Scott-Brown would be flying straight-away. Within a couple of laps he would turn what would end up being the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1:41.4 and at an average speed of nearly 96mph. This put a tremendous amount of pressure on Salvadori and the remainder of the field.
The pace would also prove to put a tremendous amount of pressure on Scott-Brown's Connaught as well. After 6 laps, Salvadori would find himself all alone as Scott-Brown would pull out of the race with an oil problem.
Driving as determined and tenacious as ever, Salvadori would pull out a very comfortable margin considering the brevity of the race. As with the British Grand Prix, it seemed the only way Salvadori could be stopped is if there was a problem with the car.
No such problem would be had and Salvadori would easily power his way to victory enjoying a very comfortable margin of victory of some 68 seconds over Horace Gould in 2nd place. Jack Brabham, future double World Champion, also would be unable to match Salvadori's pace on this day and would end up in 3rd place, but would be more than a lap behind by the end.
The victory would prove the pace shown at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix was no fluke and that the team had the ability to compete with the best in the world. Though the British Grand Prix would end in disappointment, Salvadori's performance in the race helped the team to regain some all-important momentum, and the victory at Snetterton only bolstered the team's confidence moving forward.
The British Grand Prix had shown the potential of the Gilby Engineering team if all of the pieces came together at the right time. The race at Snetterton only reinforced the point. This would give the team the necessary confidence to take on one of the toughest tests imaginable. Therefore, in early August the team would pack up the car and would head over to the European mainland for one of its few trips abroad. They would make their way to the European mainland and would carry on to Nurburg, Germany. They were headed to the fearful Nurburgring to take part in the 7th round of the Formula One World Championship, the German Grand Prix.
Even before the outbreak of World War II, there was a fearsome creature brewing just to the east of the Low Countries. Considered the most demanding and dangerous purpose-built circuit in all the world, the 14 mile long Nurburgring had the potential of striking fear into the hearts of racing drivers without even having seen the circuit. There are certain elements that are necessary for a natural road circuit. In the case of the Nurburgring, every element is exaggerated, and therefore, so too is the exhilaration and fear experienced each and every lap.
Very, very few would even become known as Ringmeister (Ringmasters). Of course there are such drivers as Rudolf Caracciola, Tazio Nuvolari and Bernd Rosemeyer. But even the late Alberto Ascari would have to be considered one of the best around the circuit. However, the circuit seemed to be perfectly suited to another driver, and in 1956, he just happened to be the reigning World Champion.
In the case of Roy Salvadori and Gilby Engineering, the Nurburgring proved to be a beast the two just could not slay, but they had not come to the event having built up such momentum. Perhaps 1956 would be different.
Teams would begin to unload their cars and would take to the epic circuit in preparation for the race scheduled for that Sunday, the 5th of August. It wouldn't be too long before Fangio showed just how comfortable he really was around the circuit. In spite of some rather heavy rainfall, he would go on to turn the fastest lap in practice in the Lancia-Ferrari with a time of 9:51.2. His Scuderia Ferrari teammate, Peter Collins, would be right there posting a time just three-tenths of a second off of Fangio's best, and therefore, would start from the front row in the 2nd place spot. Eugenio Castellotti would make it three Ferraris on the front row. The final spot on the front row would end up going to Stirling Moss with a time just over 10 minutes.
Throughout the first half of the season Salvadori had been able to qualify near the front of most grids. But while he would start near the front of the grid in the German Grand Prix, the difference in lap times to those on the front row would demonstrate Salvadori's lack of confidence around the more than 170 corners of the Nurburgring in the wet. Salvadori's lap time of 10:32.4 would put him down on the third row of the grid in the 9th position.
With the Nurburg Castle serving as the backdrop, the day of the race would see the sun come out, the circuit dry and the temperatures remain quite comfortable. It was going to be a beautiful day for a race through the Eifel Mountains. Although 21 cars would qualify for the race, just 20 would take to the grid in preparation of the start. Salvadori, if he could get things right off the line had a bit of an advantage with Cesare Perdisa's car missing from the second row, almost directly in front of him. A tremendous crowd assembled as usual and the engines would come to life, ready for 22 laps of the infamous circuit.
The flag would wave and the field would roar away with Fangio getting a strong start, but it would be Collins that would get off the line the best and he would lead the field through the South Curve. Fangio would be right there with him while Moss would show that he could not be forgotten. Salvadori would get the start he needed and would manage to use the hole in front of himself to move up in the running order as well.
By the end of the first lap, Collins would find Fangio's mastery of the circuit too much to hold back, and so, it would be Fangio in the lead over Collins, Moss and Jean Behra. Salvadori would continue to impress as he would make it through the first lap unharmed and in a strong 5th place position not too far behind Behra.
In the lead of the race, Fangio would settle into his usual master-mode and would clip the apexes beautifully to hold onto, and increase, his lead over Collins. Meanwhile, Moss would fight hard to keep touch with the Lancias that obviously suited the circuit a bit better than the Maserati. Salvadori would come through to complete the 2nd lap in the same 5th place position but would quickly find himself in trouble.
It was more than obvious Salvadori could not keep up with the firs four, even after the first lap, but it would soon become clear exactly why. Salvadori had shown great promise through the first couple of laps but his actions of taking his helmet and gloves off as the car slowly pulled to a halt in the pits identified that there was something seriously wrong with the Maserati. Sure enough, rear suspension failure would bring the day to an end.
The trouble would just keep coming over the course of the 22 lap race. Two drivers, Robert Manzon and Giogio Scarlatti would be out of the event without even completing a single lap. Four others would retire before 10 laps would even be completed. Among them would be Horace Gould, Umberto Maglioli and Eugenio Castellotti. Castellotti had had an eventful race even before he retired. He had already been in the pits once before after spinning and damaging his Ferrari as he tried to track down Moss. This misadventure would actually allow Salvadori to take over 5th place during his two laps.
Fangio would suffer no such problems and would have a few seconds in hand over Peter Collins, his teammate, running in 2nd place. However, the lead would only grow when Peter Collins would be the fourth to retire before 10 laps were gone. He would drop out of the running when he noticed fumes in the cockpit. Over time, the fumes got worse and were too much for him to try and deal with. Therefore, Fangio would be by himself with Moss a good ways back trying desperately to mount a challenge.
The day had already turned bad for Collins when the fumes in the cockpit forced him to retire from 2nd place. However, they would get even worse when he tried to re-enter the race with de Portago's Lancia. In pursuit of the leaders, Collins would spin and would suffer an accident that would take him out of the running again.
Fangio could not be touched this day. His pace only got faster. He would go on to set the fastest lap of the race on the 14th lap of the race. His lap time would be absolutely unbelievable, and a new lap record on top of it all. Posting a time of 9:41.6 around the 14 miles, Fangio averaged an incredible 87.53 mph and showed all that he truly was a Ringmeister.
Moss could do nothing against the might of the Lancia-Ferrari. He was more than comfortably ahead of Behra in 3rd place, and therefore, would focus on keeping the car in the running so to be able to maximize his points.
Fangio would certainly maximize his points as he would ease across the line to take the victory after more than three and a half hours of racing. As had happened so many times the year before when the two were teammates with Mercedes-Benz, Stirling Moss would follow the Argentinean home in 2nd place more than 46 seconds behind. The 46 second gap would seem like nothing as it would take over seven and a half minutes for Jean Behra to come into sight to take 3rd.
However, Salvadori and Gilby Engineering would have been happy being within an hour of Fangio in the end. But, in the end, the poor reliability of the Maserati would again bite and the team would lose out on a possible top result. It would be yet another bittersweet moment for the team. Driving as high as 5th place proved to the team it was capable, but the lack of reliability would more than mute the excitement. Still, the season wasn't over, nor was the team's time on the European mainland.
Immediately following the short run at the Nurburgring, Roy Salvadori would leave Germany and would head back to England. He would make his way to Brands Hatch to drive for the Cooper Car Company in the 1st Bank Holiday Formula 2 race. It would be a good thing he made the trip for although he would start the race from 9th on the grid he would go on to overcome Mike Hawthorn, Jack Brabham and others to take the victory.
While Salvadori would be busy claiming victory at Brand Hatch, the Gilby Engineering team would make its way back to England and would set about repairing the broken Maserati. The team could have confidence for Salvadori had shown great pace in the car. They just needed to overcome the reliability woes. Therefore, the crew would set about repairing the car looking toward the next race.
The next race for the Gilby Engineering crew would come three weeks after the German Grand Prix. However, the race would again be on mainland soil. Therefore, the team would pack everything up and would make the short jaunt across the Channel to the French town of Caen for the 4th Grand Prix de Caen held on the 26th of August.
There would be 13 cars that would be unloaded and prepared for practice. The vast majority of the entries would be small privateer teams. The only factory entries would come via three Equipe Gordinis and one factory Maserati entry for Harry Schell.
Throughout the year, against similar lineups, Salvadori had shown very strongly. And, during practice, he would keep up the appearances. Leaning upon the confidence gained from the victory in the Formula 2 race at Brands Hatch and a number of good performances throughout the year Salvadori would go on to take the pole. He would power his way around the 2.19 mile Caen circuit and would overcome a strong effort by Louis Rosier to secure the first position on the front row.
In World War II, especially during Operation Overlord, the tiny town of Caen would be of utmost importance. Boasting of a number of historical buildings built during the reign of William the Congueror, Caen has been a place of strategic importance from its earliest days. Unfortunately, its strategic location also meant it would be the subject of numerous invasions, sackings and sieges. In the case of Gilby Engineering, they would hope Caen would serve as the strategic jumping off point for a successful final push to what had been a rather bittersweet season.
As the flag waved to get the 70 lap, 153 mile, race underway, the best way the team would get their final push off to a good start would be to have a dominant victory. Salvadori would do his best to give the team just that as he would quickly get up to speed and would go on to set what would become the fastest lap of the race. However, it would soon become clear that being fast wasn't the biggest concern.
The Gilby team had been struggling with reliability problems all year long, but on this day, it wasn't unreliability they needed to be concerned about. Hermanos da Silva Ramos and Paul Emery would be early retirees. Their problems were not all that unusual, just engine failure and clutch problems. However, once the race reached the 10 lap mark a rather intriguing reoccurrence began. Horace Gould would complete 11 laps, and then, would make a mistake and would crash out of the race. Ten laps later, the same result would befall Bruce Halford. Another 10 laps would pass, and then, it would be Robert Manzon's turn to commit the same error. Louis Rosier would commit the same sin but would break the cadence by crashing out just 4 laps after Manzon.
So it certainly seemed the errors while driving would be the greatest undoing of the 13 car field. Fortunately, Salvadori would not error in the same way, but, he would still fall prey to some sort of ailments within the Maserati and would be forced to slow his pace somewhat to Andre Simon and Harry Schell.
The slowing of the pace would come to hurt Salvadori. Though he continued in the race, he was well off the pace and would end up going a lap down before the end of the race. Still, the team needed a finish more than anything.
Although Harry Schell would start the race down in 5th place, his factory Maserati would not run afoul of any problems and would absolutely leave everyone else well behind as he powered to the victory. Averaging a little more than 80 mph, Schell would take an easy win completing the race distance in a little under two hours. However, he would have nearly a minute and ten seconds in hand over Simon who would finish in 2nd place.
There was really nothing Salvadori could do against Schell's pace in the factory Maserati. Therefore, Salvadori would turn his focus toward finishing the race in the best position possible. Enjoying a lap advantage over Georges Burgraff, Roy would cruise home to a 3rd place finish and little more than a lap behind Schell.
Though certainly frustrating, especially given Salvadori's ability to turn the fastest lap of the race, the 3rd place was still good for the soul of the team. This, therefore, still had the potential of providing that confidence, that momentum the team needed for the final round of the 1956 Formula One World Championship was right down the road.
Okay, from Caen, the final round of the Formula One World Championship wasn't literally right down the road. In fact, the team would have to pack everything up and head some 700 miles down the road into Italy. Their ultimate destination was the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, the home of the Italian Grand Prix.
It was early September, and that meant it was time for the Italian Grand Prix held at the ultra-fast Monza circuit. And for the second year in a row, the 6.2 mile layout with the road course and the oval would be used. This meant the already insane high speeds would only remain high over the course of the 50 lap race distance. This also meant a lot of trouble for cars ailing with unreliability, just like Gilby's Maserati.
Nonetheless, the Gilby Engineering team would make the trip to Monza to take part in the final round of the championship. By this point in time the title was still in some doubt, but it certainly seemed certain that it would be Fangio claiming his third-straight championship title. However, there was still a lot to fight for, and given the fact he was now driving for Scuderia Ferrari meant this final round of the championship pretty much meant everything.
There was a lot for the Italian fans to celebrate. Not only was Ferrari back but the number of Maseratis entered in the field only had to fill the Italians with even more pride. It is undeniable that Greene and his team would have been more than happy to give the Italians something to cheer about if that meant his team finished near the top.
But one would have to figure that if there was ever a place Salvadori and the Maserati were ever going to have a problem it was going to have to be in Monza. Flat on the gas nearly the whole of a lap, the engines and transmissions would undergo an absolute torture test for the whole of the 50 laps. Therefore, unreliability seemed to be a given, and that included troubles for the Gilby team.
The year before, the Lancias were not the fastest around the 6.2 mile Monza circuit. However, with some work by the Ferrari team, that would all change one year later. Of course, it would help who was behind the wheel. This would be evident when Fangio came through and posted the fastest lap in practice with a time of just 2:42.6. Eugenio Castellotti, driving another Lancia-Ferrari, would give it his best shot but would come up eight-tenths of a second slower around the circuit, and therefore, would give Fangio the pole. After two years of Mercedes domination, the Tifosi would go crazy when Luigi Musso made sure that it was three Ferraris lined up along the front row when he posted a time a little more than a second off of Fangio.
Salvadori needed to be a little careful coming into the race. It seemed plausible that thoughts were such that the focus had switched toward long-term reliability. Salvadori, with his vast sportscar experience, was more than able to operate within this mindset, but it meant that he was likely going to be slower than what he had been at other times in the year. This approach, though not known, seems to be the plausible reason why Salvadori would be found down of the 5th row of the grid in the 13th position with a time a little more than 12 seconds slower than Fangio.
Just about every other time the World Championship had visited Monza it would do so under clear skies and warm temperatures, but not this time. As the large crowd assembled around the circuit, so too would the clouds. The skies were overcast and it seemed certain there would be some rain at some point during the race.
As the cars lined up on the grid, however, the track would be dry. Therefore, everyone could expect a torrid pace throughout the first part of the race. As the flag waved to start the race it would be Musso and Castellotti that would get the better jump off the grid. They would lead throughout the first lap while Fangio and Schell were locked in a tremendous duel behind them. Roy Salvadori would get a terrible start to the race and would actually fall further down the running order. While it would be Castellotti leading over Musso, Salvadori would fall from his 13th starting position to complete the first lap in 17th. This was not all that concerning given the length of the race and the trouble with reliability the team had experienced prior. Perhaps a relative slow and steady approach would be just what they needed.
Castellotti and Musso would be anything but slow. The two men would absolutely push each other, pulling away from the rest of the field. However, this would come to haunt the two men as each would throw a tread from their tires and would be forced well down in the order. This trouble would hand the lead to Moss who managed to get around both Fangio and Schell for the lead. Fangio still could not get the better of Schell and would soon suffer from a bent steering arm and would be forced to wait in the pits for another car.
This early action seemed to throw the championship into a state of unknown. Not at all concerned with the title fight, Salvadori continued to progress up the leaderboard and would find himself in 10th place at the same time Fangio pulled into the pits to wait upon another mount.
Salvadori continued to carefully lap the 6.2 mile circuit, which was no easy maneuver. The addition of the concrete banked oval made for very difficult conditions for just about every car and driver out there. Some cars handled the bumps of the banking well but didn't do well in between. Others could absolutely fly on the road course and in between the banking, but would suffer terribly on the oval. This would be the case for the Vanwalls, with the exception of Schell in 2nd place that just seemed impervious to the conditions, which now included a brief rain shower.
Collins would give up his hopes toward the World Championship when he sportingly handed over his car to Fangio for the remainder of the race. Meanwhile, Moss continued in the lead of the race while Luigi Musso would recover from his early misfortune to be in 2nd.
By this point in time in the race Salvadori was nowhere near the 9th place position he had managed to climb up to during the first half of the race. Just prior to halfway, problems would again arise with the Maserati and he would be forced down the leaderboard and would struggle from then on just to remain in the race. He would remain out there, but his pace was such that he was being lapped hand over fist.
It wasn't too hard to be lapped when the lap record is being shattered on an almost consistent basis. This is what Fangio would do upon taking over Collins' car. Not only would he be on the receiving end of a great sporting gesture, but he would put together some laps that certainly should have made Collins proud. Twice he would break the track record as he tried to maintain Collins' 3rd place.
Suspension failures and punctures would ravage the field, still Moss would be out front in the lead. But, he was not alone. Musso would recover from throwing a tread very early on in the race and would be all over Moss heading into the final stages of the race. It seemed as though there was nothing Moss could do. And, sure enough, Musso would take the lead of the race with only a handful of laps remaining in the race. Moss had performed brilliantly, but it seemed victory would be snatched away from him in the last moments.
The reality was, victory would be snatched away from Musso in the last moments. Only 3 laps remaining in the race, Musso would suffer yet another tire puncture and would be forced out of the race. This would hand the lead of the race back to Moss and would enable the flying Fangio to climb up to 2nd place in the order. Perhaps the most surprising entrant within the top five would be Ron Flockhart driving a Connaught B-Type. Musso's retirement meant he would be sitting in 3rd place. All he needed to do was to have the car carry on to the finish.
Carrying on to the finish was all that Salvadori had left. The Maserati's problems were prohibiting him from showing the form he had exhibited at other times in the season. As a result, he just focused on making it to the end. The team needed, desperately, to make it to the end of a World Championship race and that was what Salvadori intended on doing.
Musso's retirement seemed to hand the victory back to Moss, but he couldn't be all that sedate in his attempts to get to the checkered flag as Fangio's torrid pace had made it possible for him to draw within sight of his former teammate. It had been an incredible performance by Fangio. The last half of the race would see him come from a lap down to being within seconds of victory. But would there be enough time?
No. averaging a little more than 129 mph, Moss would close the distance to the checkered flag before Fangio could close any more on him. Flashing across the line, Moss would take a well-deserved victory by nearly 6 seconds over Fangio, who had put together one of the finest performances of his career in an attempt to track down Moss and the victory. It would be an amazing day for Ron Flockhart as well. Though he would finish a little more than a lap behind he would manage to carry the Connaught through to finish a very fine 3rd.
Determination and tenacity could have described Fangio's performance but they would be adjectives also due to Salvadori's performance in the Maserati. Clearly struggling, he would nurse the car around the circuit and would manage to finish the race some 9 laps behind. Unfortunately, the 9 laps in arrears meant the finish would not be classified in the results, but, the team managed to have a car make it to the end of its World Championship race. And, that would be an important result for the team given the struggles of the past.
Although the final round of the World Championship had been run, and it was now September, there were still some non-championship Formula One races on the calendar, and therefore, a couple more opportunities for the Gilby team to end the season on a very positive note.
Salvadori would be immediately back in England and would take part in the 2nd Sussex Trophy race driving for Cooper Car Company and would earn yet another victory behind the wheel of the Cooper-Climax T41. This time he would beat one Colin Chapman in a Lotus 11.
Following the race at Goodwood, Salvadori would again join the Gilby Engineering team. They would come together for one more race during the 1956 season. It would be held at Brands Hatch and would be the 1st BRSCC Formula One race. Brands would host the 1st BRSCC Formula 2 race, but that would come just one day after Salvadori's victory at Goodwood. This race, the Formula One BRSCC event, would take place on the 14th of October and would be the final Formula One event in Europe for 1956.
Amazingly, during World War II, Brands Hatch Circuit would be heavily involved in the fighting. It would serve as a military vehicle park during the war and this would also make it a target for enemy bombing during the early years of the war. As a result, the circuit would need some time to be rebuilt following the war.
Literally meaning 'wooded slope' and 'forest entrance', Brands Hatch could not be named any more properly. Featuring a banked start/finish straight that falls off down the hill through the fast Paddock Hill Bend, even the shorter circuit at Brands could not be describe as anything other than a pure road course and a delight. And it would be the shorter 1.24 mile course that would serve as host for the final Formula One event of the season in Europe.
Though it was the final Formula One race of the season the event would not draw the larger factory teams as one might expect. In fact, the largest 'factory' effort present would be Connaught Engineering, and they wouldn't disappoint bringing four cars to the race. At just 12 entries, the Connaught fleet represented one-third of the entire field.
This was going to be a tough gauntlet for Salvadori if he had any hopes of taking victory. What would make the job all the more difficult would be the brevity of the race. He wouldn't have 100 miles in which to be patient. He wouldn't even have 50. The race would be just 15 laps in length, and therefore, only cover a total of around 19 miles. So if he got behind early, it was likely he would stay behind against the likes of four B-Type Connaughts.
It wouldn't look too good just after practice. The talented, young Stuart Lewis-Evans would take the pole in one of the Connaughts after he posted a lap time of just 58.8 seconds. This time would be two-tenths of a second faster than another B-Type Connaught driven by Archie Scott-Brown. Les Leston would make it three-straight Connaughts on the front row when he posted a time of 59.4 seconds. Salvadori would be near the pace, but near wouldn't be good enough. In fact, he would be a second slower than Leston and a second and a half off of Lewis-Evans. Still, Salvadori would garner the 4th, and final, front row starting position. Therefore, if he could make a good start he could control the gaggle of Connaughts just waiting to swallow him whole.
Twelve cars would take to the grid in preparation for the 15 lap race. Just about 15 minutes of racing remained on the season, and that wouldn't be too much time for Salvadori to go and get one more moment in the sun. However, he had shown that early in races he was very strong. He would need every bit of his strength this day, however.
There would be more than one Formula 2 entry in the field. But, as the race got underway, it would become abundantly clear no 2.0-liter car was going to be able to contest against the big displacement engines. In the case of Alan Mann, his aged HWM-Alta would just give up the whole thing after just 2 laps. Paul Emery's Emeryson-Alta would also fail after 7 laps with engine problems.
Salvadori would find that he too had a problem. The start of the race would go well but he would still not be out front like he wanted. On top of that, Scott-Brown and Lewis-Evans were on the pace immediately and were very strong. This would make moving up the order very difficult.
Roy managed to be ahead of Leston, and therefore, wasn't in the hole all that bad. He was managing to keep touch with Lewis-Evans and Scott-Brown wasn't all that much further ahead, so victory was still within reach. But, the laps were quickly winding down.
Scott-Brown would take advantage of being out front in the undisturbed air. He would post a fastest lap time of 59.0 seconds flat. This equaled his qualifying effort and put all of the pressure on the competition. This pace would make it difficult for drivers, like Salvadori, to move up to challenge. The only hope was to use traffic or mistakes to one's advantage.
Salvadori continued to push, but it was Lewis-Evans that bore the brunt of the attack, not Scott-Brown further out front. The race was quickly draining away and Salvadori could not find a way forward. He seemed stuck.
Averaging nearly 76 mph around the circuit, even the feisty Bob Gerard would find himself a lap down by the end of the race. Such was Scott-Brown's pace that he would not be under too much pressure as he climbed back up the hill and around the bend of what would become known as Brabham Straight. He would fly across the line to take the victory. Following along about 3 seconds behind would be Lewis-Evans. He would run a controlled and disciplined race to finish in 2nd place. The control and discipline exhibited by Lewis-Evans would lead to Salvadori being headed off and be stuck back in 3rd place. He would cross the line a little more than two seconds behind. Another great opportunity lost.
The 3rd place in the final race of the season for the team would adequately sum up the whole of the year for the team. They would be successful, just as the 3rd place result is certainly nothing to be upset about. However, there was even better right there for the taking. They just could never take it.
For Gilby Engineering, the 1956 season really could not have been a tale of two vastly different teams though they were the same. On the national scene, the team would have to be considered something of a powerhouse, always a contender to be considered no matter the race. This could not have been more evident than during the very early part of the year when Salvadori was tangling with Stirling Moss up at the front of the field. In those races, rarely did the Maserati let them down.
The World Championship rounds, however, would be an entirely different, and intriguing story. What would be the same between the non-championship national events and the World Championship rounds would be Salvadori's pace. He had the pace, especially when considering his performance at Silverstone in the British Grand Prix. But, whereas the reliability was not so much a question in the non-championship events, it would be the question when it came to the World Championship races. This bittersweet frustration would cause Salvadori to come to an important decision concerning the next season.
Following the German and Italian Grand Prix, Salvadori would rush back to England to take part in Formula 2 races driving for the Cooper Car Company. In both instances Salvadori would come away with the victory. Cooper would be entering Formula One again in 1957 and this would cause Roy to pause and think for a moment.
Salvadori wouldn't pause too long, however. The success he had garnered while with Cooper Car Company would lead him to agree to drive for the Cooper team in 1957. This would leave Sid Greene without a driver. However, heading into the 1957 season, Greene's main concern was reliability. If he didn't get that sorted, it wouldn't matter who the driver of the car actually was.