Sir Stirling Moss, the much-loved and respected racing driver, has died at the age of 90.
Born in London in 1929, Moss was widely acknowledged as one of the greatest drivers never to have won the Formula One world title, although he was runner-up on four occasions. He was hugely admired for his skill behind the wheel in many disciplines, having a remarkably successful career in sportscar racing at the same time as F1. He retired from top-level competition after a crash in 1962 but continued in historic racing and was highly active within motor racing for the rest of his life.
Moss drove his first professional race in 1948 when he was 18 in a Cooper 500 and during a career that spanned 14 years would go on to win 16 of the 66 F1 races in which he competed impressively across all categories of his 375 finishes, he won 212. In 1955 he was signed by Mercedes Benz to race in F1 alongside the great Juan Manuel Fangio, who beat him to the title. However that year he also delivered one of the most exceptional drives of his generation during the Mille Miglia, a punishing road race in Italy. Driving a Mercedes-Benz 300SLR he set a new record and beat Fangio by 32 minutes.
Between 1955 and 1961 Moss was second in the F1 championship four times, twice more to Fangio, and third on three further occasions. Able to turn his hand from short spring racing to the demands of endurance competition, he also scored two second place finishes at the Le Mans 24 Hours in a Jaguar and an Aston Martin, including a class win in 1956 and won both the Sebring 12 Hours and the 12 hours of Reims.
Moss was known for enjoying life to the full, a bon vivant who embraced every aspect of a racing driver’s lifestyle. He had a determination to take victory at every attempt which he admitted was more important than titles. “As far as I’m concerned, any driver who’s worth the name tries to win every race,” he said. “Eventually, the world championship ceased to be very important to me.”
He went on to run a property business with his family as well as racing at historic meetings before retiring from race driving in 2011, at the age of 81. Moss also worked in broadcasting, published his autobiography in 2015 and most recently appeared in the film The Green Hell, recalling his win at the Nürburgring in 1961. He was knighted in 2000, received the Segrave Trophy in 2005 and was awarded the FIA gold medal for outstanding contribution to motorsport in 2006.
Moss is survived by his third wife Susie and two children. “He died as he lived, looking wonderful,” Lady Moss told the Daily Mail on Sunday.