Racing driver Stirling Moss celebrates his 80th birthday on 17 September 2009. He drove for Mercedes-Benz in one season, 1955 – an unforgettable year for the brand owing to the many, many triumphs. Though an accident put an end to Moss’ career in 1962 and he never succeeded in capturing a world champion’s title, he is regarded as a phenomenal driver. And to this day he sees himself as an ambassador of motorsport.

In 1948 at the age of 19, Moss entered his first race – and made a lightning start to an international career. He joined the Mercedes-Benz team for the 1955 season and competed in all major events of the year, driving the 300 SL, 300 SLR and W 196 R. His successes during the season in Mercedes-Benz cars: Mille Miglia: 1st; British Grand Prix: 1st; Belgian Grand Prix: 2nd; Dutch Grand Prix: 2nd; Tourist Trophy in Dundrod, Northern Ireland: 1st; Targa Florio: 1st.

Together with co-driver Denis Jenkinson he finished the Mille Miglia in a time which still stands as a record today: after 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds the silver-coloured car with “722” – the customary starting time of the Mille Miglia – painted in red on it was waved across the finish line as winner. That figures out to an average speed of 157.65 km/h. In 1957 the Mille Miglia was discontinued as a regular sports event.

The motor racing career of Stirling Moss lasted until 1962, when he sustained very bad injuries in a severe accident in a 100 mile race in Goodwood. About a year later, Moss decided to give up professional racing. But even today the crowds still cheer him when he puts in a public appearance at classic motorsport events like the Mille Miglia Storica in Italy or the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England – often, of course, in historic Mercedes-Benz vehicles which he once drove to victory.

Source: Daimler AG