We are standing in front of the pits at Dundrod, a difficult and highly dangerous public road circuit near Belfast in Northern Ireland on September 18, 1955 where the famous Tourist Trophy race, this year of 1000 Km, is about to be held, counting for the World Championship for Sports Cars. The main protagonists include Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati and Aston Martin. Before us we have the main players from Aston Martin, plus one interloper. On the left is Peter Collins, wearing his well-known multi-colored ski hat. Next to Collins is former Aston Martin team driver Reg Parnell who had been upgraded to Team Manager for 1955. On Parnell’s left is Tony Brooks who will co-drive with Collins in a DB3S. The tall guy wearing the dark loden coat is the great former Aston Team Manager, now General Manager of Aston Martin, John Wyer, known to those who dared mouth the words as “Death Ray” because of the glare with which he was known to show his displeasure. And standing at the right, wearing a camera around his neck is Mercedes technical wizard (and an accomplished test driver as well) Rudolf Uhlenhaut, creator of the 300SLR.
The Tourist Trophy became another example of the Mercedes machine at work. They took the first three places, led by Stirling Moss and John Fitch, with two Astons, two Ferraris and a Maserati trailing behind. Jaguar’s single entry for Mike Hawthorn and Desmond Titterington lost its engine near the end of the race when far in the lead. Collins and Brooks also blew their engine at half-distance, after Collins had come right through the 55-car field to third place. Unfortunately, the race was marred by numerous crashes, three of them fatal. It was the last automobile race to be held at Dundrod.
Photo by Louis Klemantaski ©The Klemantaski Collection – http://www.klemcoll.com