Stirling's 1960 Nürburgring 1000Kms in Maserati Tipo 61 (Birdcage) with Dan Gurney
For the 1960 race, Stirling was paired with the American, Dan Gurney, and they were to drive a Birdcage Maserati, entered by ‘Lucky' Casner's Camoradi team. Stirling and Dan had already suffered from their lack of professionalism at Sebring. When Stirling drove the car in practice on the Friday at the 'Ring, “the brakes and the handling were awful and it was overgeared by at least 500rpm”. Gurney only did two laps on the Saturday before an oil pipe broke. It did not bode well for the race.
As it was a World Sports Car Championship event, the field was a strong one with Porsche and Ferrari well represented. Piero Taruffi was in charge of the pit organisation for the Camoradi team and so it was to be hoped that the chaos of Sebring would not prevail again.
Moss led from the start in miserable weather. It was misty and there was a fine drizzle falling. Team mate, Masten Gregory was running second in the other Camoradi car but was soon relegated by Bonnier in a Porsche.
By lap 15, when Stirling handed over to Gurney, they had a lead of two and a half minutes over Phil Hill in the Ferrari, the Porsche having dropped to third. Gurney maintained the lead but then – major problems. He was forced to pit on the 18th lap with a broken oil line. The lead had become a half-lap deficit before Dan was able to rejoin. He then drove superbly in the rain and fog.
By the 24th lap, he was one and half minutes behind. This he had reduced to 47 seconds by lap 25 and three laps later they were back in the lead. However, he then had to pit and hand over to Moss. This dropped them to third.
Stirling then put in another of his storming drives to work back up to second and then, with just eight of the 44 laps to go, regained top spot, a position he held until the flag. The Master had done it again, building a three-minute lead on the Bonnier/Gendebien Porsche, with Allison, Hill and Mairesse third for Ferrari, but he gave fulsome credit to his co-driver who well and truly pulled his weight. For Stirling, it marked a hat-trick of wins in this most challenging of events.
By Philip Porter
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