Autosport 70: milestones at Silverstone
20 July 1951
Ferrari famously won the British
Grand Prix this week in 1951, ending five years of Alfa Romeo domination and recording the team’s first victory in the world championship. But that didn’t make Autosport’s cover, and the editorial opened on the performance of the BRMS!
While Jose Froilan Gonzalez’s brilliant drive did receive praise in the report of “the greatest race ever seen at Silverstone”, the efforts of cover star Reg Parnell on his way to fifth for BRM grabbed attention. The V16 project had been a shambles, but the points-scoring finish – five laps behind Gonzalez – and Peter Walker’s seventh were seen as ripostes to BRM’S detractors.
“Parnell and Walker saved the day for British motor racing,” reckoned Autosport. “Their heroism in sticking to their task while suffering from agonising burns will enable the BRM designers to go ahead and modify the cars to make them completely raceworthy.”
If we’re being generous, we would point out that these were different times and Gonzalez’s mighty Ferrari 375 had been on the cover the previous week…
Sadly for BRM, the V16 would never score another point, and it would take nearly eight more years for the team to score a world championship GP victory.
Thanks to Jaguar, however, British success could be found in sportscar competition. Autosport published the fastest laps of each car from the previous month’s Le Mans 24 Hours, just released by the Automobile Club de l’ouest. The crushing pace of the C-types, one of which had won in the hands of Walker and Peter Whitehead, was underlined by the best laps of Stirling Moss (4m46.8s) and Walker (4m47s) being comfortably clear of the rest. The quickest non-jaguar was the Talbot of Juan Manuel Fangio, who managed a lap of 4m54.3s.