Roy Salvadori dies aged 90

| 7 Jun 2012

Former Formula 1 racer and sports car legend Roy Salvadori passed away on 3 June, just a few weeks after Carroll Shelby, with whom he won the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours driving an Aston Martin DBR1.

Salvadori started racing straight after WW2 and attracted the attention of the works teams after he came eighth in the ’52 British Grand Prix driving a privateer Ferrari. He drove five times for the Connaught works team in ’53, but retired in each race.

Having campaigned a Maserati sports car run by Sidney Greene’s Gilby Engineering equipe, Salvadori had better luck with Greene’s 250F single-seater, too, doing well in mostly non-Championship F1 events from ’54-’56. His consistent performance landed him drives for three British teams during the following season: BRM, Vanwall and then Cooper – where he scored his first points, fifth in the British GP at Aintree.

Coopers hit form in the ’58 season when Salvadori had a string of points finishes and took fourth place in the Championship. Driving for Aston Martin the following year meant that he was lumbered with the out-of-date front-engined DBR4 single-seater, though he took a couple of creditable sixth places and kept his Cooper hand in with a few privateer drives that carried on into 1960.

For ’61, Salvadori drove a Cooper alongside team-mate John Surtees for Reg Parnell’s Yeoman Credit outfit. He was reeling in the Lotus of eventual winner Innes Ireland at Watkins Glen in the US GP when his engine let go. After further frustrations in ’62, he retired from F1 aged 40 to concentrate on sports cars. Having played a pivotal role in the car’s development programme, Salvadori’s last race came in a GT40 at Goodwood in ’65.

He briefly returned to F1 to manage the Cooper team in ’66-’67, then ran his garage firm for a couple of years before retiring to a flat in Monte-Carlo, where he is survived by his wife Sue – daughter of 1935 Le Mans winner Johnny Hindmarsh.