Auto Racing Highlights
Speed Record Attempts
There were five attempts made
to break the world land speed record in 1960, but
the mark of 394.1 m.p.h. set by John Cobb of
England in 1947 remained standing.
Athol Graham was killed when he
crashed at 300 m.p.h. in a try for the record in
a home-made car on August 1.
Mickey Thompson attained 406.6
m.p.h. in his Pontiac-powered Challenger I
in one run across the Bonneville Salt Flats in
Utah on September 9, but two runs in opposite
directions are required for an official record
and Thompson's car broke down during the second
Campbell escaped serious injury when his
multimillion-dollar Bluebird II went out
of control while traveling across the Bonneville
Salt Flats at 365 m.p.h. on September 16.
Bluebird II after Donald
Campbell's 365-mph crash.
Nathan Ostich and Art Afrons
both failed in their attempts to break the world
land speed record due to mechanical troubles.
Several leading international
drivers suffered fatal injuries while driving in,
or practising for, competition in 1960.
Harry Blanchard of Greenwich,
Connecticut, lost his life when he crashed in the
Buenos Aires, Argentina, race on January 31.
The March 25 Sebring, Florida,
race claimed the life of Jim Hughes of Napa,
California, who flipped on a turn. The accident
also cost the life of photographer George
Thompson, who was hit by the car.
Argentine driver Pedro von Dory
was fatally injured in the USAC Road Racing
Championship Race at Riverside, California, on
Schell, an American living in Paris, was killed
while practising for a race at Silverstone,
England on May 13.
Threlfall of England was killed instantly on the
Aix-les-Bains course in France on May 22 when a
temporary bridge over the track collapsed in the
path of his car. Six persons on the bridge were
Aftermath of the accident
which claimed the life of Chris Threlfall and six
West Coast champion sports-car
driver Sammy Weiss was killed on the Alguna Seca
track on June 4.
National Driving Champion Jimmy Bryan of Phoenix,
Arizona, skidded and flipped on the race course
at Langhorne, Pennsylvania, on June 19 and was
killed instantly after being thrown from his car.
Jimmy Bryan being thrown
from his car at Langhorne.
Bristow of England suffered fatal injuries during
the Belgian Grand Prix on June 19 when his car
went out of control on a curve, rolled up and
over an embankment, and went through a barbed
wire fence. Alan Stacey lost his life
during the same race when he went off the track
about 100 feet from the scene of Bristow's
Jim Rathmann won the 44th
Indianapolis 500 (on Monday, May 30) with a
record average speed of 138.757 m.p.h. He
finished 12 seconds ahead of the 1959 winner,
Rodger Ward, to take home a record winner's purse
Left: Jim Rathmann
Right: Rathmann taking the checkered flag at
Two persons were killed and
more than 70 were injured before the race began
when a temporary grandstand collapsed [picture].
winner of the 1960 World Drivers' Championship
was decided when reigning champion Jack Brabham
won his fifth consecutive Grand Prix race of the
year in Portugal on August 14. He accomplished
the feat driving a Cooper-Climax, a marque which
also took the 1960 World Championship for
Constructors by an overhwelming margin.
Brabham at the 1960
Portuguese Grand Prix.
Individual Race Winners
Mans 24-Hour Race
Two Belgians sharing the wheel
of a Ferrari won the 24 Hours at Le Mans, held on
June 25-26. Olivier Gendebein and Paul Frere
covered 2,619 miles at an average speed of
109.128 m.p.h. The pair took the lead early in
the race and held it from them on, finishing
about 25 miles ahead of the second place Ferrari
driven by Ricardo Rodriguez and Andre Pilette.
The 1960 NASCAR season began
with the Daytona 500 on February 14. The race was
won by Junior Johnson, who averaged 127.4 m.p.h.
in a Chevrolet owned by Ray Fox.
Junior Johnson (in white,
without a hat) celebrates his Daytona 500 win
with car owner Ray Fox (to his immediate right)
and some of his crew members.
Rex White (below),
an offseason garage owner, finished in the top 10
in 34 races to win the Grand National Driving
Championship, as well as a NASCAR record total of
$45,055 in prize money.
Pikes Peak Climb
Independence Day Pikes Peak Climb was dominated
in 1960 by the Unser brothers, who took two first
places and a second in the 12-1/2-mile event.
Bobby Unser, in a Pontiac Special, took the
championship, for the third year in a row, in the
record time of 13 minutes 28.5 seconds. Al Unser
finished right behind his brother in the
championship class. Lou Unser, in a stock
Pontiac, finished first in the stock-car class in
15 minutes 36.6 seconds.
Bobby Unser at the 1960
Pikes Peak Climb.
Road America 500
Italian car maker Maserati
gained considerable prestige in U.S. sports-car
racing when two of its cars finished first and
fourth in the Road America 500 at Elkhart Lake,
Wisconsin, on September 11. The winning car,
driven by Dave Causey and Luke Stear, finished
the required 125 laps in 6 hours 14 minutes 55
seconds, averaging 80.021 m.p.h. The second place
car, a Ferrari driven by Auggie Pabst and Bill
Wuesthoff, was just 39 seconds behind them.
The annual 12-hour Grand Prix
of Endurance at Sebring, Florida, on March 25,
was boycotted by the Porsche official team cars,
but Porsches still took first and second. Olivier
Gendebein and Hans Hermann teamed up in a 1.6
Porsche to win the event by covering 196 laps in
the alloted time. Second place went to a Porsche
driven by Bob Holbert, Roy Schecter, and Howard
The 44th Annual Targa Florio
world championship event for sports cars was run
over a hilly, twisting, 45-mile road course near
Palermo, Sicily, on May 8. It was won by a
Porsche driven by Joakim Bonnier and Hans
Hermann, who completed the required ten laps in 7
hours 33 minutes 8 seconds. In second place, six
minutes behind the winner, was a Ferrari driven
by Phil Hill and Wolfgang von Trips. The car left
the road, while Tripp was driving, and it took
the men four minutes to make needed repairs.
lapse of 22 years, the Vanderbilt Cup race was
revived at Roosevelt Raceway on Long Island, New
York, on June 18-19. The event, restricted to the
tiny Formula Junior cars, was won by 37-year-old
amateur Harry Carter, driving an Italian
Cornelius Vanderbilt IV
presents the Vanderbilt Cup to Harry Carter.
In the Formula Libre Grand Prix
event held at Watkins Glen, New York, on October
9, Stirling Moss crossed the finish line 7
seconds ahead of the 1960 World Driver Champion
Jack Brabham to win the event in the record time
of 2 minutes 10.2 seconds. Moss was driving a
Lotus Formula I car owned by Rob Walker; Brabham
was driving a Cooper.
In the Sports-Car Grand Prix,
held two weeks later, Augie Pabst drove a Scarab
to victory, averaging 88.8 m.p.h., a new record.
Roger Penske, driving a Porsche, was second.
In the Year 1960
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