In 1959 the series of Argentinian races that normally open the racing season were missed, but 1960 saw them back on the Calendar and run according to previous form. The three week racing season contained a round of the Drivers’ World Champion, namely the Argentine Grand Prix, a round of the Sports Car Championship in the 1,000 kilometre race, and a Formule Libre race.
The 1,000 kilometres of Buenos Aires (January 31st)
Held on a 9.5kms circuit comprising part of the Autodromo and a stretch of dual-carriageway, this race was expected to be a straight fight between Ferrari and Porsche, these being the only works teams entered. Phil Hill/Allison and von Trips/Ginther had 12-cylinder 3-litre Ferraris, while Gonzalez/Scarfiotti had a Dino-engined car of 2.4-litres. Porsche entered three 1,600cc RSK models with drivers Bonnier Graham Hill, Trintignant/Herrmann and Barth/Gendebien, while von Hanstein/Bohnen had a works Carrera GT. The rest of the entry of 28 cars was made up from a mixed collection of private owners or small Scuderias, but surprise of the race came from the Camoradi Team entry of Gurney/Gregory with a new 2.8-litre “birdcage chassis” Tipo 61 Maserati. Gurney set the pace and led all the factory cars for a considerable time, including making fastest lap, and this new Maserati was undoubtedly faster than the Ferraris. It eventually succumbed to gearbox and shock-absorber troubles, and had to withdraw, leaving the two 3-litre Ferraris in full command of the race, with the ever-waiting Porsches in the next places.
Once the Maserati had dropped out the race became a procession and the 23 starters dwindled to 11 by the end of the 1,000 kilometres.
The Argentine Grand Prix (February 7th)
As is usual the F1 race was held in the Autodromo at Buenos Aires on the No 2 circuit of 3.9 kilometres for a distance of 80 laps. Works entries came from Ferrari, Cooper, BRM and Lotus, with two Equipe-Walker cars as well. Graham Hill was having his first drive for BRM and started well by leading at the start and duelling with Bonnier (BRM) and Moss (Cooper-Walker). Once again the Walker car fell apart, this time in the rear suspension, and Bonnier held a good lead but later had to call at the pits with overheating, while Graham Hill succumbed to the high air temperatures, as did Stacey with one of the works Lotus cars.
Brabham retired and as at Sebring his staunch team-mate, young McLaren, upheld Cooper fortunes to pass Allison’s Ferrari and Ireland’s works Lotus, to take the lead when Bonnier stopped. Having broken his own car Moss took over the other Walker entry from Trintignant and for a time motor racing relived in the past, when racing was racing, for Moss did his utmost to regain the lead for the Walker team, getting to third place just 10sec behind Allison’s Ferrari before the finish. Both BRMs were 1959 front-engined cars.
Although this effort on behalf of the team netted them third place Moss gained no points in the Championship rating, but instead had the satisfaction of having driven a good race, which is surely much more important. One hopes that having set a precedent in doing this, other teams and drivers will follow his example and help us to get back to some proper motor-racing, where each event is a race in itself, and not overshadow the object of each race with the absurd “points chasing” that has bogged down Grand Prix racing these last two years.