Racing the Moss Lotus 18 at Monaco


The 1961 Monaco Grand Prix was one of many great races from Stirling Moss as he held off the more powerful Ferrari 156 of Richie Ginther to win. Exactly 55 years later, Moss was re-united with the car and young British driver Andrew Hibberd got to race it in the Grand Prix Historique.

In celebration of the 55th anniversary of Moss’s win in the first race for the new 1.5-litre Grand Prix regulations, Credit Suisse arranged for Sir Stirling and his Lotus 18 to come together once again.

For 30-year-old Andrew Hibberd, one of Britain’s most accomplished historic single-seater racers, the Monaco event offered the chance of an unforgettable experience.

“I was in THE car, the 1961 Stirling Moss Monaco winner,” said Hibberd, who was invited to race the Lotus by its owner Stephen Bond. “We took the side panels off in the race, just as they did back in 1961.

“In first qualifying I had the original steering wheel, which was much too big. So I swapped that for a 10-inch wheel, which I borrowed in the paddock. That made a massive difference and I went 10 seconds a lap quicker as I was no longer steering it with my knees. I think Stirling is a little bit shorter than I am!

“It was a little bit daunting in the first session. I drove round thinking ‘what am I doing in this valuable racing car driving round Monaco?’ But the second session was better and in the race I had a good scrap with Iain Rowley and really enjoyed it.

“We had the side panels off and it was great fun. We met Sir Stirling on the Saturday and he sat with the car to have his photo taken. We chatted about the car and he signed a model of the car; it was a wonderful experience.

“When we took the side panels off I thought I’d get loads of air rushing through the car and I was expecting loads of bits to come up into my crash helmet. But after the out-lap I never noticed. It didn’t make any difference as far as I could see.

“It was done to keep the driver cool, but I still got out of it sweating. I think that was the pressure! We had the original bungee strap over the rear bodywork as they did in 1961, because the side panels hold the rear tail down. On the grid I was able to shake people’s hands underneath the bodywork. It is one of those things I’ll not forget!”

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