Roy Salvadori

Full Name:
Roy Francesco Salvadori
Born:
12th May 1922
Dovercourt, Essex
Died:
3rd June 2012 (Aged 90)
Monte Carlo (MC)
Nationality:
British
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Roy Salvadori made 47 Grand Prix starts during his decade in the world championship but it was victory in the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours that provided his proudest moment.

Family background and early career

Born in Essex to Italian parents, he began racing an MG R-type in 1946 and Salvadori finished fifth at Chimay a year later with a pre-war Alfa Romeo Tipo-B "P3". He then survived head injuries sustained when he rolled a Frazer Nash during the saloon car race that supported the 1951 International Trophy at Silverstone.

Salvadori showed promise with a Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica during 1952 and finished eighth on his GP debut driving a private Ferrari 500 in that year’s British GP. He started five GPs for Connaught during 1953 and also shared an Aston Martin DB3S with George Abecassis at Le Mans – retiring on each occasion.

Formula 1 success with Cooper

The next three seasons were spent driving Gilby Engineering’s Maserati 250F in selected GPs and regular outings in national events. He qualified sixth for the 1957 French GP on a one-off with Vanwall before joining Cooper for the British GP. A lapped fifth that day, Salvadori remained with the team for 1958 in what was his most successful F1 season. Third in Britain and second in Germany with the promising rear-engine Cooper T45-Climax, Salvadori finished as a career-best fourth in the F1 World Championship.

Le Mans winner for Aston Martin

However, while team-mate Jack Brabham remained with Cooper to win the 1959 world title, Salvadori endured a frustrating campaign with the old-fashioned, front-engine Aston Martin DBR4/250. There was much consolation in sports cars however for he shared the winning Aston Martin DBR1 in the 1959 Le Mans 24 Hours with Carroll Shelby.

Third in the following year’s race with Border Reivers’ DBR1 and a young Jim Clark, his GP outings remained frustrating. He drove Reg Parnell’s Yeoman Credit Cooper T53-Climax from the 1961 French GP and almost won the final race of the year. He climbed through the field to run in an impressive second in the United States GP. He was closing on the leader (Innes Ireland) before his engine broke with just three laps to go.

Formula 1 finale and subsequent career

He drove the re-branded Bowmaker Racing Team’s new Lola Mk4-Climax in 1962 but it proved to be an underwhelming final season in F1. Outshone by John Surtees, he failed to finish all year.

Salvadori drove for Tommy Atkins in GTs and saloons in 1963 and won the Brands Hatch Six Hours with Denny Hulme sharing his Jaguar. He helped developed the Ford GT40 prototype during the following year. That was his last full season before Salvadori retired from driving in 1965.

Instead, he took a management role in the restructured Cooper-Maserati team for the next three years. He gave a young Ron Dennis his first job during that time and McLaren’s future driving force later credited Salvadori’s thorough and professional approach to be an early influence.

After a period with the Thompson & Taylor preparation company in Cobham, Surrey, Salvadori settled in Monte Carlo in 1974 where he lived in a flat that overlooked the startline. He died in the Principality in 2012 after a long illness.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
1963 Speed and Endurance World Challenge
Briggs Cunningham
1 0 0 0 0
1962 F1 World Championship
Reg Parnell Racing
7 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1962 Speed World Challenge
Briggs Cunningham
1 0 0 0 6
1961 F1 World Championship
Reg Parnell Racing
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
17th 2
1961 World Sportscar Championship
JLE Ogier
1 0 0 0 0
1960 F1 World Championship
David Brown Corporation
High Efficiency Motors
3 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1960 World Sportscar Championship
Border Reivers
1 0 1 0 4
1959 F1 World Championship
David Brown Corporation
High Efficiency Motors
7 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1959 World Sportscar Championship
David Brown Racing
1 0 1 1 8
1958 F1 World Championship
Cooper Car Co
9 0 2 0
0% win rate
4th 15
1958 World Sportscar Championship
David Brown Racing
Aston Martin Cars
2 0 1 0 3
1957 F1 World Championship
Vandervell Products
Cooper Car Co
Owen Racing Organisation
4 (1) 0 0 0
0% win rate
18th 2
1957 World Sportscar Championship
David Brown Racing
Aston Martin Cars
2 0 0 0 1
1956 F1 World Championship
Gilby Engineering
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1956 World Sportscar Championship
Aston Martin Cars
1 0 0 0 3
1955 F1 World Championship
Gilby Engineering
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1955 World Sportscar Championship
Aston Martin Cars
1 0 0 0 0
1954 F1 World Championship
Gilby Engineering
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1954 World Sportscar Championship
Aston Martin Lagonda
1 0 0 0 0
1953 F1 World Championship
Connaught Engineering
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
0
1953 World Sportscar Championship
Aston Martin Cars
Ecurie Ecosse
2 0 1 0 6
1952 F1 World Championship
G Caprara
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
0