The Midland Automobile Club is planning to make their August 2008 Shelsley Walsh event The Peter Collins Celebration meeting.
Peter, whose family ran Kidderminster Motors, started his career in a Cooper 500 and competed at Shelsley Walsh. His career then blossomed with works drives for HWM in Grands Prix and Aston Martin in International Sports Car racing. In 1953, he drove a few Formula One races for Tony Vandervell in the Thinwall Special, and in 1955, driving brilliantly with Stirling Moss, he won the Targa Florio for Mercedes.
All this caught the eye of Enzo Ferrari who invited Peter to join Ferrari to drive in both Grands Prix and Sports Car races. He won two Grands Prix that year, and showed immense sportsmanship by handing his car over to Fangio in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. Fangio went on to win the World Championship, but Enzo Ferrari was intensely moved by Peter’s gesture.
Peter and his friend and teammate Mike Hawthorn brought a great deal of boyish fun into the Ferrari team, but sometimes this caught them out, most notably in the 1957 German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, where Fangio, throwing caution to the wind, caught them napping and won the race.
Tragically, it was here, just a year later, during a season in which he won the British Grand Prix, that Peter Collins died at the wheel of his Ferrari on the 3rd of August 1958. He was buried in the churchyard at Stone, near Kidderminster.
So it is fitting that, 50 years later, the M.A.C. should celebrate the life of this brilliant young Midlander. The plan is to assemble as many cars as possible that represent Peter’s career, as well as family members, friends and contemporaries at the August 2008 championship meeting at Shelsley Walsh.
The M.A.C. would like to hear from anyone with Peter Collins connections or recollections of Peter’s life. Email: [email protected]