These days, if you mention to any random person in the street what type of racing goes on at Aintree, Formula 1 is not the type they’d have in mind. Horse racing is far more associated with the venue – the host of the Grand National, an event so engrained in British culture that even those who don’t bet might be tempted to have a flutter once each April. It takes place once again on Saturday 15 April at Aintree, with a capacity field of 40 runners set to be released. But in the nascent days of the World Championship, Aintree was also host to the British Grand Prix, where some 68 years ago, a piece of F1 history was made. The 1955 British Grand Prix Aintree racecourse also features a motor racing circuit, which is still in use to this day, overshadowed by the one taken by four legs as opposed to four wheels. A tight, 3.000 mile, eight-turn, clockwise circuit, Aintree played host to the British Grand Prix five times in 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1962, rotating with Silverstone before its slot was taken by Brands Hatch in 1964. In 1955, weeks after the Le Mans 24 Hours disaster, Stirling Moss led a Mercedes 1-2 in qualifying ahead of teammate Juan Manuel Fangio, lapping in 2:00:04. Aside from the quick-starting Fangio leading the opening laps and again at about a one-third distance, Moss led the majority of the 90-lap event, which took about three hours to complete. In the end, Moss was unsure whether Fangio had gifted him the victory in front of his home fans after a team order from boss Alfred Neubauer for him to “SLOW.” It would be the first World Championship Grand Prix win for Mr Motor Racing, on a day where Fangio become the most successful driver by winning his third world title. For his part, Fangio said Moss beat him fair and square, although the jury remains out. Subsequent races at Aintree were won by Moss and Tony Brooks in a shared Vanwall drive in 1957, the first ever win for a British car in the World Championship, while Jack Brabham and Wolfgang von Trips took victories in 1959 and 1961 respectively. In 1962, Jim Clark pumped in his first of a record eight career Grands Chelem as F1 bid farewell to Aintree. Although Moss has two wins at Aintree, anybody will tell you the most successful racer there was Red Rum, who won the Grand National a record three times in 1973, 1974 and 1977. He was second in 1975 and 1976 for good measure.
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