It happened today

José Froilan Gonzalez takes victory at Silverstone in 1954

15 May 1954

On 15th May 1954, the sixth BRDC International Trophy was held at Silverstone, the rules involving two legs prior to a final to decide the outright winner. There were six Ferraris entered: three 625s came directly from the Scuderia, for the Argentinian Jose Froilan Gonzalez, for France’s Maurice Trintignant and the Italian Umberto Maglioli. The other three were privateer entries, a 500 and a 625 from Ecurie Rosier for the Frenchmen Louis Rosier and Robert Manzon respectively, while another 500 raced under the Scuderia Ambrosiana banner for Englishman Reg Parnell. The Ferraris were immediately in the thick of it in the two heats. The first was run in the wet by Gonzalez who beat the Maseratis of Prince Bira and Stirling Moss as well as Maglioli in the other Ferrari. In the second race, now on a damp track, there was even a clean sweep of the top three courtesy of Trintignant, ahead of Parnell and Manzon.

For the final, the grid order was decided according to the times set in the two heats and there was some annoyance at this, because the drivers in the second leg came out on top because of the better track conditions in their race. In the Ferrari camp there were problems with the engine on Gonzalez’s car and so the Argentinian was given Trintignant’s car, while the Frenchman took over Maglioli’s, who as a result, did not start. At the start, Gonzalez began to pull away, with only Moss capable of matching his pace. The great English driver then suffered a right rear suspension failure on his Maserati and had to retire, leaving the Ferrari out on its own. At the line, Gonzalez won by 36 seconds from Behra in the Gordini and a whole lap ahead of team-mate Andre Simon.