Gaydon, 7 June 2012 – Following the news of Carroll Shelby’s passing last month, Aston Martin was further saddened to learn of Roy Salvadori’s death on Sunday (3 June) at the age of 90. The pair famously drove the Aston Martin DBR1 to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1959 and to celebrate their contribution to the marque’s heritage, Aston Martin is releasing images of the pair in race action.
Salvadori, from Essex, Great Britain, made his Formula 1 debut in 1952 and went on to race in 50 Grands Prix, achieving two podiums prior to his famous Le Mans victory. He later retired from motorsport and went on to run a car dealership before being tempted back to the track in 1966 to manage Cooper Racing’s Formula 1 campaign.
Before his racing career Shelby, from Leesburg in Texas, fought in World War II with the United States Army Air Corps, where he served as a flight instructor and test pilot and graduated with the rank of staff sergeant pilot. When he returned home in the 1950s, he began competing in motor racing and joined Aston Martin in 1958. Following his 1959 Le Mans victory, Shelby went on to enjoy a successful career as an automotive designer and director of Shelby American Inc., founded in 1962. He passed away on 10 May, aged 89.
Together, Salvadori and Shelby drove the Aston Martin DBR1, which was designed by Chief Engineer Ted Cutting who also sadly passed away in March this year. The now iconic race car was an evolution of its predecessor, the DB3S, but following a change in regulations allowing non-road legal cars to race, Cutting was able to develop it in new directions. Originally fitted in 1956 with a 2.5-litre straight-six engine, by 1959 it featured a 2.9-litre unit rated at 250hp.
Aston Martin CEO Dr Ulrich Bez said: “It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Carroll and now Roy.
“They have both played a key role in the success of Aston Martin and will forever remain a core part of our heritage following their win at Le Mans. We have passed our deepest sympathies to the families and we intend to mark their passing at Le Mans next week.”
Aston Martin is releasing classic photographs from the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans in tribute to the racers.