Legendary F1 privateer Rob Walker’s 100th birthday is to be marked with a parade of his cars through Dorking town centre next month, near to where his team was formed
The centenary of the birth of legendary motorsport privateer Rob Walker will be celebrated with a parade of his cars through the centre of Dorking in Surrey on October 21.
Walker founded his Rob Walker Racing Team in 1947 at the Pippbrook service station on the A24 near the Surrey town. He became Formula 1’s most successful private entrant ever, in an age wherein teams could enter cars purchased from others rather than those built themselves, winning a total of nine grands prix.
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The cars will be on display and will do a lap of the town centre from Dorking Halls, the event taking place between 10am and 4pm. Up to nine Rob Walker cars are expected to make up the parade including the Cooper which Sir Stirling Moss drove to the team's first F1 victory in Argentina in 1958, the 1961 Lotus 18 Climax which Moss won with in Monaco, Walker's own Ferrari 250 GT SWB sportcar in which Moss won at Goodwood and a 1927 Delage S15 grand prix car.
Walker had a particularly fruitful partnership with the legendary Moss. The pair got together when Moss’s Vanwall was not ready for 1958’s F1 season-opener in Argentina and Walker was able to offer an F2 Cooper – which Moss promptly took to victory. Then after Vanwall pulled out of racing at the year’s end Moss joined Walker full time.
Walker and Moss secured maiden F1 victories for a Cooper chassis in Argentina in 1958, also the first F1 victory for a rear-engined car, and for a Lotus in Monaco in 1960 before the respective factory teams managed a win. Moss’s wins with Walker in Monaco and the Nurburgring in 1961, beating the more powerful Ferraris either time, have passed into racing folklore.
Walker's most successful period came to an end when Moss was forced to retire after a crash at Goodwood on Easter Monday in 1962, when the pair were on the cusp of entering a Ferrari in that year’s F1 world championship. Walker’s final win came in the 1968 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch with a Lotus 49 driven by Jo Siffert. Other renowned drivers who raced for Walker included Graham Hill and Jack Brabham.
Rob Walker Racing Team ended in 1974 when Walker retired from active participation in motorsports at the age of 57. Walker also worked as a motorsports journalist, covering F1 races for Road & Track magazine. He died in 2002 aged 84.
Further details of the Rob Walker Centenary Parade can be found here.
Images courtesy of Motorsport Images