DRIVERS: CARROLL SHELBY

Name: Carroll Shelby
Nationality: United States of America
Date of birth: January 11, 1923 - Leesburg, Texas
Date of death: May 10, 2012 - Dallas, Texas

Carroll Shelby, 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans

Carroll Shelby, 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans 

 © The Cahier Archive

A tough Texan farmer, Shelby served in the US Army Air Corps during World War II as a flight instructor and test pilot.

Shelby drove his first race in 1952 in a borrowed MG and won his class, beating the more powerful Jaguar XK120s as well.

A star of US sports car racing in the United States in the mid-1950's, racing in imported European equipment, his career eventually took him to Europe and he then raced in a couple of Grands Prix with Scuderia Centro Sud - his best result coming when he finished fourth in a car he shared with Masten Gregory at the Italian Grand Prix at Monza in 1958.

He made his name when he shared the winning Aston Martin DBR1 with Roy Salvadori at Le Mans in 1959. Shelby was also a key member of the Feltham team's Formula 1 squad for whom he finished eighth in the 1959 Portuguese Grand Prix on Lisbon's Monsanto Park circuit.

Shelby ended his driving career early due to a heart problem, and focussed instead on setting up a driving school and importing the British car brand AC into the United States. He started installing Ford V8 engines in the cars and sold them as AC Cobras, and later as Shelby Cobras.

With the support of Ford he ran GT40's in sports cars and Le Mans, winning the 24 Hours in 1966 with Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon driving, and again the following year with Dan Gurney and AJ Foyt.

The creator of the legendary Shelby AC Cobras he later went into partnership with Dan Gurney to form All-American Racers AAR.

Over the years the legendary car builder helped Ford create the Shelby Mustang, and Chrysler to create the Dodge Viper. Shelby suffered many health issues, and had a heart transplant in 1990, and a kidney transplant in 1996.

Shelby created the Carroll Shelby Foundation in 1992, dedicated to providing medical assistance to children in need.

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