From Send to Syracuse – The History Of Connaught – The Start of Britain’s Grand Prix Dominance


Graham Rabagliati Duncan Rabagliati


In the mid-1950s racing still took place in time-honoured fashion, when two vintage 1938 converted buses were used to transport the Connaught Grand Prix cars 2,000 miles from Send to Syracuse, and a team of just eight watched Tony Brooks cover 70 laps in the Connaught ‘B’ Type before taking a well-deserved victory against stiff opposition, the first such win for a British car and driver since 1924.

At Syracuse in 1955, Tony Brooks, driving a works Connaught , won a major Continental Formula One Grand Prix for the first time since Sir Henry Segrave won the San Sebastian Grand prix for Sunbeam in 1924, ,defeating the works team of five Maseratis on their home ground, and from that moment on , the face of Formula One was changed, leading to the great domination in the years ahead of the British teams and the British motor racing industry

You have only to read both Jenks’ contemporary reports of the Mille Miglia , and then of the Syracuse GP, to understand how he appreciated the magnitude and significance of Tony Brooks’ achievement. Not only did a young dental student leap out of the unknown into history, but the long trip down to Syracuse for the Connaught mechanics in their ancient bus cum transporter , was a “ Boys’ Own” story in itself

With the psychological barrier broken, just as in athletics , when Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, the other British marques, Vanwall, BRM, Cooper and Lotus thereafter took a quantum leap forward, and from 1955 onwards, Britain all but never looked back.