29/6/1921 - 13/5/1960
Record updated 04-Oct-06
A playboy racer who made his Grand Prix debut at Monaco in 1950 in a Cooper, the first rear-engined car to contest a Formula 1 race. He was killed in during practice for the Silverstone International Trophy.
This charismatic, immensely popular semi-professional racer was born of a French father, prewar Delahaye racer Laury Schell, and his feisty Irish-American wife Lucy O'Reilly Schell, who won the Coupe des Dames on the Monte Carlo Rally in 1929. He was brought up in France, where his father ran the Ecurie Bleu Talbots and Delahayes until his death in a car accident. Harry's mother took over the team, taking Rene Dreyfus to the Indianapolis 500 in 1940. Harry went with the team and began racing after the end of World War II.
He made his Grand Prix debut at Monaco in 1950 in a Cooper, the first rear-engined car to contest a Formula 1 race. In the years that followed he raced Formula 2 machinery for HWM and Gordini, while enjoying his life as a playboy. In the mid-1950s he drove a Maserati and finished second in the Rome GP and third at Aintree.
In 1956 he drove a Vanwall in the French Grand Prix at Reims, where he battled for the lead against a trio of Lancia-Ferraris. In 1957 he drove a works Maserati, finishing third in the Pescara Grand Prix, and produced a career best second place in the 1958 Dutch Grand Prix in a BRM P25.
He stayed with BRM through 1959 before switching to the Yeoman Credit Cooper team for 1960 and it was in one of their cars that he was killed during practice for the Silverstone International Trophy race when he crashed at Abbey Curve in the wet .
He was a popular figure and a partner in a motor racing bar in Paris, L'Action Automobile. He also raced sportscars with some success. His love for the nightlife would sometimes effect his driving.