Who Is The Greatest Racing Driver Of All Time?

Image: Sonoma Raceway
Image: Sonoma Raceway

In the history of motor racing there have been near-god-level drivers that have risen above the mere mortals. It’s nearly impossible to confirm one of these deific drivers as the true pinnacle above all others, simply because of an inability to test them all at their peak in the same equipment on the same day. Unfortunately we live in a linear timeline, and we can’t break the continuum to hold an IROC-style race of every great driver dead or alive, as cool as that event would be. In lieu of making this race happen, let’s try to make it happen through theory and polite argument.

First of all, is it possible to know which racing series produced the greatest drivers? Often people say that Formula One is the pinnacle of the sport and always has been, and with greats like Fangio, Senna, Schumacher, and Hamilton, maybe it is.

But many F1 drivers are scared of Indy, or fall flat on their face in NASCAR. American open-wheel champs have failed to do well with a chance at F1, and likewise a seven-time NASCAR champ was no match for the current IndyCar, but you sure as hell won’t hear me say Jimmie Johnson or Sébastien Bourdais are worse than Pastor Maldonado just because he won an F1 race. Surely they have to be in the conversation.


What about drivers from history who were successful across multiple disciplines? Romain Dumas won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb within a seven-day span in June of 2016, that’ll always stand out to me as a feat of racing greatness. What about Juan Pablo Montoya or Mario Andretti, winning in F1, Indy, and NASCAR? Mark Donohue or Dan Gurney? Hell, John Surtees was the only man to ever win world championships on grand prix motorcycles and in F1 cars.

Maybe the greats of rally deserve a place in this conversation. Could you say that Michèle Mouton, Walter Rohrl, Carlos Sainz, or Sebs Ogier and Loeb are the best to ever do it? Sure, why not.

So what’s your take? Who are you picking to win this theoretical race in the multiverse? Sound off with your number one driver in the comments below, and let us know why you picked them! Let the bench racing begin.

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