Which Racing Driver Had The Coolest Career?

·2 min read
It’s hard to name many that had a cooler career than Mario Andretti.
It’s hard to name many that had a cooler career than Mario Andretti.

It seems cliché to say that people watch racing for the crashes while completely ignoring the romantic aspects of motorsport. Racing drivers get to run incredible machinery at high speeds in idyllic locales. For example, next Sunday, there will be a 500-mile race at the monumental centerpiece stadium of a failed century-old car-centered utopic community. Some drivers are skilled enough or lucky enough to have lengthy careers spanning decades, continents and eras of technology.

Today, I’m asking which racing driver had the coolest career? Who raced the cars that you had posters of on your childhood bedroom wall? Who drove on the tracks you dream about visiting in person? Keep in mind — it’s not about being the fastest person on track. It’s about who had the most memorable stories to tell afterward.

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For me, the answer is Mario Andretti. First, he had a racing career that spanned 35 years. Andretti raced the Ford GT at Le Mans, the revolution ground-effect Lotus 78 in F1, and won Pikes Peak Hill Climb when it was still on the IndyCar schedule. I almost forgot to mention that he won the Indianapolis 500 and Pikes Peak in the same year. Twenty years later, Andretti raced alongside his son and nephew at Le Mans in a Porsche 962C. Andretti might have a boxed set of major victories across F1, IndyCar and NASCAR, but his personal experiences are just surreal.

Many current drivers have had careers so far that have rivaled Andretti’s in terms of coolness. Sebastien Loeb became the greatest rally driver of all time while nearly winning Le Mans, winning races in the World Touring Car Championship, and almost testing his way into a Formula 1 race seat. Not to mention the fun that Fernando Alonso and Jimmie Johnson have been having in the later stages of their careers.

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