The wonderful world of motorsports has seen many legacies. Here are three of the most prominent and remarkable.
Michael drove for Jordan Grand Prix, Benetton and Ferrari, as well as for Mercedes on his return to the sport in 2010. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers ever, and known by some as the greatest of all time, he’s the only driver in history to win seven Formula One World Championships, five consecutively. Michael also holds the records for the most Grand Prix wins (1991), fastest laps (1977), and the most races won in a single season (2013). According to the official Formula One website, Michael Schumacher was “statistically the greatest driver the sport has ever seen” at the time of his retirement from the sport. Michael’s younger brother Ralf began his career in 1997 with the Jordan Grand Prix. Ralph moved to the Williams F1 team in 1999, finishing sixth in the Drivers’ Championship that year. He won his first Grand Prix in 2001, en route to fourth place in the Drivers’ Championship, and subsequently won five more races over the course of two years. They’re the only siblings to win races in Formula One, and they were the first brothers to finish first and second in the same race, a feat they repeated in four subsequent races. After leaving Formula One, Schumacher joined the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters in 2008, achieving minor success, and retired from motorsports at the end of 2012 to enter a managerial role within DTM, mentoring young drivers. Fun fact: Sebastian Stahl, their half-brother is an endurance racer and Mick Schumacher, Michael’s son, is following in his father’s footsteps, by joining Ferrari’s F1 race team.
The Senna Legacy
Ayrton Senna is widely considered one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. He won the Formula One World Drivers’ Championship in 1988, 1990 and 1991. He was recognized for his qualifying speed over one lap, and from 1989 until 2006 he held the record for most pole positions. He was also acclaimed for his wet weather performances, holds a record six victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, and is the fifth-most successful driver of all time in terms of race wins. He tragically died in an accident while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Ayrton once said “If you think I’m fast, just wait until you see my nephew Bruno,” but while Bruno had started in karts, the deaths of Ayrton and his own father less than two years later in a motorcycle crash forced him to quit racing at the request of his mother. He returned to the world of F1 in 2004 but had missed a lot of his racing development years as a teenager and when he made it to Formula One he struggled. Bruno’s best finish was sixth place. Bruno left Formula One to pursue FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans racing. His helmet is a modified version of his uncle’s helmet design: yellow with a green and blue S-shaped stripe.
The Andretti Family
Mario is one of only two drivers to have won races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship, and NASCAR (the other being Dan Gurney). No American has won a Formula One race since Andretti’s victory at the 1978 Dutch Grand Prix. Mario has been inducted in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame (1986), the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (2011), the United States National Sprint Car Hall of Fame (1996), the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America (1990), the Hoosier Auto Racing Hall of Fame (1970), the Automotive Hall of Fame (2005), and the Diecast Hall of Fame (2012). In 2000, the Associated Press and RACER magazine named him Driver of the Century. He was named the Driver of the Year (in the U.S.) for three years (1967, 1978, and 1984), and is the only one to be Driver of the Year in three decades. Andretti was named the U.S. Driver of the Quarter Century in 1992. Both of Mario Andretti’s sons, Michael and Jeff, were also auto racers. Michael followed in his father’s footsteps by winning the IndyCar title. Mario’s nephew John Andretti joined the series in 1988. This meant the Andrettis became the first family to have four relatives compete in the same series. With Mario sharing driving duties with sons Michael and Jeff at the 1991 Rolex 24 at Daytona, driving a Porsche 962, the Andretti clan finished fifth. Mario’s grandson Marco completed his first full season in the Indy Racing League (IRL) in 2006, driving for his father Michael’s Andretti Green Racing team. Marco finished second in the 2006 Indianapolis 500 and so became the first third-generation recipient of the race’s Rookie of the Year Award.