Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Auto Racing » Mario Andretti Biography - Began Racing In Italy, Became A Professional Racecar Driver In America, Chronology, The Family Business - SELECTED WRITINGS BY ANDRETTI:

Mario Andretti - A Versatile Driver

bobby unser race formula won cars

In the 1970s Andretti focused on Formula One racing on the international Grand Prix circuit. This consisted of 16 races held on four continents. Andretti's first Formula One race came in 1971 at the South African Grand Prix. He won several other Formula One races over the next few years. In 1978 he won the Formula One World Championship and a year later he won the International Race of Champions title.

Andretti's ability to be a successful racer in different cars and on different tracks is what has made him a truly exceptional driver. "Mario has a combination of various important factors that few of his fellow drivers in USAC share; a burning desire to prove his talents in all fields of racing," wrote Lyle Kenyon Engel in his 1970 book Mario Andretti: The Man Who Can Win Any Kind of Race. "He's not satisfied in topping the list in his major racing area of interest, championship cars, but also he wants to excel in sports cars, stockers and Formula cars."

Andretti continued to race both Formula One and Indy cars throughout the 1980s and half of the 1990s. "I have won on 127 different kinds of tracks, clockwise and counterclockwise. I have experienced the passing of the engine from the front to the back. I have raced with the greats who have since retired, and in places that are now parking lots," G.S. Prentzas quoted Andretti from a 1978 interview in the book Mario Andretti. In 1984 he won the Championship Car National Championship for the fourth time. He was also named Driver of the Year for the third time, becoming the first driver to receive the award in three different decades. Unfortunately, Andretti was never able to repeat his win at the Indianapolis 500. He came close in 1981 when he placed second to Bobby Unser. After the race was over, Unser was penalized one lap for passing illegally and Andretti was declared the winner. However, Unser protested the penalty, the decision was overturned, and Unser was reinstated as the champion.

Although Andretti continued to drive when many of his contemporaries retired, his victories became sparser as he got older. Andretti won his last Indy car race in Phoenix in 1993. It was the 52nd of his career. That same year, he set the highest qualifying speed at the Michigan International Speedway at 234.275 miles per hour, proving that age had not slowed him down. Andretti decided to retire at the end of the 1994 season. "There's no question that I've driven past my prime, but realistically, I'm still capable of bringing home results," Andretti told Bruce Newman of Sports Illustrated in 1994. Even after his retirement, Andretti continued to race in the 24 Hours of LeMans, the one international motor racing title that had eluded him.

Mario Andretti - Contact Information [next] [back] Mario Andretti - Won The Indianapolis 500

User Comments

Your email address will be altered so spam harvesting bots can't read it easily.
Hide my email completely instead?

Cancel or