1 minute read

Juan Manuel Fangio Biography

Developed Childhood Interest In Cars, Pieced Together Own Race Car, Excelled In Long-distance RacesSELECTED WRITINGS BY FANGIO:


Argentine race car driver

Race car enthusiasts around the globe consider Juan Manuel Fangio to be the all-time grand master of the racing world. From 1957 until 2002, Fangio sat alone atop Formula One racing's pedestal as the only driver with five world championships. In 2002, Germany's Michael Schumacher tied that record, and while he was likened to Fangio, even Schumacher said no comparison could be drawn.

Undoubtedly, Fangio competed in a different era—an era where a driver's finesse mattered more than the car. Fangio didn't have access to a carefully calculated super machine like today's racers. Instead, Fangio raced primitive machines that moved along about as gracefully as garbage trucks. There were no safety standards—drivers wore polo shirts instead of flameproof overalls, and they weren't secured inside a crash cage. Fangio saw 30 fellow racers die during his ten years in Europe. In Fangio's day, survival was as notable as performance. But Fangio didn't just survive; he won. Over his career, Fangio's technical artistry brought him 78 wins in the 147 races he finished. He also had 24 grand prix victories in 51 starts. Fangio was held in such deep regard that the people in his home-town of Balcarce, Argentina, pooled their money to buy him a car. Later, his races were broadcast throughout the country. For Argentineans, Fangio was a hero whose feats earned their nation international respect.


Jenkinson, Denis, ed. Fangio. New York: W. W. Norton Inc., 1973.

Sketch by Lisa Frick

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsAuto Racing