The brief was simple. An email to all the journalists on Autocar: pick your favourite racing driver of all time.
What we didn’t expect was quite the repertoire of answers that came back. Covering most eras and a vast spectrum of the sport - from Formula 1 to club racing - it just goes to show how varied motorsport and its followers are. For once, there are no wrong answers: it has led to many discussions and a fair amount of incredulity but, in the end, it’s all about personal choice.
Do you agree with us? Would you go for someone different? Let us know in the comments below.
My still ongoing fascination with Nascar began in the early 1990s, coinciding with the rapid rise of Jeff Gordon from highly rated rookie to a truly dominant force. So it was perhaps natural that I would be drawn to cheering for Gordon as he racked up an incredible 93 wins and four championships.
But Gordon isn’t just worth celebrating for his on-track achievements. He was pivotal in helping transform America’s leading stock car championship from a sport that was largely regional, infused in the American South, into something that was truly national – or even, as I’m evidence of, international.
To a young Brit, Gordon was something of a gateway drug into Nascar: born in California and raised in Indiana, he was a star of sprint car racing who was initially aiming for Indycar racing. Except that was the period when Indycar racing was growing internationally, and teams were increasingly turning to European and South American single-seater drivers, rather than taking a chance on talented Americans who honed their skills on dirt ovals.