"If ever there was a 24 carat hall of famer, it’s Mario Andretti. Pulled over in the UK, it’s, “who do you think you are, Stirling Moss?” But for the Smokies in the USA, it’s always Mario. On "
Racing Dynasty: The Andretti family
The Andretti dynasty - where racing is a family business
Motor-racing is more than just cars going around in circles, it is a community bound by the love of what it is partaking in. In this sense it is almost like a family. In light of this we thought we’d take a look at one of the most famous families in motorsport, the Andrettis.
To start, let’s look at the first and most famous Andretti, Mario who began his career on dirt ovals in Nazareth, Pennsylvania nine years after he was born and then evacuated from his birthplace, Montona, Italy. Working his way through the motor-racing categories Mario then found himself on the radar of Colin Chapman who gave him his Formula One debut in 1968 with Lotus.
After a stint with Ferrari, a return to Lotus beckoned and in 1978 he became Formula One World Champion at the age of twenty-eight. No American driver has claimed a Formula One World Championship since.
Andretti, though, much like Stirling Moss, had an uncanny ability to adapt quickly to differing motor-racing categories and as such part of his legend is his spread of victories in multiple categories such as at the Daytona 500 where, despite team favouritism, he was victor; as well as a second place at the 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours alongside a win at the 1969 Indianapolis 500.
Mario Andretti, however, is not the only member of his family who is quick behind the wheel. Two drivers who are sufficiently quick in their own right are his son and grandson Michael and Marco Andretti. They, like their father and grandfather are also quick.
We’ll start with Michael Andretti, Mario’s son. Born in 1962, Michael much like his father, also drove in Formula One during his career. Debuting at the 1993 South African Grand Prix Andretti did not have the same feel for the McLaren MP4/8 that his teammate Ayrton Senna did. Despite this, however, Andretti did score a strong podium, taking third place at that year’s Italian Grand Prix at Monza.
Despite a tough one year stint in Formula One, Andretti was by no means a slow competitor. Just two years prior, in 1991, he had convincingly won the USAC Indycar title in cars that required for far more aggressive manoeuvring than the Formula One machinery he was placed into.
Michael Andretti has also had significant success outside of the racing cockpit. In 1994 Andretti Autosport was founded and over the succeeding twenty three years of competition has claimed nine drivers’ titles in multiple series including CART, Indycar and Global Rallycross showing that Andretti’s speed has been transferred from the track to the paddock.
Showing their DNA of speed has transferred into a third generation is Marco Andretti. Son of Michael, Marco, much like his father and grandfather has participated (and been competitive) in multiple formats of motor-racing including prototypes and single seaters. In Indycar, he is a two-time race winner as well as the famous Le Mans and Daytona 24 Hour events, alongside an outing in the Andretti Formula E machine.
The Andretti name then, is not a one man show, but a band of racing heritage spread out over six decades of high velocity motor-racing.
If anything you could call it a Dynasty of Speed.
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