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Kreb (Forum Supporter)
Kreb (Forum Supporter) PowerDork
9/2/21 5:06 p.m.

I am, you guys just haven't seen me yet ;) 

But seriously, I grew up in a motorcycle racing family. Every time the national tour came to town there were 2 or 3 local hotshoes who would give the pros a run for their money. My sense was that the top five or so pro riders were all of roughly equivalent skill and represented the absolute best out there, but that the rest of the thirty or so top guys were interchangeable with regional pro-am champs. 

There were exceptions though. Kenny Roberts was kinda the Michael Jordan of Road Racing in the late 70s and early 80s.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass Reader
9/4/21 9:44 a.m.
Tom1200 said:

JG don't sell yourself short "just a dumb journalist", if we asked your mom I'm sure she'd tell us you've done many other dumb things as well ( note my mother will confirm I'm a veritable Renaissance man of dumbness).

As for the article; I say that all the time. On any given weekend you can find hugely talented guys at local events who will never be known. It's one of the down sides of our sport / hobby.

 

Your last bit is spot on, there are many great racers out there but they'll never hit that top echelon due to finances etc

Im in the middle of the Ben Collins book, no, I dont think he's the best, but using him as an example.
He was looking at a F1 type ride and they said he would have to bring 1.5M pounds to get into the seat... few have that sort of coin.

And I dont think that was F1, but something along those lines (I'll have to go back and find the passage). But here's a good driver in various cars but he couldnt get to that bigger race due to funds (and maybe he does something later, Im only halfway, dont spoil it for me! lol).

How many great drivers are at the track events but cant afford to be a 'racer' much more than that?

 

 

Also, Ive got a liking to Scott Pruett, always pulled for him.

MrFancypants
MrFancypants Reader
9/4/21 12:35 p.m.

Any time I think about a "best ever" at anything, I'm looking at people who have been able to find success for more than one team. With racing, if someone can win a championship with one team, then go to a different team with different equipment, engineers, etc and still win championships... they are clearly very talented.

If we're going to talk about "best ever" across multiple driving disciplines I'm looking at drivers that have found success across multiple top tier racing series.

That said I nominate Mario Andretti.

Formula 1 champion with race wins in NASCAR, IndyCar, and the World Sportscar Championship. He's won the Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, 24 Hours of Daytona, three time winner of 12 Hours of Daytona, 2nd overall at LeMans.

I'd give Dan Gurney a close second, but it's hard to place him above a driver with similar accomplishments + an F1 chamionship.

gkcrane
gkcrane
4/22/22 2:36 p.m.

This question was asked 50 years ago by the racing guru Roger Penske so he devised a plan to see who really was the world's best race car driver.  

He ordered a dozen Porsche 911s from Porsche in Germany. They all were absolutely identical. Same horsepower on the dyno, same weight and weight distribution, same tires, fuel, etc. 

Their racing numbers were from 1 to 12 and each wore a different vivid color to distinguish them during the race. They looked like a bag of Skittles dropped from the sky. 

Then Penske selected the champion drivers from each racing discipline to compete against each other: F1, NASCAR, Trans-Am, Can-Am, Indy Car, etc. The drivers selected were all world famous such as Emerson Fittipaldi, Richard Petty, Bobby Unser, Bobby Allison, Mark Donahue, A.J. Foyt, Peter Revson, George Follmer, Roger McCluskey, David Pearson, Gordon Johncock, and Deny Hulme. 

The race was called the International Race Of Champions (IROC) and consisted of two heats of 20 laps each and took place at Riverside International Raceway. 

The drivers selected their car by a lottery system just moments before the race started. After the first heat the winning car was given to the last place driver and the last place car was given to the winning driver - for the second heat. All cars were exchanged among the drivers according to how they placed in the first heat. Penske made sure no one had an advantage.

Then the racing began.  I was there that day and the racing was exciting  

Wouldn't this be the best way to answer this question today?

 

VolvoHeretic
VolvoHeretic Reader
4/22/22 8:25 p.m.

The best car racer in the world? It would be me if I wasn't half blind with no depth perception, and really slow reflexes.  smiley

te72
te72 Reader
6/26/22 4:02 p.m.

I hear it's some kid who delivers tofu super early in the morning to a resort up in the mountains...

 

Kidding aside, most likely a rally driver. There is a certain disconnect between personal safety and having fun / going fast that those at the top level of rally seem to possess.

 

Also, for what it's worth, Top Gear's "Star With a Reasonably Priced Car" segment was a great way to find out the answer to this question.

 

As for me... had I gotten into a Miata nearly a decade sooner, and autocross at the same time as the Miata? Who knows... but I'm happy with the journey I've had. Still learning, still enjoying the sport. Probably never will be a wheel to wheel great due to a lack of facilities, but I have fun where I can. =)

racerfink
racerfink UberDork
6/26/22 4:56 p.m.

Rally drivers could be called the best drivers, and I might be inclined to agree, but the question is best racer, which is a really subjective "quantity".  So many young racers today have had dad's that made sure they had easy paths to championships that when they get to a level where tenths of a second matter because everyone is so good, they don't know how to race cleanly.  Racers that know how to set up a pass, or even just pass cleanly, has gone away over the last twenty five years or so.  Something about "rubbin is racing"...  no, it's not.

759NRNG
759NRNG UberDork
6/26/22 5:17 p.m.

Randy Pobst drives the wheels off most anything and is usually pretty successful at it  

j_tso
j_tso HalfDork
6/26/22 5:36 p.m.
te72 said:

Also, for what it's worth, Top Gear's "Star With a Reasonably Priced Car" segment was a great way to find out the answer to this question.

Maybe it would have been too car-centric but they could have expanded the segment to include rally and touring car racers.

Raikkonen briefly drove in WRC, the closest we came to having a WRC driver in an F1 was 2009 Abu Dhabi GP but red tape prevented Loeb from entering.

racerfink
racerfink UberDork
6/26/22 6:40 p.m.


 

Top Gear did have a F1 driver version of 'Star in a reasonably priced car', using a Suzuki Liana, an even slower car than the Kia they used for the stars.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
6/26/22 8:41 p.m.

Best racer in the world? Jon Sharp. Who's Jon Sharp? The winningest racer in the air. Together with Nemesis, he won 47 out of 50 races. That's 94%. Nine consecutive Reno Gold Formula 1 championships. The most dominant air racer, ever.

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