Hooniverse Asks: Who is your favorite racing driver of all time?

The conversations waft forward like smoke that seems to linger forever in the air around us. Debates about motorsport have lasted for over a century. They’ll continue on for a long time from now. People have their favorite drivers. My own personal, and possibly cliche answer for such a question, is Ayrton Senna. Maybe he’s an easy choice, but his passionate desire to win coupled with tremendous skill level puts him in a high place for me personally.

The beauty about this question though, is that other answers aren’t wrong. Some may love what Tom Kristensen has accomplished. That’s a great choice here. Others may point to the likes of Colin McRae, Sir Stirling Moss, or possibly Lewis Hamilton. Everyone has a reason for liking their own favorite driver, and those are usually good reasons.

Niki Lauda (1949 – 2019)

Another driver to consider as a favorite could be Niki Lauda. The man was a dominant champion and has remaining an icon in the sport up until his recent death at the age of 70.

Who’s your favorite racing driver? Remember, there are no wrong answers here.

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17 responses to “Hooniverse Asks: Who is your favorite racing driver of all time?”

  1. Chad Geidel Avatar
    Chad Geidel

    Jim Clark. Easily my favorite. Raw talent in multiple cars, and really amazing humble attitude. He seemed like an amazing person who would be a great friend.

  2. Ross Ballot Avatar
    Ross Ballot

    Cole Trickle.

    Really though, probably Robby Gordon just for his sheer madness in everything related to driving.

  3. onrails Avatar

    Dan Gurney. In and out of a race car.

    1. crank_case Avatar

      Yep, same here. Jim Clark would be a close second, but he’s the true renaissance man of racing.

  4. Sjalabais Avatar

    You know, formative years and all that, but Rickard Rydell is the first name I can come up with, and he really was a hero back then.
    Today? Hm…mdharrel?

  5. 0A5599 Avatar

    My answer changes from time to time, but today I’ll say Garlits.


    1. P161911 Avatar

      I finally got to drive by his house and museum earlier this year. One day I’m going to have to plan to stop there for a couple of hours on a trip to Florida, don’t care what the rest of the family thinks.

      1. 0A5599 Avatar

        When I visited the museum he happened to be offsite that day. I know there are certain days when he gives guided tours. If I ever get back there, I would definitely try to coordinate around that schedule.

  6. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    If I were to pick a favorite driver, it would be Alex Zanardi. There are plenty of reasons one might like Alex Zanardi, but it was mostly because he got a lot of attention in his rookie CART season. I’ve never followed racing with any fervor, but he was prominent enough that I knew his name at a time when I didn’t know the names of any other race car drivers.

  7. P161911 Avatar

    Can’t say as I have just one. A few favorites are:
    A.J. Foyt, he would drive anything anywhere, wins at Indy 500, Le Mans, Daytona 24 and 500, Sebring 12 hours, and a closed course land speed record.
    Mark Donohue. Team Penske, Indy 500, Can-Am, and F1
    Dale Earnhardt. Not only a stock car master, but he did pretty good in the ALMS Corvettes at Daytona. Also, just for his quote on fire ant and gasoline (look it up)
    Oddball pick, Johnny O’Connell. I always loved the Corvette Racing Team. Also, about 10 or 15 years ago at a vintage race at Road Atlanta I had signed up to do parade laps with my 1994 Corvette. There were probably 100 cars doing the parade laps. The laps were supposed to be fast (45mph or so in the turns 60-70mph on the straights), but not near any kind of full speed. The laps were led by the pace car followed by Johnny in a new Corvette. Apparently the pace car driver was pissed because the parade laps were causing him to miss lunch. He was pacing the field at about 25mph. About halfway around the first or second lap, Johhny had had enough, tapped the pace car and drove around. The next few laps were proper parade laps.

  8. Manxman Avatar

    I’ve been a fan of Sterling Moss for the last 60 years, ever since I read about him in Road & Track. I was fortunate enough to see him race at Le Mans in 1961 sharing a 250 GT SWB Ferrari with Graham Hill. I bought a copy of All But My Life and read it about a million times. He was my sports hero for many years. When I started driving as a teenager I’d use the arms out relaxed posture of Sterling. He raced F1, sports cars, endurance races, sedans, speed records, just about anything with four wheels. Like most race car drivers of his day he raced every weekend to make a living. His greatest feats of racing came when he was behind. While his career ended way too early he has remained a legend in motor sports. I was lucky to have seen all the greats of the ’60’s but Moss has always been my favorite driver.

  9. sunbeammadd Avatar

    I’ve lots of favourites but I’ll go with Archie Scott Brown for his (literal) single handed determination.

  10. GTXcellent Avatar

    Lots o’ drivers come to mind – but one thing is that I’ve always rooted for the underdogs (although I don’t think ‘King’ Richard can be considered an underdog). Guys who raced hard, but often didn’t have quite the car (or money). Sammy Swindell (even though he won a ton, he was always the little guy next to Steve Kinser. Eddie Hill (although he was the First in the 4’s) and Darrell Gwynn were all my favorites.
    But, NASCAR was far and away my favorite, and my absolute favorite driver/racer/owner started as a guy nobody ever heard of – Alan Kulwicki. Here was northerner (from Wisconsin), who owned his own race team, and was still able to race hard and be there at the end with a plain white Ford that had no sponsors. I was ecstatic when he finally got a real sponsor, and then to see him actually win the whole damn thing! It’s still unbelievable. His story sounds like pure fiction – and why hasn’t Hollywood made his life into a movie?

  11. SlowJoeCrow Avatar

    My first reaction is John Surtees, still the only man to win both F1 and Moto GP world championships. (Tazio Nuvolari gets an aterisk since his victories predated world titles). I also really like Dan Gurney for both achievements and willingness to hop into a Ferrari Daytona with Brock Yates to drive the Cannonball.

    Honourable mention to Graham Hill for the most memorable quote “calling on my years of experience, I promptly froze at the wheel”.

  12. alex Avatar

    My favorite will always be Ayrton Senna. Moody, fearless, principled, devout. An iron will to win. Best I’ve ever seen in the wet. The wetter the better: see Donnington 1992.

    Not sure, though, if he was a guy I’d like to have a few beers with.

  13. Pinkerton9 Avatar

    Sir Jackie Stewart. He was a hell of a racer in F1 and dabbled successfully in Can-Am. He had the courage to stand up to the status quo to make needed changes in the sport.


  14. Windbüchse Avatar

    Bernd Rosemyer – anyone who could tame the Auto Union grand prix cars and fearlessly blast down the autobahn at 269 mph in 1938, gets a star from me….

    Attempting to pass Nuvolari at Pescara in Italy –
    “On the eighth lap his brakes seized before entering a corner and the car slid of the road, jumped a ditch and passed between a telegraph pole and the parapet of a bridge before re-emerging onto the circuit and back into the race. Rosemeyer eventually finished second behind his teammate Varzi on this most eventful afternoon.
    After the race, Dr. Porsche went to the scene of Rosemeyer’s drive through the woods and being the engineer measured the gap between the pole and the bridge. He found it to be only 2 1/2 cm. or 1 inch wider than the Auto Union at its widest point. Silently the mercurial Porsche shook hands with the young driver and patted his shoulder. ”