Number 269: The Great Teams II Issue
Rose-tinted spectacles regularly emerge when racing folk get together to remember the good times, and sooner or later, the topic of driver versatility will come up. “Whatever happened to that breed of driver who could get in any car and go quick?” they’ll wonder, before citing names like Parnelli, Clark, Foyt, Gurney, Moss…and, of course, Mr. Versatile himself, Mario Andretti.
Mario’s son, Michael, could never hope to emulate such a diverse career path, being a racer of the ’80s, ’90s and early 21st century, but having become one of the legends of Indy car racing, he then
did something his father never considered; he became a team owner. And in this aspect of his life, Michael Andretti has embraced diversity just like his father did as a driver.
Andretti Autosport runs/has run cars in IndyCar, Indy Lights, Pro Mazda, USF2000, Formula E and Global Rallycross, and has been a winner in almost all. As this issue of RACER went to press, an Andretti driver is yet to stand on the top step of a Formula E podium, but that day is surely coming. Certainly it will arrive sooner than Mario will fill that annoying Le Mans-sized gap in his list of triumphs. (Yes, that still bugs us, too!)
So is Andretti Autosport a great team? It’s one of the best in the world today.
While he may not have owned a team, Mario was a cornerstone for the foundation of an Indy car icon – Newman/Haas Racing. But if you want a lesson in how even the best teams can struggle at first, don’t miss our NHR story…nor our John Force Racing feature, which proves that becoming the team to beat is never achieved easily.
If a team’s greatness is defined by its longevity at the top, you might not think of Tyrrell Racing when discussing Formula 1’s best teams, but that would be a mistake. Ken Tyrrell’s squad spent six of the seven seasons 1968-’74 in genuine contention for World Championship titles, which is an impressive achievement at the top (and therefore most expensive) level of the sport. Just ask Red Bull Racing.