There are drivers who try themselves in different motorsports during their careers, from Rally races to NASCAR. While others look for alternative options after their Formula 1 career, like Nelson Piquet Jr or the latest driver, Romain Grosjean. Here are the most versatile motorsport drivers with successes in different motorsports.
Ex-Haas driver Romain Grosjean has just announced that he will continue his career in the American open-wheel racing series, in IndyCar. He will drive with the RWR-Honda in 13 races out of the 17 rounds, but he will skip the oval races. Of course, after his last accident when he almost burnt in his car, everyone can understand the French driver’s decision. But at the age of 34, Grosjean didn’t want to retire from racing yet, so he chose an alternative option of Formula 1. We can already find several former F1 drivers like Marcus Ericsson, Sebastian Bourdais or Max Chilton. While Fernando Alonso will return to Formula 1 after trying out several different motorsports in the last few years.
Dan Gurney belongs to the most versatile motorsport drivers of all time
American racing driver Dan Gurney has won races in Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, Can-Am and Trans-AM Series. He was a real legend of motorsports who stayed there after the end of his racing career. He became a race car constructor and a team owner. Gurney started racing first in Formula 1 and won four races in his 11 seasons. He also won the 24hrs of Le Mans in 1967 and started spraying champagne on the podium which became a tradition in all motorsports after. Beside Formula 1 Gurney was also racing in all top American series winning five races in NASCAR. A true talent even without winning any world championships.
Mario Andretti, the best of all
One driver who could achieve even bigger successes than Gurney is Mario Andretti, the 1978 Formula 1 world champion. The American driver achieved his first great results in American open-wheel racing from midget cars to USAC sprint cars. In 1964 he joined the IndyCar series and won four titles there. He also got the victory in the 1969 Indianapolis 500. At the same time he tried Formula 1 as well and became a full-time driver in 1975. The Italian-born driver won the world championship in 1978 racing for Ferrari. Andretti was also racing in NASCAR where he won the legendary Daytona 500 race. This year’s race will be held next weekend where Denny Hamlin is favored to win by online sportsbooks in the US. But neither him nor other modern era drivers are likely to achieve similar results as Andretti had.
Graham Hill, the only driver who completed the Triple Crown
Graham Hill is the only driver to have completed the Triple Crown. Which means he won the 24hrs of Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 and the Formula 1 World Championships. In spite of starting his driving career quite late, at the age of 24 he became one of the most complete drivers of all time. Hill made his debut in the Monaco Grand Prix in 1958 but had to retire from the race. Later though he won here five occasions, earning him the nickname, “Mr. Monaco”. He won the F1 title twice, in 1962 and 1968 and finished as a runner-up three more times. Without his early death in 1975, Hill could surely try himself out in even more racing types. But his legacy continued with his son, Damon Hill who became F1 world champion twice as well.
John Surtees, champion on two and four wheels
Staying with British drivers, John Surtees was another versatile motorsport driver. Actually he is still the only person to win world championships on both two and four wheels. As Surtees started in motorcycling and won four titles in the 500cc world championships between 1952 and 1960. Then he switched to cars and raced in Formula 1 for another 12 years. He won the F1 title in 1964 racing for Ferrari. Surtees also took part in the 24hrs Le Mans races and finished third in 1964. While he also won three races in the 1966 Can-Am season and became champion. After his racing career he formed his own race team but it didn’t achieve similar successes and was disbanded after 8 years.
Sebastien Loeb, from WRC to Le Mans
One of the greatest rally drivers of all time, Sebastien Loeb won the World Rally Championships 9 times in a row with Citroen between 2004 and 2013. He still holds several records in the sport like most event wins and most podium finishes. After finishing his WRC career Loeb moved to the FIA World Touring Car Championship and finished third in his first season. Besides rally he was also taking part in the 24hrs of Le Mans and finished second in 2006. The French pilot had some testing with Formula 1 teams as well but he couldn’t race in the series after not getting the FIA Super Licence. But he was also competing in the FIA GT series, Porsche Supercup and in the FIA World Rallycross Championships. Not to forget his appearance at the Dakar Rally and finishing as a runner-up in 2017.
Fernando Alonso, from F1 to Endurance racing and back
Two-time Formula 1 champion Fernando Alonso spent 15 years in the series before leaving it. First he took part in the 24hrs of Daytona in 2018 and finished 38th with his team. But in the following year Alonso managed to win the race driving for Wayne Taylor Racing. He also won the 24hrs of Le Mans twice in 2018 and 2019. And the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship along with Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. His attempts at Indianapolis 500 were not as successful though. Last year Alonso took part in the Dakar Rally as well and finished 13th at the end. But now he is back to Formula 1 and will race for the Alpine team. Online gambling sites in the US offer the odds of +6600 for his victory at the end of the season.