Jump to content


Photo

Versatility


  • Please log in to reply
155 replies to this topic

#1 Bauble

Bauble
  • Member

  • 1,040 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 18 November 2011 - 19:24

Now I truly hope that this has not been covered before on TNF if it has just advise.

We have often heard opinions on the 'Greatest Driver of All Time' etc., however, have we ever discussed versatility?

If not who might we consider versatile, and I would urge any participants, to stick to circuit/road racing and not confuse the issue with rallies and other forms of motor sport.
I do acknowledge that many drivers have excelled at both, but try and keep it simple.

Please tell me there is nothing loose/controversial in this idea!!

Bauble

Advertisement

#2 Cirrus

Cirrus
  • Member

  • 1,533 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 18 November 2011 - 19:34

Vic Elford

#3 Rob Ryder

Rob Ryder
  • Member

  • 2,058 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 18 November 2011 - 19:35

Jacky Ickx

#4 buckaluck

buckaluck
  • Member

  • 148 posts
  • Joined: May 09

Posted 18 November 2011 - 19:38

Mario Andretti has to be up there as he raced in dirt, nascar, Can Am, F5000, F1, LeMans prototypes, Indy/CART pretty much anything with 4 wheels.

Buck

#5 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 9,452 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 18 November 2011 - 19:39

I think it's a great idea, and my vote goes to Mario Andretti.

Awesome on dirt in Sprint Cars he was equally fast on ovals, in Indy cars (1969 Indy 500 winner, if not for mechanical issues could have won 6 or 7) and stock cars (Daytona 500 winner, 1967 [?]). On road courses, fabulous, whether F1 (WC 1978), Indy cars (multi-time Champ), sports cars (1967 Le Mans 24 winner), Can-Am, Formula 5000, you name it.

The guy could drive anything. The only current driver I can say that about, in America at least, is Tony Stewart.

To qualify my comments, I respect both drivers but was never much of a fan of either — but did support Mario while in F1.

[Edit: Buck, you beat me by less than one lap's time! :wave: ]

Edited by E1pix, 18 November 2011 - 19:40.


#6 AJB

AJB
  • Member

  • 142 posts
  • Joined: December 08

Posted 18 November 2011 - 19:42

Edgar Jessop

#7 longhorn

longhorn
  • Member

  • 173 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 18 November 2011 - 19:50

I think it's a great idea, and my vote goes to Mario Andretti.

Awesome on dirt in Sprint Cars he was equally fast on ovals, in Indy cars (1969 Indy 500 winner, if not for mechanical issues could have won 6 or 7) and stock cars (Daytona 500 winner, 1967 [?]). On road courses, fabulous, whether F1 (WC 1978), Indy cars (multi-time Champ), sports cars (1967 Le Mans 24 winner), Can-Am, Formula 5000, you name it.

The guy could drive anything. The only current driver I can say that about, in America at least, is Tony Stewart.

To qualify my comments, I respect both drivers but was never much of a fan of either — but did support Mario while in F1.

[Edit: Buck, you beat me by less than one lap's time! :wave: ]



And he drove the 4WD Lotus 63 at the Nurburgring in 1969. However, he was overshadowed by Mansell in CART in 1993, albeit having competed for more than 30 years by that time & was infinitely more charasmatic & had nothing left to prove.

#8 Tony Matthews

Tony Matthews
  • Member

  • 17,498 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 18 November 2011 - 19:54

Fascinating how the choices are already taking on a partisan aroma! I think Mario Andretti has to be well up the list, and I await to see how the Europe/USA battle runs out!

#9 alansart

alansart
  • Member

  • 4,007 posts
  • Joined: March 07

Posted 18 November 2011 - 20:04

Martin Brundle!

#10 snettertonesses

snettertonesses
  • New Member

  • 30 posts
  • Joined: April 07

Posted 18 November 2011 - 20:04

Dan Gurney - F-1, sports cars, can-am, USAC, NASCAR, Trans-AM
Jimmy Clark - F-1, F-2, sports cars, USAC, NASCAR
Bruce McLaren - F-1, Can-Am, USAC, sports cars
A.J. Foyt: sports cars, USAC, Can-Am type cars in the USRRC, Trans Am, Dirt cars, NASCAR, horse carriages, tricycles.. anything
Mark Donohue: F-1, sports cars, USAC, can-am, Trans Am, F-5000
Jackie Stewart - F-1, sports cars, USAC, Can-am, Euro Saloons
Graham Hill: F-1, F-2, sports cars, , USAC

many more, my point is that the bigger names back in the 50s - 70s were all pretty versatile, hence WHY they were big names. The money back then also dictated that a driver who wanted to make lots of cash had to do lots of laps.. in anything available if he expected to make a decent living.
i wonder if today's drivers would not venture out more if not so encumbered by legal entanglements brought on by sponsors/owners.

Edited by snettertonesses, 18 November 2011 - 20:13.


#11 Bloggsworth

Bloggsworth
  • Member

  • 7,438 posts
  • Joined: April 07

Posted 18 November 2011 - 20:05

Another thread where there really is only one answer - Stirling Moss. You can't have it all ways, either you want the most versatile or the best between set limits. Moss was outstanding in every branch of motorsport in which he competed, so to rule out rallying and lawn-mower racing is to stack the deck.

Edited by Bloggsworth, 18 November 2011 - 20:11.


#12 Cirrus

Cirrus
  • Member

  • 1,533 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 18 November 2011 - 20:05

Fascinating how the choices are already taking on a partisan aroma! I think Mario Andretti has to be well up the list, and I await to see how the Europe/USA battle runs out!




OK - in a spirit of Transatlantic Entente Cordiale, I will concede that Mario Andretti is as worthy as The Sainted Vic.

Edited by Cirrus, 18 November 2011 - 20:06.


#13 longhorn

longhorn
  • Member

  • 173 posts
  • Joined: July 09

Posted 18 November 2011 - 20:06

Fascinating how the choices are already taking on a partisan aroma! I think Mario Andretti has to be well up the list, and I await to see how the Europe/USA battle runs out!



I wasn't intending to be partisan, just thinking out loud about Andretti.

Nuvolari & Varzi migrated from bikes to cars & were good with both. As did Surtees & Hailwood. Moss & Clark were potential winners in almost anything they drove.

#14 ReWind

ReWind
  • Member

  • 2,346 posts
  • Joined: October 03

Posted 18 November 2011 - 20:24

Now I truly hope that this has not been covered before on TNF. If it has just advise.

Someone has to do it:
Multi-purpose drivers


#15 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,136 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 18 November 2011 - 20:25

Another thread where there really is only one answer - Stirling Moss. You can't have it all ways, either you want the most versatile or the best between set limits. Moss was outstanding in every branch of motorsport in which he competed, so to rule out rallying and lawn-mower racing is to stack the deck.


Yes, it has to be Sir Stirling, end of discussion I think.


#16 D-Type

D-Type
  • Member

  • 8,022 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 18 November 2011 - 20:47

Louis Chiron,
Grands Prix, Le Mans, Monte Carlo Rally.

Mario Andretti,
Indycars, NASCAR, Midgets, Sprint cars, Stock cars, sports cars, GP cars. If it had four wheels he won in it.

Jackie Ickx,
GP Cars, sports cars, Paris-Dakar

These days, with early specialisation we no longer see drivers covering all categories, but I'm sure that given the opportunity they could.

What is unique about Vic Elford is the short timescale he covered the different disciplines in.

Nothing to add

#17 GMACKIE

GMACKIE
  • Member

  • 1,706 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 18 November 2011 - 21:00

John Surtees

#18 elansprint72

elansprint72
  • Member

  • 3,328 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 18 November 2011 - 21:13

Bauble told us to ignore rallies, etc; which I take to include (exclude) two-wheelers too.... so: GERRY MARSHALL.

Edited by elansprint72, 18 November 2011 - 21:14.


#19 GMACKIE

GMACKIE
  • Member

  • 1,706 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 18 November 2011 - 21:42

Bauble didn't mention the number of wheels required.......John Surtees was World Champion, both 2 and 4 wheels. That's pretty versatile. :up:

Advertisement

#20 GMACKIE

GMACKIE
  • Member

  • 1,706 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 18 November 2011 - 22:39

Dear Bauble,

There is nothing loose/controversial in this idea!!..........as per your request. :wave:

Cheers,

Greg

#21 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 9,452 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 18 November 2011 - 23:03

Fascinating how the choices are already taking on a partisan aroma! I think Mario Andretti has to be well up the list, and I await to see how the Europe/USA battle runs out!

No partisanship here, just know our guys more than your guys. :) But let the Games begin! :wave:

Should I include Gilles Villeneuve since he was the greatest snowmobiler to actually step up? Though hardly per Bauble's "circuit/road racing" definition... (sorry, mate!). Tough to leave out John Surtees also, with or without the motorcycle dominance he was awesome!

#22 elansprint72

elansprint72
  • Member

  • 3,328 posts
  • Joined: September 08

Posted 18 November 2011 - 23:14

Bauble didn't mention the number of wheels required.......John Surtees was World Champion, both 2 and 4 wheels. That's pretty versatile. :up:


Versatile indeed he was but as a driver? I have never heard of a 2-wheel bloke called a driver, even 3-wheeler chaps are riders, are they not? Also "other forms of motor-sport" seems to mitigate against Surtees.

Don't forget, this is a Bauble question.  ;)

#23 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 9,452 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 18 November 2011 - 23:21

Versatile indeed he was but as a driver?

John Surtees was also the first-ever Can-Am Champion, 1966... in a machine about as unlike other race cars as anything.

Edited by E1pix, 19 November 2011 - 01:26.


#24 Nigel Beresford

Nigel Beresford
  • Member

  • 732 posts
  • Joined: February 09

Posted 18 November 2011 - 23:26

Yes, it has to be Sir Stirling, end of discussion I think.



Not much cop on ovals.....

Just sayin'....

Edited by Nigel Beresford, 18 November 2011 - 23:35.


#25 LittleChris

LittleChris
  • Member

  • 2,159 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 18 November 2011 - 23:38

:rotfl:

#26 D-Type

D-Type
  • Member

  • 8,022 posts
  • Joined: February 03

Posted 18 November 2011 - 23:41

Not much cop on ovals.....

Well, he only competed once a true oval once. 4th and 5th in a what was not the best car. If you consider Avus an oval he qualified second but retired with mechanical failure. And at Monza on a circuit includin g an oval his record was qualified 2nd but DNF and 1st. On that limited record I would say he demonstrated that he was more than merely competent.

#27 jj2728

jj2728
  • Member

  • 2,774 posts
  • Joined: January 04

Posted 18 November 2011 - 23:42

Jimmy Murphy...

#28 Nigel Beresford

Nigel Beresford
  • Member

  • 732 posts
  • Joined: February 09

Posted 19 November 2011 - 00:04

D-Type,

thanks for the info.

Everyone will have their own opinion... to stir the pot a bit I put forward Graham Hill - WDC (twice), Indy 500 winner, Monaco GP winner, Le Mans 24 hours winner...

Road courses, street courses, superspeedways, F1 cars, Indycars, prototypes...

I'd say that's pretty versatile....

Edited by Nigel Beresford, 19 November 2011 - 00:07.


#29 john winfield

john winfield
  • Member

  • 1,033 posts
  • Joined: July 02

Posted 19 November 2011 - 00:16

How about Frank Gardner and Brian Redman? Denny Hulme too.

#30 racinggeek

racinggeek
  • Member

  • 214 posts
  • Joined: June 11

Posted 19 November 2011 - 01:15

Well, if we're going to go two wheels as well as four, let's talk about Pelican Joe Leonard, who won championships in American Motorcyclist Association Grand National racing (oval dirt tracks) and USAC Championship Cars (two titles in a row in '71-72). Not sure about his road racing prowess, but it's one very large difference from sliding a bike around a slicked-up clay turn to going 190-ish mph at Indianapolis.

That said, Mario was my first thought, with Tony Stew in the picture as well. Yes, I am American -- is it obvious? :)

#31 racinggeek

racinggeek
  • Member

  • 214 posts
  • Joined: June 11

Posted 19 November 2011 - 01:30

And while I'm at it, let's not forget one Rufus Parnell Jones. Never got into F1, but Parnelli was a winner in everything he sat in, incuding beating the likes of Gurney and Donohue in Trans-Am and off-road desert racing (yes, I know, not supposed to count in this topic).

Would also point out from Stateside that Al Unser Sr. won F5000 and Can-Am II races, along with his USAC sprint/Champ/Silver Crown wins, and a little digging shows he won in the then-competitive USAC stock cars on a road course (Mosport, 1968), fairgrounds mile dirt ovals (twice) and the Milwaukee Mile (1971). Sounds pretty versatile to me.

#32 GMACKIE

GMACKIE
  • Member

  • 1,706 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 19 November 2011 - 01:36

Versatile indeed he was but as a driver? I have never heard of a 2-wheel bloke called a driver, even 3-wheeler chaps are riders, are they not? Also "other forms of motor-sport" seems to mitigate against Surtees.

Winning the 1964 Formula One World Championship would surely qualify Surtees as a driver, IMHO. No-one else has won BOTH World Titles.

Post #1 says "stick to circuit/road racing"......No mention of the type of machinery. :wave:


#33 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 9,452 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 19 November 2011 - 07:14

And while I'm at it, let's not forget one Rufus Parnell Jones. Never got into F1, but Parnelli was a winner in everything he sat in, incuding beating the likes of Gurney and Donohue in Trans-Am and off-road desert racing (yes, I know, not supposed to count in this topic).

Would also point out from Stateside that Al Unser Sr. won F5000 and Can-Am II races, along with his USAC sprint/Champ/Silver Crown wins, and a little digging shows he won in the then-competitive USAC stock cars on a road course (Mosport, 1968), fairgrounds mile dirt ovals (twice) and the Milwaukee Mile (1971). Sounds pretty versatile to me.

Yes, PARNELLI JONES! Great shoe, originator of the "Oversteer is Fast at Indy" concept.

Al Unser - - - did win a single F5000 event and was a very versatile driver! I was there for his sole F5000 win, Road America 1976. (I hate that "Sr." business, he was "Al Unser" throughout my youth, and "Jr." is just that).

Good call though, Al as a versatile shoe, same Old School Mario came from!

Al Unser, JR. won the Can-Am II races, never his Father, so not to confuse.

#34 Bauble

Bauble
  • Member

  • 1,040 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 19 November 2011 - 07:38

Don't rule out Lewis Hamilton ......................... he can hit Ferraris, Williams, Saubers even other McLarens, must qualify as versatile :love:

#35 Bauble

Bauble
  • Member

  • 1,040 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 19 November 2011 - 07:41

I do not really want to add a lot to this thread, as I am more interested in the views of you chaps, however, it is nice when rather than just name someone reasons are put forward.


bauble

PS; I am trying hard to build up a reputation on TNF as versatile.

#36 Tim Murray

Tim Murray
  • Member

  • 14,218 posts
  • Joined: May 02

Posted 19 November 2011 - 07:56

Now I truly hope that this has not been covered before on TNF if it has just advise.

Someone has to do it:
Multi-purpose drivers

Other threads which cover the same or similar ground:

The most adaptable F1 driver

Motor Sport magazine's 'Greatest All-Rounders' list

Two separate species?

All around best drivers

Multi-talented Drivers


#37 eldougo

eldougo
  • Member

  • 6,194 posts
  • Joined: March 02

Posted 19 November 2011 - 08:07

Don't rule out Lewis Hamilton ......................... he can hit Ferraris, Williams, Saubers even other McLarens, must qualify as versatile :love:

:wave: :wave: :wave: Good one Bauble.




#38 E1pix

E1pix
  • Member

  • 9,452 posts
  • Joined: January 11

Posted 19 November 2011 - 08:09

Other threads which cover the same or similar ground:

Ah, Heck, those Forums have all come and gone...

#39 Michael Ferner

Michael Ferner
  • Member

  • 2,152 posts
  • Joined: November 09

Posted 19 November 2011 - 08:22

Would also point out from Stateside that Al Unser Sr. won F5000 and Can-Am II races, along with his USAC sprint/Champ/Silver Crown wins, and a little digging shows he won in the then-competitive USAC stock cars on a road course (Mosport, 1968), fairgrounds mile dirt ovals (twice) and the Milwaukee Mile (1971). Sounds pretty versatile to me.


Remind me, when did Al Unser win a USAC sprint?

Advertisement

#40 Eric Dunsdon

Eric Dunsdon
  • Member

  • 625 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 19 November 2011 - 15:49

There can be few drivers to equal ken Wharton when it comes to versitility.

Pre-War racing with Austin 7 Specials.
Sports cars of all engine sizes, Frazer-Nash, Jaguar, Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin.
Saloon Cars. Healey, Austin, Ford.
Formula 2. Cooper Bristol.
Formula 3. Wharton-JAP, Cooper-JAP.
Formula 1. BRM V16, Maserati 250F, Vanwall.

Wharton was a consistent front runner and race winner with most of the above, and, unlike Stirling Moss, was able to master the Mark One V16 BRM after joining the team in 1952.

In defiance of the original question, I should also point out Ken's two RAC Trials Championships, four British Hill Climb titles and Tulip Rally successes. Oh, and he replied to my 1952 schoolboy fan letter with a signed photograph!. :cool:

#41 Ray Bell

Ray Bell
  • Member

  • 53,754 posts
  • Joined: December 99

Posted 19 November 2011 - 19:46

Colin Bond excelled in:

Hillclimbs

Rallies (internationally recognised)

Endurance rallies

Production touring cars, short and long distance

Modified touring cars and Sports Sedans

F5000

Car preparation

And Peter Brock beat him in all but F5000s.



#42 Lemnpiper

Lemnpiper
  • Member

  • 762 posts
  • Joined: February 05

Posted 19 November 2011 - 22:58



Does Anyone know why Vic Elford never did the Indy 500? It seems about the only big race of that era he missed driving in.

#43 Bauble

Bauble
  • Member

  • 1,040 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 20 November 2011 - 08:45

May I remind one or two of the more competetive spirits out there, that the question is not 'who is the MOST versatile driver?'
We are merely seeking examples of drivers who have competed in a wide variety of cars /formula/categories of four wheel motor sport. I had hoped to exclude rallying not from any bias, but to keep a sensible limit on the answers.

Eric Dunsdon has made a very good case for a chap called Ken Wharton, a name perhaps unfamiliar to many of the younger generation (people under 60), likewise Mario Andretti's versatility has been well illustrated by several contributors, however, simply tossing in a name; Vic Elford.

Who is he, never heard of him, what has he ever done?

Begs the question doesn't it?

I grew up in the Stirling Moss era and know just how versatile he was, but one needs to justify his inclusion with a few facts.

This could be a very interesting and enlightening thread if we all make an effort, let's face it if someone ever says to me; Who was the most versatile drive you have ever heard of?

And I say Montmorency Earnshaw!

They may well say; ' Why do you say that?'

I reply; 'Because some bloke on TNF said so.'

Well you work it out.

#44 Eric Dunsdon

Eric Dunsdon
  • Member

  • 625 posts
  • Joined: February 08

Posted 20 November 2011 - 12:59

I mentioned Ken Wharton because I was pretty sure that nobody else would. Although, unlike Jim Clark, Ken certainly never met The Beatles, he was, without doubt, one of the most versatile drivers of the 1950's, a time in which drivers could demonstrate their versitility by racing in a variety of cars and classes almost every weekend. I must agree though, that Stirling Moss stands above all others, before or since. :cool:

#45 racinggeek

racinggeek
  • Member

  • 214 posts
  • Joined: June 11

Posted 20 November 2011 - 18:03

Remind me, when did Al Unser win a USAC sprint?


As my boss editor would say, ACK! Now that I dig a little more, can't find a USAC Sprint win for Big Al. Thought he had. Interestingly, a closer look at ultimateracinghistory.com shows very few USAC sprint car outings for Al, ever. I don't know about his pre-USAC local-track sprint results. Still sticking by his versatility, though, and I hadn't even mentioned Pikes Peak. Al also ran a handful of IMSA races, both GT and GTP, although I don't recall how successfully, off the top of my head.

#46 Bauble

Bauble
  • Member

  • 1,040 posts
  • Joined: January 09

Posted 20 November 2011 - 18:14

", although I don't recall how successfully, off the top of my head."

We are not particularly concerned with the level of success here, just the variety of what and indeed where.

How many of our American cousins competed outside of the US of A for instance? Were they International in scope?

#47 helioseism

helioseism
  • Member

  • 1,429 posts
  • Joined: December 05

Posted 20 November 2011 - 18:16

Here's another way to look at it. One could argue that the four biggest accomplishments a driver could achieve are winning the F1 World Championship, the Indy 500, the 24 hours of Le Mans, and the Daytona 500. This is a diverse set of competitions, to be sure. No one has ever done this. However, three drivers have won three of the four, so in that sense they might be considered the most versatile and successful:

Mario Andretti: F1 World Champion 1978, Indy 500 1969, Daytona 500 1967
AJ Foyt: Indy 500 1961/1964/1967/1977, Daytona 500 1972, Le Mans 1967
Graham Hill: F1 World Champion 1962/1968, Indy 500 1966, Le Mans 1972

#48 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,136 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 20 November 2011 - 18:24

We are not particularly concerned with the level of success here, just the variety of what and indeed where.


I don't really agree with that, it matters not whether they won or lost certainly, but how they played the game. Surely to qualify as an all-rounder, any driver would have to be pretty competent in anything he entered, and if not it shouldn't really count in his favour.


#49 arttidesco

arttidesco
  • Member

  • 5,633 posts
  • Joined: April 10

Posted 20 November 2011 - 18:35

Tony Stewart has to be right up there he has won NASCAR Championships under the old points system and at least one with another possible this evening under the chase point system, IRL Title, USAC triple crown and kart titles when he was a kid.

I'd include Dan Wheldon Indy 500 winner, IRL Championship and Daytona 24 hour winner.

Of the Older Generations Andretti, Foyt, Gurney Jimmy Clark, Graham Hill & Phil Hill all had transatlantic success you'd struggle not to include Surtees, Moss, Fangio and Ascari amongst them.

At a push sticking to road racing it is hard to imagine any won has more races in more different types of car than Sir Stirling Moss, but I'm not sure how long it would take to back such an assertion up with hard facts.

#50 kayemod

kayemod
  • Member

  • 7,136 posts
  • Joined: August 05

Posted 20 November 2011 - 19:02

At a push sticking to road racing it is hard to imagine any won has more races in more different types of car than Sir Stirling Moss, but I'm not sure how long it would take to back such an assertion up with hard facts.


How about 585 races entered, 387 finished and 216 won?

Truly the Greatest Living Englishman, certainly as far as the history of international motor racing is concerned.