F1 World Champion, Indy 500 Winner, Racing Legend
If you're going to dream, might as well dream big.Mario Andretti
About the Innovator
Mario Andretti was born in Montona, Italy (present-day Croatia), on February 28, 1940. He and his twin brother, Aldo, visited Italy’s Monza race track as boys and fell in love with motorsport. When the family immigrated to Nazareth, Pennsylvania, in 1955, the Andretti boys were thrilled to find a dirt track nearby. As teenagers, they modified a Hudson and started racing in secret, telling their parents only after Aldo was seriously injured in a 1959 crash.
Mario worked his way up through midgets and sprint cars before landing a ride with the Dean Van Lines racing team in 1964. He finished third in his Indianapolis 500 debut in 1965, earning Rookie of the Year honors. He went on to win the Indy Car Championship that season, and again in 1966. For 1967, Andretti added victories at the Daytona 500 and the 12 Hours of Sebring to his growing list of accomplishments. He rounded out the decade with an Indy 500 win in 1969.
Andretti expanded into Formula One racing in 1971, driving first for Ferrari and then for Team Lotus. He won the F1 World Championship in 1978, becoming only the second American to do so. Clinching the title at Monza, where his racing dreams began many years before, made the victory that much sweeter.
Andretti returned to Indy Car racing in the 1980s, winning his fourth National Championship in 1984. He retired from Indy Car in 1994, but not before competing against sons Michael and Jeff several times. Andretti made his final competitive driving appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2000.
Why He Innovates
Mario Andretti partnered with some of the most imaginative and innovative people in racing. His first Sebring win was with Ford Motor Company’s Mark IV car, which went on to earn Ford’s second consecutive victory over Ferrari at Le Mans. His win at the Indianapolis 500 was with Andy Granatelli, among racing’s greatest showmen. Andretti earned his F1 championship with Colin Chapman, whose groundbreaking car designs continue to influence motorsport.