The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary British Racing Drivers of all time. This list of famous British Racing Drivers is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of British Racing Drivers.
With an HPI of 77.04, James Hunt is the most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 46 different languages on wikipedia.
James Simon Wallis Hunt (29 August 1947 – 15 June 1993) was a British racing driver who won the Formula One World Championship in 1976. After retiring from racing in 1979, Hunt became a media commentator and businessman. Beginning his racing career in touring car racing, Hunt progressed into Formula Three, where he attracted the attention of the Hesketh Racing team and soon came under their wing. Hunt's often reckless and action-packed exploits on track earned him the nickname "Hunt the Shunt" (shunt, as a British motor-racing term, means "crash"). Hunt entered Formula One in 1973, driving a March 731 entered by the Hesketh Racing team. He went on to win for Hesketh, driving their own Hesketh 308 car, in both World Championship and non-championship races, before joining the McLaren team at the end of 1975. In his first year with McLaren, Hunt won the 1976 World Drivers' Championship, and he remained with the team for a further two years, although with less success, before moving to the Wolf team in early 1979. Following a string of races in which he failed to finish, Hunt retired from driving halfway through the 1979 season. After retiring from motor racing, he established a career as a motor racing commentator for the BBC. He died from a heart attack aged 45.
With an HPI of 75.41, Ken Miles is the 2nd most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 23 different languages.
Kenneth Henry Miles (1 November 1918 – 17 August 1966) was a British sports car racing engineer and driver best known for his motorsport career in the US and with American teams on the international scene. He is an inductee to the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America.
With an HPI of 73.80, Jackie Stewart is the 3rd most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 56 different languages.
Sir John Young "Jackie" Stewart, (born 11 June 1939) is a British former Formula One racing driver from Scotland. Nicknamed the "Flying Scot", he competed in Formula One between 1965 and 1973, winning three World Drivers' Championships, and twice finishing as runner-up over those nine seasons. Outside of Formula One, he narrowly missed out on a win at his first attempt at the Indianapolis 500 in 1966, and competed in the Can-Am series in 1970 and 1971. Between 1997 and 1999, in partnership with his son, Paul, he was team principal of the Stewart Grand Prix Formula One racing team. After retiring from racing Stewart was an ABC network television sports commentator for both auto racing, covering the Indianapolis 500 for over a decade, and for several summer Olympics covering many events. Stewart also served as a television commercial spokesman for both the Ford Motor Company and Heineken beer. Stewart was also instrumental in improving the safety of motor racing, campaigning for better medical facilities and track improvements at motor racing circuits. After John Surtees' death in 2017, he is the last surviving Formula One World Champion from the 1960s.
With an HPI of 73.61, Jim Clark is the 4th most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 48 different languages.
James Clark Jr. OBE (4 March 1936 – 7 April 1968) was a British Formula One racing driver from Scotland, who won two World Championships, in 1963 and 1965. A versatile driver, he competed in sports cars, touring cars and in the Indianapolis 500, which he won in 1965. He was particularly associated with the Lotus marque. Clark was killed in a Formula Two racing accident in 1968 in Hockenheim, West Germany. At the time of his death, aged 32, he had won more Grand Prix races (25) and achieved more Grand Prix pole positions (33) than any other driver. In 2009, The Times placed Clark at the top of a list of the greatest-ever Formula One drivers.
With an HPI of 73.42, Stirling Moss is the 5th most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.
Sir Stirling Craufurd Moss (17 September 1929 – 12 April 2020) was a British Formula One racing driver. An inductee into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, he won 212 of the 529 races he entered across several categories of competition and has been described as "the greatest driver never to win the World Championship". In a seven-year span between 1955 and 1961 Moss finished as championship runner-up four times and in third place the other three times. Moss died in London on 12 April 2020, aged 90, following a long illness.
With an HPI of 73.33, Graham Hill is the 6th most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 46 different languages.
Norman Graham Hill (15 February 1929 – 29 November 1975) was a British racing driver and team owner, who was the Formula One World Champion twice, winning in 1962 and 1968 as well as being runner up on three occasions (1963, 1964 and 1965). Despite not passing his driving test until 1953 when he was already 24 years of age, and only entering the world of motorsports a year later, Hill would go on to become one of the greatest drivers of his generation. Hill is most celebrated for being the only driver ever to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, an achievement which he defined as winning the Indianapolis 500, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the Formula One World Drivers' Championship. While several of his peers have also espoused this definition, including fellow F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve, the achievement is today most commonly defined as including the Monaco Grand Prix rather than the Formula One World Championship. By this newer definition, Hill is still the only driver to have ever won the Triple Crown, winning at Monaco in such frequency in the 1960s (5x; 1963, 1964, 1965, 1968, 1969) that he became known as "Mr. Monaco". Hill crashed at the 1969 United States Grand Prix and was seriously injured, breaking both his legs and ending his season. Although he would recover and continue to race until 1975, Hill's career would never again reach the same heights, and the Monaco Grand Prix victory earlier in 1969 would be his last victory in Formula One. Wins in the most prestigious races of all three of the major disciplines of motor racing cemented Hill's position as one of the most complete drivers in the history of the sport. Hill was also a well liked television personality and was frequently seen on television screens in the 1970s in a non-sporting capacity, appearing on a variety of programmes including panel games. Upon leaving Brabham, Hill set up his own team in 1973, operating under the name Embassy Hill. Hill continued to race, however after failing to qualify for the 1975 Monaco Grand Prix he retired from driving in order to concentrate on the day-to-day operations of the team. Tragically that same year Hill and five other members of the Embassy Hill team were killed when the aeroplane Hill was piloting from France crashed in fog at night on Arkley golf course while attempting to land at Elstree Airfield in north London.Hill and his son Damon were the first father and son pair to win Formula One World Championships. Hill's grandson Josh, Damon's son, also raced his way through the ranks until he retired from Formula Three in 2013 at the age of 22.
With an HPI of 72.48, Nigel Mansell is the 7th most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 50 different languages.
Nigel Ernest James Mansell, (; born 8 August 1953) is a British former racing driver who won both the Formula One World Championship (1992) and the CART Indy Car World Series (1993). Mansell was the reigning F1 champion when he moved over to CART, becoming the first person to win the CART title in his debut season, and making him the only person to hold both the World Drivers' Championship and the American open-wheel National Championship simultaneously. His career in Formula One spanned 15 seasons, with his final two full seasons of top-level racing being spent in the CART series. Mansell is the second most successful British Formula One driver of all time in terms of race wins with 31 victories (behind Lewis Hamilton, with 98 wins), and is seventh overall on the Formula One race winners list behind Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna and Fernando Alonso. He held the record for the most poles set in a single season, which was broken in 2011 by Sebastian Vettel. He was rated in the top 10 Formula One drivers of all time by longtime Formula One commentator Murray Walker. In 2008, ESPN.com ranked him 24th on their "Top 25 Drivers of All Time" list. He was also ranked No. 9 of the 50 greatest F1 drivers of all time by the Times Online on a list that also included such drivers as Prost, Senna, Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark.Mansell raced in the Grand Prix Masters series in 2005, and won the championship title. He later signed a one-off race deal for the Scuderia Ecosse GT race team to drive their number 63 Ferrari F430 GT2 car at Silverstone on 6 May 2007. He has since competed in additional sports car races with his sons Leo and Greg, including the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. Mansell was inducted to the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2005. He is the current president of one of the UK's largest Youth Work Charities, UK Youth. He is also President of the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) and has been a Vice President of the British Racing and Sports Car Club since 1987. In September 2014, it was announced that Mansell would be opening a Mitsubishi franchise on Jersey later in the month. In September 2015 the organisers of the Mexican Grand Prix (which was returning to Formula One after a 23-year absence) announced that the final corner of the re-designed Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit would be named after the 1992 Formula One World Champion and winner of the final race at the Mexico City circuit before it was dropped from the Formula One calendar for the 1993 season.
With an HPI of 70.74, John Surtees is the 8th most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 41 different languages.
John Surtees, (11 February 1934 – 10 March 2017) was a British Grand Prix motorcycle road racer and Formula One driver. He was a four-time 500 cc motorcycle World Champion – winning that title in 1956, 1958, 1959 and 1960 – the Formula One World Champion in 1964, and remains the only person to have won World Championships on both two and four wheels. He founded the Surtees Racing Organisation team that competed as a constructor in Formula One, Formula 2 and Formula 5000 from 1970 to 1978. He was also the ambassador of the Racing Steps Foundation.
With an HPI of 70.71, Mike Hawthorn is the 9th most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.
John Michael Hawthorn (10 April 1929 – 22 January 1959) was a British racing driver. He became the United Kingdom's first Formula One World Champion driver in 1958, whereupon he announced his retirement, having been profoundly affected by the death of his teammate and friend Peter Collins two months earlier in the 1958 German Grand Prix. Hawthorn also won the 1955 24 Hours of Le Mans, but was haunted by his involvement in the disastrous crash that marred the race. Hawthorn died in a road accident three months after retiring; he was allegedly suffering from a terminal illness at the time.
With an HPI of 68.85, Damon Hill is the 10th most famous British Racing Driver. His biography has been translated into 54 different languages.
Damon Graham Devereux Hill, (born 17 September 1960) is a British former racing driver from England. He is the son of Graham Hill, and, along with Nico Rosberg, one of only two sons of a Formula One world champion to also win the title. He started racing on motorbikes in 1981, and after minor success moved on to single-seater racing cars. Despite progressing steadily up the ranks to the International Formula 3000 championship by 1989, and despite being competitive, he never won a race at that level.Hill became a test driver for the Formula One title-winning Williams team in 1992. He was promoted to the Williams race team the following year after Riccardo Patrese's departure and took the first of his 22 victories at the 1993 Hungarian Grand Prix. During the mid-1990s, Hill was Michael Schumacher's main rival for the Formula One Drivers' Championship, which saw the two clash several times on and off the track. Their collision at the 1994 Australian Grand Prix gave Schumacher his first title by a single point. Hill became champion in 1996 with eight wins, but was dropped by Williams for the following season. He went on to drive for the less competitive Arrows and Jordan teams, and in 1998 gave Jordan their first win.Hill retired from racing after the 1999 season. He has since launched several businesses and has made appearances playing the guitar with celebrity bands. In 2006, he became president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, succeeding Sir Jackie Stewart. Hill stepped down from the position in 2011 and was succeeded by Derek Warwick. He presided over the securing of a 17-year contract for Silverstone to hold Formula One races, which enabled the circuit to see extensive renovation work. Hill currently works as part of the Sky Sports F1 broadcasting team.
Pantheon has 153 people classified as racing drivers born between 1906 and 1999. Of these 153, 74 (48.37%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living racing drivers include Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, and Damon Hill. The most famous deceased racing drivers include James Hunt, Ken Miles, and Jim Clark. As of October 2020, 20 new racing drivers have been added to Pantheon including Ken Miles, Kenneth McAlpine, and Al Pease.
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Which Racing Drivers were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 25 most globally memorable Racing Drivers since 1700.