Survey: The Best Motorsport Driver of Our Generation

Ethan

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Hey guys. Speaking with some friends, someone asked on who we believed it was the best motorsport driver of our generation. So, i'm putting the same question here.

Who, do you believe, is the best motorsport driver of our generation?

Here is the parameters:

- Any kind of motorsport is welcome. 2 wheels, 4 wheels, etc
- Generation is considered a lifespan from 1983 until today
- All things considered: Impact on the sport, championships, legacy
- Any answer is a good answer (Could be global, could be local, etc)
- Any nominee must have an explanation of why is he the Greatest

Thanks. See you soon
 

Loz

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Probally Sebastian Loeb.

Considering he has 9 Titles in the WRC, one of the hardest Motorsports, aswell as winning X Games Rallycross. 2nd at Le Mans and doing very well with his teams at GT racing. I'd say Loeb is the best of this generation.
 

the Interceptor

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Stefan Bellof. An incredible talent that, due to a fatal crash in 1985, only had a few chances to show his talent. He holds the all time lap record for the N?rburgring to this day (though arguably the track configuration was changed and todays race cars that compete on the 'Ring do not have the hp he had when se set the record, so technically his record can only never be beaten because the circumstances have changed) and was the childhood racing idol for Michael Schumacher. Had he lived, I believe he would have been the greatest talent we knew today.
 

Red_Bull

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No doubting Sebastian Loeb's talent, but hasn't he had it a bit easy over the last few years? The WRC is not what it once was in the 80s and 90s when you had drivers such as Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz, Tommi Makkinen, Marcus Gronholm, or Juha Kankunnen, driving against each other for the likes of Subaru, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford, or Peugeot. Apart from Hirvonen and Ford, who else was there to challenge effectively?
 

racingfan1

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Working with your parameters, I'd have to put forth Jimmie Johnson.

Go ahead, get the "Nascar sucks" "They only turn left" and whatever other arguments you want out of the way.

Better? Good. Johnson has five consecutive championships facing the best competition in his category for 36 weekends out of the year. Not only that, but they run what are essentially endurance races, three or four hours, anywhere from 250 to 600 miles. He was also a member of Team USA for the Race of Champions in 2002 and 2007.

Things against him, I wouldn't say he's the greatest talent behind the wheel, even within his own category. And it's "only Nascar".

Others I could list: Michael Schumacher, Senna, Loeb, Tom Kristensen, Jamie Whincup. So many names, with many of them either just starting or in the prime of their careers. In the end, I had to go with the one I've watched the most.
 

lukenwolf

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Working with your parameters, I'd have to put forth Jimmie Johnson.

Go ahead, get the "Nascar sucks" "They only turn left" and whatever other arguments you want out of the way.

Better? Good. Johnson has five consecutive championships facing the best competition in his category for 36 weekends out of the year. Not only that, but they run what are essentially endurance races, three or four hours, anywhere from 250 to 600 miles. He was also a member of Team USA for the Race of Champions in 2002 and 2007.

Things against him, I wouldn't say he's the greatest talent behind the wheel, even within his own category. And it's "only Nascar".
I agree that he's currently the best at what he does, even though I'd say in comparison to Petty and Earnhart sr. he still has a way to go. The thing about NASCAR is that it is too much geared towards spectacle rather than racing. Many people, who grew up with European style racing don't take oval racing very seriously as it doesn't appear to need much more skill than being able to race side-by-side without piling into each other. Such prejudice seems to be backed up by things like Nigel Mansell winning the 1993 Indycar title with almost all his wins coming on ovals.

The real greats as I would define them don't exist anymore. People like Mario Andretti, who tried to win the Indy 500, Le Mans and F1. Loeb in a way tries that by having pummeled the competition in Rallying and now going for GT racing. Most drivers are one-trick ponies these days. The great allrounders, who would race wheelie bins and win are sadly gone.
 
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DanRoM

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I want to add Joey Dunlop to the list of nominees. 26 class victories at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy in 25 years - 'nuff said.
 

racingfan1

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The great allrounders, who would race wheelie bins and win are sadly gone.
I'm not entirely sure that's accurate, but we don't get to see those that could get to try anymore. The amount of sponsor and team and what all else commitments don't give them much time to do anything but what they are paid to do.

Going back to Jimmie Johnson, he started in motorcycles, then went to stadium off-road trucks, before finally making to the move to Nascar. If this were 25 or 30 years ago, I could see him running all across the globe driving all kinds of things. Another thing to consider, is the levels of competition are up across the board. In Nascar, you constantly have 20 or more cars finish on the lead lap, sports cars (okay, apart from Audi) is more consistently competitive. Formula One has it's normal front-runners in Ferrari and McLaren, but Red Bull have come on in recent years, Mercedes is getting there, Lotus-Renault is making a charge. Force India, even, is making runs at the top, albeit inconsistently. All over the world, to be successful anymore, it seems you have to specialize. So, yes, we've probably seen the last of the Mario Andrettis who could go and race his Indycar, win, get out, fly over to Daytona and win in a Nascar and, just for good measure, go pilot a Formula One car to victory. But I don't think that means we're at the end of the great drivers, just that the great drivers don't get to show us their full complement of talents.


This is a topic that has no "real" answer. Just like the "best" racing series doesn't exist. Fun to discuss, but I don't think you can come to a real conclusion based on what everyone's done on their own.
 

Rex Luther

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No doubting Sebastian Loeb's talent, but hasn't he had it a bit easy over the last few years? The WRC is not what it once was in the 80s and 90s when you had drivers such as Colin McRae, Carlos Sainz, Tommi Makkinen, Marcus Gronholm, or Juha Kankunnen, driving against each other for the likes of Subaru, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Ford, or Peugeot. Apart from Hirvonen and Ford, who else was there to challenge effectively?
Loeb is pretty much the reason WRC aint what it used to be. All the makers effectively got sick of pouring money into programs that were never going to be ultimately successful as long a Loeb was racing for someone else.
(Oh yeah, Loeb is my pick as well)
 

Cobol74

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NASCAR is and the guys are generally only North American (OK some South Americans and one to two odds and sods also drive) so although NASCAR is a really 'difficult/dangerous' motor sport you do not get drivers from around the world competing so really the greatest ever NASCAR driver has a handicap in the Greatest Driver of a generation competition. This is not the case for F1 and WRC for instance. BTCC (and the German equivalent) would have the same difficulty.
 

lukenwolf

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This is not the case for F1 and WRC for instance. BTCC (and the German equivalent) would have the same difficulty.
DTM is quite international: Joey Hand (US of A), Andy Priaulx, Jamie Green, Gary Paffet (Her Majety's Empire), Matthias Ekstr?m (Sweden), Augusto Farfus (Brazil), Mortara, Merhi (Spain), Bruno Spengler (Canada). In recent years we also had Kathrine Legge, Suzie Wolff, Rahel Frey, David Coulthard, Jean Alesi, Mika H?kkinen, Tom Kristensen, Christijan Albers, Paul di Resta. While nominally a German racing series it has always been quite international.

Which reminds me: I wanted to open a DTM thread...
 
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