• Feb 9th 2010 at 7:58AM
  • 12
The Triple Crown of Motorsport is an elusive distinction earned by only a handful of drivers in the history of motor racing. It's elusive partly because it evades definition, but given its immense difficulty, we'll take the broadest possible: To score the Triple Crown, a driver has to win either the Indianapolis 500 or the Indy/CART title, plus either the Monaco Grand Prix or the F1 drivers' title and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Fortunately not in the same year, but over the span of a career.

So far, Graham Hill remains the only one ever to have completed the feat, winning the Indy 500 in 1966, the Monaco GP five times in the '60s, the F1 title twice in '62 and '68, and Le Mans in 1972. (Substitute the Daytona 500 for Le Mans, as some American fans suggest, and AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti would be crowned as well, with Juan Pablo Montoya poised to join them.) Jacques Villeneuve has come within spitting distance, having won the Indy 500 (and the CART title) in 1995, the F1 title two years later, and after leading at Le Mans for several hours in 2008 in the Peugeot 908, finally coming in second behind Audi. But the next winner, if by feat of pure ambition alone, could be Nigel Mansell.

The British driver is one of only a handful to have been crowned champion in both F1 and Indy, alongside Emerson Fittipaldi and the aforementioned Hill, Andretti and Villeneuve. But while Hill, Andretti and Fittipaldi are long since retired, Mansell is back at it. After racing the 1000 Kilometers of Silverstone in the Le Mans Series last year with his up-and-coming racer son Greg, Mansell will be contesting the big prize at La Sarthe this year, the three-man team rounded out by his other son Leo.

They'll be driving in the top-tier LMP1 category in the same Ginetta-Zytek GZ09S they fielded at Silverstone last year (pictured above), with the brothers campaigning the entire season and the father joining for the headline event. And while Mansell and sons aren't expecting to win in their first year, they're in it for the long haul and are targeting an overall win within the next few years. To do that, they'll have to beat the likes of Audi, Peugeot and Aston Martin with a privateer entry. But if any underdog can do it, their name couldn't be anything other than Mansell.

[Source: Autosport]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Months Ago

      Graham Hill is the ONLY man to ever win the triple crown of auto racing.  The Cart/IRL/Indycar title is not a part of this.  The Indianapolis 500 is however.  You have to win Indy, Le Mans and Monaco to do it, PERIOD.  We may never see a second TRUE triple crown winner because Indy and Monaco are raced on the same day!

      • 5 Years Ago
      "Substitute the Daytona 500 for Le Mans, as some American fans suggest..."

      I am an American racing fan and I can say that is a BAD suggestion. That is like saying you can replace a Porsche 911 with a Camaro SS. Those are two totally different cars. Yes, they have two doors and go fast, but they drive so differently. The Daytona 500 is a stock car race going around in circles and Le Mans is a sports car endurance event. Both maybe the "crown jewel" of their type of racing, but it appears to me Le Mans is the greater challenge and the one more people around the world respect.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go Nigel! You are definitely in the same class with Hill and Andretti.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bring it back to England, boys!
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Substitute the Daytona 500 for Le Mans, as some American fans suggest, and AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti would be crowned as well..."

      This isn't accurately worded. While the above is true for Andretti, A.J. Foyt won BOTH the Daytona 500 ('72) AND Le Mans ('67) and of course, the Indy 500 four times.

      I believe you mean to say "Substitute the Daytona 500 OR LeMans for a Monaco win or F1 championship and A.J. Foyt would be crowned as well."

      FWIW, I don't think the Daytona 500 is an adequate substitute for Le Mans.
      • 5 Years Ago
      His Sons are 22 (Greg) and 25 with him being 56. You've got to tip your hat to him. I'm guessing it'll be a long shot but fair play to him for giving it a go.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I have never heard that the Cart/IRL championship was part of this. Nobody cars who wins it, the 500 is the only thing that matters. Indy 500, 24 hrs Le Mans, Monco GP or F1 world Champ.

      • 5 Years Ago
      What's up with Le Mans this year? Usually it's very difficult to get an invite, even established teams have to jump through a few hoops to do it. So why this year do we see announcements of all the part-time teams that are getting the invites? Is the downturn really hurting Le Mans for teams? Or am I just seeing things differently even though it always works this way?
      • 5 Years Ago
      So, does that mean we'll be seeing the Mansell's driving for Audi?

      All kidding aside, all the best to the them because, you know what they say, "A family that races together..."
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is it possible that it was meant to state the Daytona 24 hour win? I canlt remember if Foyt ior Andrettia has won that either.
      • 5 Years Ago
      All the luck in the world to them. What a sweet thing it would be if they could beat the big teams...

      I don't see it happening, the way the sport is these days, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. Mansell has always been a class act.