Top 10 Greatest Auto Racing Drivers of All Time

The 10 greatest Auto Racing drivers. Across NASCAR, F1, IndyCar, and others.
The Top Ten
1 Ayrton Senna Ayrton Senna da Silva (21 March 1960 – 1 May 1994) was a Brazilian racing driver who won three Formula One world championships for McLaren in 1988, 1990 and 1991 and is regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers of all time. He was killed in an accident while leading the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix for Williams.

Ayrton Senna was simply the best; brilliant; a prodigy; a super star; a magician; pure genius. What this man could do, to maintain control, of a Formula 1 racing car, especially in wet, harsh conditions, to keep control, whilst other competitors were skidding or crashing, literally has to be seen to be believed; pure magic!

Mention Formula 1 to just about any random person, and likely, most people win remember Ayrton Senna. What Ayrton Senna did to inspire a thirst, hunger, or overwhelming desire for Formula 1 racing, should never be underestimated.

He was without doubt the greatest ever, definitely deserves number 1 status ahead of Schumacher.. he won his first race by over a minute in 85 from lights to flag while Schumacher won because of the leaders breaking down.. Senna also won his first title in style coming back in Japan while Schumacher crashed into hill.. the difference between grace and disgrace is what makes Senna the most special

F1's most gifted and most skilled driver ever. He could win in any car, and go fast in any car. He won 3 World titles and had 41 wins, could have gotten more had he not sadly died in 1994. He could have been ranked higher had he really deserved to win the 1988 and 1990 World titles, winning in 1988 even though Alain Prost had more points, and wrecking Prost to get it in 1990.

Racing's fastest driver ever. He could go fast in any car. He was incredibly talented and would have done more than 3 F1 world titles and 41 wins had he not tragically died in 1994.

2 Michael Schumacher

The best driver ever by some margin. Sena gets lots of sympathy vote, but this guy as a young driver was leading Sena in that fatal year (1994) when Sena was at his prime & this guy driving an inferior car. Lots of stupid people attribute his achievements to Ferrari's technical superiority; but Schumi made Ferrari, not other way. In driver's list no driver out side F1 should be even considered. And those US joke race are like computer games - faster cars running left turns in an oval speed track.

Most complete F1 driver ever, almost won titles in '97 and '98 in a car that was a long way from the best on the grid, would have won the '99 title if didn't break his legs in accident caused by mechanical failure. Could have easily been 10 time world champion.
Senna best qualifier, Schumi best ever.

There is no real difference between the top dozen or so'. some are better at some things, some better at others.. Put it this way; money on Senna to win a one lap dash (pole). Money on Schu or Prost to win unless it rains.. I admit have mot seen the drivers pre 1975

The Hendry of good many tuned in hoping to see him lose. Just like Hendry was on a different level and raised the bar to unseen levels and to impartial observers clearly #1. Stats support him and he done things in a F1 car no other driver has done like staying on slicks in heavy rain and keeping Hill behind or another amazing feat of being stuck with just 5th gear and also kept Hill (and the rest) behind...he was dominating Senna in a slower car while Senna was in his prime until his tragic accident but hey ho we're all just fortunate to have lived through the era with such brilliant drivers like Senna and Schuey.

3 Jim Clark

For me Jim has to be the best of all time. He could drive anything. He and Chapman revolutionized the Indy 500 with theLotus 38. I was luckly enough to actually see JIm drive. At the 1967 German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring Nordschleife he qualified 9 seconds fast than any of the other F1 greats in the field such as Jackie Stewart, G. Hill (driving an identical Lotus 49), Dan Gurney etc. He was just quicker around a corner than anyone else. If he had not sadly been killed in that F2 race at Hockenheim who knows what records he would have set.

Ayrton Senna quote

"Jim Clark was the best of the best... he was my boyhood hero."

fangio quote

"Jim Clark is outstandingly the greatest Grand Prix driver of all time."

Jackie Stewart quote

"We became known as Batman and Robin. And there was no doubt who was Batman and who was Robin."

How is Jim Clark not at the Top!? This is not a vote of who is your favourite racing driver. Mathematics prove Jim Clark was and most likely will remain the best racing car driver known to mankind!

In the words of Colin Chapman himself "He will always be the best. I'm sure in time someone else will come along and everyone will hail him as the greatest ever. But not for me, there will never be another in Jimmy's class."

4 Juan Manuel Fangio

He is the best of all time. His records, % winning, poles, charisma, the respect he commanded from his peers, plus he survived the extremely dangerous times of racing in the 50s...

I had the privilege of seeing the maestro that was Juan Manual Fangio race at Silverstone, the best driver ever!

The first true racing legend. He raced for 5 teams in F1 and won 5 World Titles out of 7 he competed in.

Compared with Fangio most others are dwarfs.

5 Fernando Alonso Fernando Alonso is a Spanish racing driver and former Formula One racing driver. He is a two-time Formula One World Champion, and is often regarded as one of the greatest Formula One drivers in the history of the sport.

Won 2 Titles with a Team that was a Underdog vs the Driver with most titles in history ( Schuhmacher). Showed that he can bring slower cars to Points. Won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and was Rookie of the Year at the 500. If he wins the Crown, he is one of two who ever did it. Graham Hill won also 2 F1 titles with the best Team, so I pick Alonso infront. He went out of the comfort Zone to drive in America. What would you pick? 5 world Cup wins in Soccer, or 2 world Cup wins with an Underdog, a super bowl win and world series Trophy. If he wins the 500, he is not the F1 Goat, but the best car Racer ever on legal bases.

He is a genius proving that he can understand and drive every car format and not only F1. For me Fernando is undoubtedly the best driver walking on earth.

The only thing he needs to do to achieve the triple crown of motorsport is to win the Indy 500 and he's working hard for it. If you listen to the commentators, they described him as looking stressful.

Proved He can race not only on a F1 format, but in Indy Car Series too. Deserving Rookie of the Year and Better driver than anyone racing racing on the track now.

6 Lewis Hamilton Lewis Hamilton is a British racing driver who races in Formula One for Mercedes AMG Petronas. A five-time Formula One World Champion, he is often considered the best driver of his generation and widely regarded as one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport. He won his first World Championship more.

I personally also regard Lewis Hamilton as the best F1 driver of this current time without a shadow of doubt. His sheer determination and commitment to deliver in any circumstance has to be acknowledged and surely appreciated. His consistence and impressive pole position's and race pace is just simply mesmerising. I see much maturity in him now than when he first started, (which is understandable). The professionalism of him, always praising his team, his team mate and also other competitors. When he wins, the first thing he always praises is his team, least of all himself. He is a humble gracious young man, and I believe there is still more to come from him. He accepts his fault's, blames no one, and learns from them. He is a true Ambassador of F1. number 1 F1 champ. Thank you Lewis for your massive contribution in F1, and making it the sport it is today. Keep up the good work! God bless you always.

How cal Lewis be so low on this list. He takes a car and consistently does better that his team mates. Michael, a great driver, but had the benefit of always being served by a number 2 driver who wasn't allowed to win if he was still in the race. Lewis also has to race his own team mats.

As any sport progresses the talent pool increases as well as each teams technology. Sienna and Schumacher were incredible. I just think Lewis is a class by himself when you look at the level of competition he exists in.

His consistency is unmatched. Can manage his races and championships to perfection. Am sure he will go on to achieve more over the next few seasons unlike SV. Just a great driver to watch and very respectful to others in and out of his team.

7 Alain Prost Alain Marie Pascal Prost is a French retired racing driver. A four-time Formula One Drivers' Champion, from 1987 until 2001 he held the record for most Grand Prix victories until Michael Schumacher surpassed Prost's total of 51 victories at the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix.
8 Sebastian Vettel Sebastian Vettel is a German racing driver currently driving in Formula One for Scuderia Ferrari. He is a four-time Formula One World Champion, having won the championship in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 with Red Bull Racing.

To me, Seb is the best. He not only kills it on race day, but in my opinion is one of the greatest of all time over a single lap. He has been overshadowed by Hamilton in recent years, but I feel if you were to put Seb into one of those Silver Arrows, he'd be destroying Lewis.

Amazing driver. Pulled off spectacular drives and even a win in Toro Rosso and managed to bounce back after a terrible 2014 season by at times beating the much faster Mercedes on pure pace, only driver to do that on sheer pace in the v6 era

Wonderful driving skill and keep going. Given him with a good car performance, Seb will fly all season!

Just look at brazil 2012

9 Dale Earnhardt Sr. Ralph Dale Earnhardt Sr., known professionally as Dale Earnhardt, was an American professional stock car racing driver and team owner, best known for his involvement in stock car racing for NASCAR.

Never saw a driver take so many mediocre cars and still manage to win races. Raced when cars were still identifiable and not put through computer sims like the new vehicles. One of the most skilled drivers of all time, no doubt.

"The Intimidator" is one of the most hardest guys you could ever race. He didn't let you by easily. He and Jeff Gordon had one of Racings best rivalries. He had 7 Championships and 76 wins, and may have gotten further had he not died in 2001.

Have you ever seen a f1 driver clean his own windshield? While driving!

Who ever made this list is crazy dale sr was way better then gordan

10 Jean Alesi

Some flashes of brilliance in his time in F-1, never seemed to get a ride with a first tier team that was on par with his talents had one of the longest F-1 careers and the longest winless streak. I remember him for his time at Jordan GP an newer team if it just had the money and an works engine package could have given the big three teams a run for their money

The Contenders
11 Jeff Gordon Jeffery Michael Gordon is an American former professional stock car racing driver, currently an announcer for Fox NASCAR, and a top executive for Hendrick Motorsports.

Perhaps more car control than any other stock car driver. His intensity and passion made him a joy to watch. A victim of constantly changing rules and gimmicky championship formats in the later half of his career kept him from more titles. All you can look at is the wins. 94 ain't too shabby!

The most skilled driver ever. He is also one of NASCAR's gentlemen drivers. He is the most successful in modern era, with 88 wins, 4 championships, and 3 Daytona 500's. He is also a very underrated driver. Could have been ranked higher if he could just get that 5th Championship.

Besides being a beautiful man, Mr Gordon made NASCAR accessible for anyone and everyone! I followed his career from 97 to his last race in Homestead of the 2015 season. I only wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors and thank you for all the years of " edge of your seat" racing! Thank you Mr Gordon!

Hands down the most skilled driver ever. And one of racings gentlemen drivers. With 88 wins and 4 Championships and 3 Daytona 500 wins in NASCAR, he's not slowing down.

12 Sebastian Loeb

I think it's difficult to compare older generation drivers like Fangio or Jim Clark to Scumacher, Senna and Prost. The same comparing Schumacher, Senna, Prost to say Vettel, Hamilton Alonso. I believe racing drivers improve exponentially through each era. can you imagine the physical training drivers of today have to go through compared to those in the 50's and 60's? In my opinion we can only go by their record of acomplishments. By record alone, Loeb is #1, Schumacher #2 and currently Vettel #3 because of their record. Hamilton may pass up Vettel in the very near future. Senna could be right up there, but unfortunately could not prove it. Could haves and would haves don't count. I also believe other drivers in NASCAR, Indycars or lower feeders may have a lot of great drivers but there's no way to prove it unless they go against each other like at the annual IROC (International Race Of Champions) after the F1 year end season. Remember Loeb had won against Schumacher twice at the ...more

Dominant, in probably the most difficult of all racing formats. One of the most amazing drivers of all time.

Could do it on Tarmac, gravel, snow or sand. Gimme a rally driver over F1 or NASCAR any day of the week.

The only reason FIA denied his F1 Super License was that they didn't want him to dominate F1 too. There was really no compelling reason to do so other than politics and money.

13 Mario Andretti

Mario Andretti to me will forever remain the best race car driver in the world along with Jim Clark.

Unlike majority of drivers on this list Mario completely made his career by himself. He just arrived from Italy to the USA and as a teenager starting competing in races at the local track. His secret racing career was completely hidden from his family until his brother Aldo's accident.

Mario made it up the ranks and soon entered the Indy 500. He would win 1 Indy 500 and several Indycar championships and at the same time Mario had a brief career in stock cars and ended up winning 1 Daytona 500.

Just when that was not enough he was finally spotted by Colin Chapman and given a chance to enter F1 and fulfill his dream of winning in his hometown of Monza and as you might imagine, Andretti dominated and would end up winning his home race in Monza and the 1978 World Championship.

With the exception of the 24 Hours Of Le Mans (which by the way he finished 2nd in ...more

If this was greatest F1 driver, or NASCAR driver, or Sports Car Driver, there are some who could outrank Mario. But the fact of the matter is, Mario won in everything he ever drove. Formula1 (world champ), IndyCar (500 winner & champion), Sports Cars, Dirt Cars, NASCAR, hell, he even won the Pikes Peak hill climb. He won on ovals, road courses, dirt, gravel, street courses -- every doggone thing. No one else on this list can claim that.

Over 109 wins on a major circuit. he remains the only driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), Daytona 500 (1967) and the Formula One World Championship, he has also won 4 Indy car championships
How is this guy number 14. Since Mario has won an Indy car race in 4 different decades the voters must be very young.

Andretti had 109 career wins on major circuits.He is one of only two drivers to win races in Formula One, IndyCar, World Sportscar Championship and NASCAR. He also won races in midget cars, and sprint cars. He should be higher up the list. Master American driver over 4 decades and Andretti had 109 career wins on major circuits.

14 A. J. Foyt

AJ career spanned more years than all the rest He was good on anything that had wheels, ran dirt bull rings with the sprints, paved oval tracks with indy cars, road races in all manner of race cars, stock cars, sports cars, drove as hard as any driver in any type of racing. I think about the only type of car he didn't drive was F1 but Indy cars were close in design. he drove at monza lemans indy daytona langhorne pocono eldora salem winchester and many many more tracks and he won in all the different types of cars. this can not be said of any of the others except andretti but foyt did it longer than any of them.

The only thing he didn't win, practically, was Formula One World Championship, which he never even tried. Perhaps he lost interest after winning his first and only le Mans? How he isn't in the top five is beyond me.

Racings toughest driver ever. He has been hurt so many times and never stopped. He was once even pronounced dead. He won 7 IndyCar Championships,4 Indy 500's, the Daytona 500 and a 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Foyt should be in the top 5, not outside the top 10.

15 Ken Miles

Ken Miles should be on the list. One of the greatest drivers ever and shafted by corporate USA.

I know he died too soon, bud god damn, if he was exactly the same as in the movie "Ford vs Ferrari", he should be there. He was the one, who beat Ferrari.

Unsung hero. True winner of the Triple Crown. Victim of Ford propaganda greed.

He is the one who beat ferrari first. He is unsung hero.

16 Colin McRae

Colin is by far the best Car Driver the World has ever seen! Forget the rest... to drive a car in no controlled conditions... all types of terrain... He is number 1...

Rally legend of all time

Balls of steel

17 Gilles Villeneuve

Too much a gentleman, he could have won instead of being second in the championship.

Pure, raw talent and respect for his sport, like no one else has ever shown!

The best driver that haven't won a championship. The guy had balls made out of steel no fear. I will drive flat out all the time ...(on 3 wheels Zandervort 1979) I love racing.

'Why do we bother? He's different from the rest of us. On a separate level'."

18 Tom Kristensen
19 Stirling Moss

Surely one of the very best.

Stirling Moss Should be one of the top four along with Ascari, Clarke and Fangio

20 Ken Block
21 Jimmie Johnson Jimmie Kenneth Johnson is an American professional stock car racing driver and a six-time champion in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Jimmie is incredible, he has 6 championships to his name and 2 Daytona 500 wins also. He went from pretty much the back of the field after a spin to finish a fighting third place. He could very well have 10 championships at this rate. Anything is possible...

Jimmie has 7 titles, 80 wins and he's only halfway through his career. I wouldn't be surprised if I got 106 wins and 10 titles. He is always calm on the radio, and he's always finding new ways. He should easily be 1-3.

This should be number 4 best racer ever!

22 Tazio Nuvolari

He won against al odds in Germany in '35 against much faster competitors. He did so many times, on circuits, roadraces, on motorcycles and in cars. His wins are legendary.

Dominant driver in his time. The golden age of motor-racing.

Surely one of the top 3. Nuvolari, Fangio, Clark.

He should be number 1 of all time.

23 Juan Pablo Montoya

The best overtaker of all time. Had more natural talent than anyone in F1 other than Senna. Still proves he can beat the best in the world at over 40 years of age in ROC. More balls than anyone I've seen race.

I'm no fair weather fan. JPM is my driver! Been following him since his first lap in Nascar. His son is following in his footsteps. Great dad!

IndyCar Race Victories 12 (10 CART), 2 Indianapolis 500 wins, IndyCar Championships 1 (CART, 1999), Formula One Race Victories 7, 24 Hours of Daytona Winner, Grand Prix of Monaco Winner, Grand Prix of Long Beach Winner, Italian Grand Prix Winner, NASCAR Rookie of the Year. Equals Mario Andretti and Dan Gurney by winning races in Indy cars, Formula One cars and NASCAR Cup cars.

24 Walter Röhrl

Best Rally driver of all time.

Best rally car driver ever.

Dominated in his time.

25 Carroll Shelby

If not for his heart condition, he would be remembered more for his accomplishments behind the wheel instead of the fabulous cars he built.

I agree. Without him, modern racing wouldn't exist.

Bull crap. Better car designer than racer.

Changed auto racing forever.

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