...And wiSh i’d drove
Bentley Speed Six
woolf Barnato at the wheel of “old number
one,” the le mans winner in 1929 and ’ 30
(pictured). despite the 4.5-liter, supercharged
“Blower” Bentley’s desirability among collectors,
the 6.5-liter, normally aspirated speed six was
by far the more successful racecar.
eIght-tIme 24 hours oF le mAns wInner
The best car, from feedback
going into and through a
corner, is the Audi R18
e-tron quattro. Over the
years, the power has been
cut down so much since I
first came to Le Mans, but from the speed
and efficiency and what you can do in the
corners, I can genuinely say this new Audi
is the finest car I’ve ever driven. OK, we’re
only doing 330kph (205mph) now, and
back in the day it was 350 (217), but we
get to this speed so quickly today and then
carry so much more of that speed through
the corners. I couldn’t have imagined I’d go
through a place like the Porsche Curves this
fast 10 or 15 years ago. Not a chance.
1986 Indy 500 wInner;
three-tIme CArt ChAmp
F. Peirce williams/LAT
I’m not sure if there’s just
one that stood out above all
of them, but the Porsche
962 is up there – those
were great endurance cars.
In CART, the ’ 92 Lola,
’ 85 Lola – it’s hard to pick just one of
them. But if you look at the sheer number
of wins – six in ’ 86, when there were only
17 races – I’ll say the ’ 86 March. Most of
those were post-Indy onward. I don’t think
we’d finished a race prior to Indianapolis.
The ’ 86 March was obviously very fast.
Grant Newberry was my engineer at the
time. In those days you carried a lot of fuel
– 40 gallons – and you really had to set the
car up. The car felt good at the start, and
he made sure we knew what we needed
for the end of the fuel run. There was good
knowledge there. Grant never got the credit
he deserved; everything clicked on that car.
For ones I didn’t race, I’ll say Ford GT40
and Porsche 917 as the sports cars from
the ’60s and early ’70s. That was my
favorite period of racing anyway. I owned
a 917 and drove a couple historic races
in it. Open-wheel, I drove a Brabham BT44
(BELOW) in historic racing, and I think
that’s the best looking Formula 1 car ever.
1978 F1 world ChAmpIon; 1969 Indy 500 wInner
Best car? My general
answer is every car I won
a race with. But to be
more precise, the obvious
cars are the Lotus 78 or
Lotus 79. They really, really
worked for me. And with the 78, if I hadn’t
had so many engine failures, I would have
won the easiest championship ever. The
79, of course, had more luck than that. I
led almost every race I started in the 78.
Those cars were outstanding. There were
others, like the Ferrari 312, where I think
the worst we ever finished was second.
I think the best Indy car that I had was
the ’ 87 Lola. It was the first year for the
Ilmor-built Chevy engine, and we had a
few issues with it, but we’d opted to go in
that direction, so it cost us a little bit. That
car worked for me anywhere, whether it
was a superspeedway, a mile, or a road
course. That was an awesome car.