Back in what some like to call the ‘good old days’ racing drivers were freelancers, heroes for hire, hustling a grand prix car round Monte Carlo one weekend and taking a Lotus Cortina by the scruff of the neck the next.
Unlike today where specialisation is key, to be a racing driver half a generation ago you had – almost by definition – to be an all-rounder. One who could adapt their style to whatever machinery was available.
But to dominate across multiple disciplines was still rare. To move between such different cars successfully you needed to have been born with exceptional natural talent, a God-given ability to win granted to just a few drivers in each generation. Such men speak of being able to feel what a car is doing at any given moment, to anticipate its foibles and instantly react to both car and conditions. They might also need a capacity for long-distance travel, to capture the rewards.