Michael Andretti

Full Name:
Michael Mario Andretti
Born:
5th October 1962 (Age 57)
Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
Nationality:
American
Most recent race (in database):
Biography

Michael Andretti won more Champ Car World Series races than any other driver in its history, was crowned champion in 1991 and is now a successful Indycar team owner. However, in Europe he is remembered for a single disappointing Formula 1 season.

Son of a legend starts his own racing career

Two years after Mario Andretti clinched the 1978 World Championship, his son Michael had embarked on his own racing career. Initially, he competed in Formula Ford before winning the 1982 SCCA Super Vee Championship with a Ralt RT5. He stepped up to Formula Atlantic in 1983 and often qualified fastest. He clinched the title despite winning fewer races than the more experienced Roberto Moreno.

The youngster finished a strong third on his high profile debut at Le Mans in 1983 when sharing a Kremer Porsche 956 with his father and Philippe Alliot. Andretti also raced in Champ Cars for the first time that autumn when driving Kraco Racing’s March 83C-Cosworth in the final three races of the year.

Champ Car success and Formula 1 with McLaren

He remained with that team for five years – establishing a reputation as a fine prospect. Co-Rookie of the Year in the 1984 Indianapolis 500, he finished as championship runner-up two years later when narrowly beaten by Bobby Rahal. That 1986 campaign included a 0.07s defeat to Mario on Father’s Day at Portland as well as breakthrough victories at Long Beach, Milwaukee and Phoenix.

Beaten to the title again by Rahal in 1987, Andretti joined Newman-Haas Racing as his father’s team-mate for 1989. This was perhaps the zenith of the Champ Car series as second generation drivers Andretti and Al Unser Jr went head-to-head. Unser edged his childhood friend to the 1990 title and Michael was again runner-up in 1992. But 1991 was Andretti’s year – second in the Indianapolis 500 before finally winning the Champ Car World Series itself thanks to eight victories.

His sustained success attracted the attention of F1’s elite. Andretti tested for McLaren in 1991 and joined the race team for 1993. It was an opportunity to emulate his father’s world championship success and his performance was anticipated with excitement. Unfortunately, his debut in South Africa ended in the barriers after just four laps and it proved to be the first of too many incidents as his reputation took a battering. His decision not to live in Europe perhaps contributed to Andretti’s inability to settle in F1. It was not McLaren’s most competitive season but team-mate Ayrton Senna still won five times that year. Andretti’s best result of the year was third at Monza on what proved to be his last GP before being replaced by Mika Häkkinen.

Successful return to Champ Cars

Andretti returned to Champ Cars with Chip Ganassi’s ambitious team and immediately won the opening round of 1994 in Australia on Reynard’s first race in the category. A return to Newman-Haas followed a year later when Nigel Mansell was tempted by F1 again. Victory in the Indianapolis 500 remained elusive – continuing his father’s tradition of near misses at the Brickyard. Again runner-up in 1996, he moved to Team Green in 2001 and finished third at Indy before becoming co-owner of the operation.

Andretti’s team has been a leading player of the Indy Racing League and Indycars since it abandoned Champ Cars in 2003. It has won the Indycar title with Tony Kanaan (2004), Dan Wheldon (2005), Dario Franchitti (2007) and Ryan Hunter-Reay (2012) – the British drivers also winning the Indianapolis 500 in their championship year.

Michael came out of retirement to finish third in the 2006 Indy 500 as his son Marco only lost on the last lap.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2007 IRL IndyCar Series
Andretti Green Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
27th 17
2006 IRL IndyCar Series
Andretti Green Racing
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
24th 35
2003 IRL IndyCar Series
Andretti Green Racing
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
24th 80
2002 Indy Racing League
Team Green
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
38th 26
2002 FedEx Championship Series
Team Green
19 0 4 1
6% win rate
9th 110
2001 Indy Racing Northern Light Series
Team Green
1 0 1 0
0% win rate
34th 35
2001 FedEx Championship Series
Team Green
20 (1) 0 5 1
5% win rate
3rd 147
2000 FedEx Championship Series
Newman-Haas Racing
20 0 5 2
10% win rate
8th 127 (131)
1999 FedEx Championship Series
Newman-Haas Racing
20 1 5 1
5% win rate
4th 151
1998 FedEx Championship Series
Newman-Haas Racing
19 1 5 1
6% win rate
7th 112
1997 PPG CART World Series
Newman-Haas Racing
17 0 5 1
6% win rate
8th 108
1996 PPG Indycar World Series
Newman-Haas Racing
16 0 6 5
32% win rate
2nd 132
1995 PPG Indycar World Series
Newman-Haas Racing
17 3 4 1
6% win rate
4th 123
1994 PPG Indycar World Series
Chip Ganassi Racing Team
16 0 3 2
13% win rate
4th 118
1993 F1 World Championship
Marlboro McLaren
13 0 1 0
0% win rate
11th 7
1992 PPG Indycar World Series
Newman-Haas Racing
16 7 8 5
32% win rate
2nd 192
1991 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Newman-Haas Racing
17 8 11 8
48% win rate
1st 234
1990 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Newman-Haas Racing
16 4 7 5
32% win rate
2nd 181
1989 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Newman-Haas Racing
15 2 6 2
14% win rate
3rd 150
1988 World Sports-Prototype Championship
Porsche
1 0 0 0 44th 18
1988 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Kraco Racing
15 1 5 0
0% win rate
6th 119
1987 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Kraco Racing
15 2 5 4
27% win rate
2nd 158
1987 World Touring Car Championship
Alfa Corse
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
38th 24
1986 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Kraco Racing
17 3 8 3
18% win rate
2nd 170
1985 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Kraco Racing
15 0 1 0
0% win rate
9th 53
1984 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Kraco Racing
16 0 5 0
0% win rate
7th 102
1983 World Endurance Championship
Porsche Kremer Racing
1 0 1 0 25th 12
1983 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Kraco Racing
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
26th 4
1983 North American Formula Atlantic Championship 1st -
1982 World Endurance Championship
Grand Touring Cars
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1982 North American Super Vee Championship 1st -