With 40,000 votes cast, almost twice as many as last year, the Motor Sport Hall of Fame shortlist has been finalised.
The winners will be announced during a glittering ceremony at the Royal Automobile Club, Woodcote Park, Surrey, in front of an audience of star names and enthusiasts.
Our editorial team chose 12 eligible candidates for each category and the top three, revealed below, were selected by the public vote. With names including Jenson Button, Mike Hailwood and Phil Hill shortlisted for this year, which of the chosen few will join our illustrious list of inductees? The winners will be revealed on June 4.
Formula 1 – in partnership with Princess Yachts
What constitutes a great? Is it results, or is it championships won? If either is the answer, then why is Gilles Villeneuve the most loved driver of his generation? His sideways, aggressive driving style and refusal to give up thrilled Formula 1 for just four complete seasons. Villeneuve’s death left a deep scar on the sport but released a legend. Read more.
Mike Costin & Keith Duckworth
The founders of Cosworth changed motor racing history with the advent of the DFV engine. It was the world’s most successful F1 engine – but it was much more than that. For more than 30 years it, and its derivatives, won in almost every branch of motor sport. Sports cars? For sure. Indycar? No question. But what about hillclimb cars, special saloons – and powerboats? Yep, those too. Read more.
Jenson Button’s long and ultimately successful Formula 1 career included much frustration before fate finally dealt him a winning hand in the most unexpected of circumstances. Victory in the 2009 World Championship and that he subsequently more than matched Lewis Hamilton’s points tally while McLaren team-mates is evidence of a worthy and popular Grand Prix driver. Read more.
Racing car – in partnership with JBR Capital
With Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna driving, the MP4/4 won 15 of the 16 Grands Prix in the 1988 F1 season, achieving such dominance that the team amassed a points total only one shy of 200 and just two short of all the other teams combined.
What is even more remarkable about this is that the MP4/4 was, in effect, a BT55 done properly. Because the Brabham had been a failure, nobody in the pitlane had paid it the attention it deserved. Its execution had gone awry, certainly, but its principal features signposted the way ahead. Although the lesson was lost on others, Murray remained convinced that his approach was the right one. As he describes here, everything came together at just the right time for the MP4/4 — and the result was a phenomenon. Read more.
Even when it wasn’t winning, back in 1969, even when evil aerodynamic instability of the early cars killed poor John Woolfe, everyone knew the Porsche 917 would change sportscar racing forever. You only had to see it mow down the Mulsanne Straight at over 245mph to know that. Dickie Attwood will tell you that, at such speeds, you watched the horizon in the mirror appear to lower as the back of the car started to leave the ground. Others talked of the consequent wheelspin while covering a mile every 15 seconds. The 917 was different. Read more.
The first appearance of the Sport Quattro was in Corsica, May 1984. Audi felt the initiative was slipping away from it. It was. That event was also the debut for the Peugeot 205 T16, which had been homologated one month earlier and, until Ari Vatanen retired it, was the quickest thing around.
The Sport Quattro was Audi’s answer to the upstart newcomers. The majority of its technology was, in true Audi tradition, in the motor: a twin-overhead cam, four-valves-per-cylinder, fire-breathing monster that was conservatively said to give 400bhp and probably gave at least 100 more. Read more.
The older of the Rodríguez brothers may have been the slower to develop but he was one of the world’s elite drivers by the beginning of the 1970s. Twice a Grand Prix winner, it was in sports cars that he was really special. The sight of Pedro Rodríguez’s Gulf Porsche 917K on the edge of adhesion during the wet 1970 BOAC 1000Kms at Brands Hatch is one of the iconic images of the era. Read more.
Although Hans-Joachim Stuck never quite made the grade in Formula 1, he has been one of the greatest and most spectacular sports car stars of all time. The son of pre-war Grand Prix winner Hans Stuck, he first raced a BMW 2002Ti at the Nürburgring when 18 years old and won the circuit’s inaugural 24-hour race a year later in 1970.
Further touring car success followed with victory in the 1972 Spa 24 Hours when sharing a works Ford Capri RS2600 with Jochen Mass. He ended the year by winning the German Racing Championship for sports cars to confirm a new star. Read more.
Henri Pescarolo is a Le Mans legend pure and simple. Winner of the race on four of his record 33 starts, he continued as a central character in the event as a team owner long after retiring as a driver. Read more.
‘Mike the Bike’ was a true legend – a multiple champion on two-wheels and a star on four. In addition to his racing exploits, Mike Hailwood was awarded the George Medal – Britain’s highest honour for civilian bravery – after saving an unconscious Clay Regazzoni from his burning car at Kyalami in 1973. Read more.
He might be the best bike racer of all time, but he’s much more than that: ‘King’ Kenny worked tirelessly with car people to make his sport ever better. Read more.
Quietly spoken Joey Dunlop made winning the Isle of Man 7 races look easy. Even in 2000, at the age of 48, he won three out of five races in TT week. A month later he died in Estonia in a 125cc race. His memory lives on, though, with fans around the world celebrating Dunlop’s life, especially in Joey’s bar in Ballymoney, which is filled with bikers every time the road-racing circus visits for the North West 200. Read more.
Forget the somewhat sad veteran in the twilight of his career; A.J.Foyt Jr was one of the most exciting American racing drivers of modern history. He won the USAC National Championship on a record seven occasions and was the first four-time winner of the Indianapolis 500.
To consider how he compared against GP racing’s elite at the time you need to analyse the 1967 Le Mans 24 Hours – a race he won. Sharing a works Ford GT40 with Dan Gurney, he matched his well-regarded countryman for pace and endurance. Add to that success his victories in the 1972 Daytona 500 and the story of a versatile, supremely fast and successful driver is complete. Read more.
Best known as America’s first Formula 1 World Champion, it was in sports cars that Phil Hill truly excelled. His 14 victories in the World Sportscar Championship spanned more than a decade and included three victories at Le Mans. Read more.
‘The King’. Richard Petty is the son of a three-time NASCAR Champion Lee and he etched his own lasting place in stock car racing history. 1,184 starts, 200 victories (as well as another couple as a relief driver), seven titles and over $8.5million in winnings are the facts behind NASCAR’s most famous driver. Read more.