Often referred to as the greatest race car driver of all time, Mario Andretti was born in Italy and didn't emigrate to the United States until 1955 at age fifteen.
By 1959, Mario had begun racing stock cars in his adopted hometown of Nazareth, Pennsylvania. That was the start of an illustrious career that saw the versatile driver compete and win in every discipline he entered – midgets, sprint cars, dirt track cars, stock cars, IndyCars, Formula One, Formula 5000 and sports cars.
His achievements became legendary: He won the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the Formula One World Championship and the Pikes Peak Hillclimb. He won the IndyCar Championship four times and was a three-time winner at Sebring. He drove with a passion and joy that few have equaled… and he won. Mario took the checkered flag 111 times during his career – a career that stretched five decades.
Today he is a successful businessman off the track, serving as spokesman, associate, and friend to top executives around the world. In 2006 he received the title of Commendatore from the Republic of Italy. His knighthood was the result not only of his spectacular racing career but also his epic life story as a classic example of the immigrant made good in America.
In 2008, the Library of Congress in Washington DC added him to its Living Legends list, a list of those who have made significant contributions to America’s diverse cultural, scientific and social heritage.
In 2011 Mario was inducted by Watkins Glen International as one of the "Legends of the Glen." The upstate New York road course was the site of Mario's first pole position in his very first Formula 1 race on his first trip to the track.
Mario is a member of the 2015 class of the Superman Hall of Heroes. Inspired by the global icon, Superman, this Hall pays tribute to people who have made a positive impact on the lives of others. It celebrates public servants from all walks of life who set a positive example.
City of Lucca, Italy named Mario an honorary citizen at a ceremony in 2016. It is a coveted recognition given sparingly to a native Italian of good character who represents the city with pride anywhere in the world. Mario was honored by other local and regional organizations during his visit to the town where he lived for 7-1/2 years as a refugee with his family after World War II.
Mario was the recipient of the prestigious 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual Clio Sports Awards ceremony in New York on May 16. The esteemed international award competition was launched to celebrate high achievement in sports advertising and marketing.
Expectations are high when you enter the world of racing with a name like Andretti, and Michael Andretti has been raising the bar as a driver and a team owner throughout his illustrious career.
When Andretti hung up his helmet and ended his full-time driving career in 2003, he left as the winningest driver in CART history with 42 victories. He is also second on the list of IndyCar laps led, right behind his father, Mario, with 6,702.
Since joining INDYCAR in 2003 as Andretti Green, Michael’s team Andretti Autosport has compiled over 50 IndyCar Series wins and over 20 Firestone Indy Lights victories.
The team claimed consecutive IndyCar Series championships in 2004 and 2005, winning 11 of 17 races including the Indianapolis 500 in 2005. In 2006, eight drivers drove under the Andretti Autosport banner and all eight led laps during an event.
The 2007 season did not fail to enhance the Andretti legacy. Andretti Autosport captured its third IndyCar Series title and second Indianapolis 500 win.
Andretti again rose to the challenge in 2012 when he brought the 2012 IndyCar Series championship back home to Andretti Autosport with Ryan Hunter-Reay. He served as not only the team owner but the strategist on Hunter-Reay's league-leading four victories of the season and clinched the title in the final race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Cali. Hunter-Reay and Andretti went on to capture the checkered flag at the 2014 Indianapolis 500 in the second-closest finish in the races 100-year history.
As one of the most well-known racing personalities in the United States, Andretti stepped out of the race car on a full-time basis in 2003 as CART's most successful driver.
After a two-year absence and feeling the itch to drive again, he returned to the cockpit to drive in the Indianapolis 500 in 2006. Andretti found himself leading "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing" with as little as three laps remaining and ultimately finished third, proving he is still one of the elite drivers in the world. Again in 2007, Andretti returned to the cockpit one more time. Andretti led one lap on his way to a 13th place finish in the final race of his career.
With his full-time driving career behind him, Andretti continues to set the standard in the racing industry, albeit from behind the pit wall.
Based in Indianapolis and led by racing legend Michael Andretti, Andretti Autosport boasts a wide racing portfolio rooted in tradition and designed for success. Together with Andretti Formula E and Volkswagen Andretti Rallycross, Andretti Autosport fields multiple entries in the IndyCar Series, Indy Lights and the Pro Mazda Championship, along with entries in the FIA Formula E Championship and Global Rallycross.
The company boasts four IndyCar Series championships (2004, 2005, 2007 and 2012), two Indy Lights titles (2008 and 2009), two GRC championships (2015 and 2016), one Pro Mazda championship (2013) and one USF2000 championship (2010) and has five times captured victory at the famed Indianapolis 500 (2005, 2007, 2014, 2016, 2017 ).
To share in the Andretti story, please visit online AndrettiAutosport.com and follow along on Twitter via @FollowAndretti.