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Nigel Mansell - The Peoples Champion
F1 and Indy Car Champion
Nigel Mansell was unique amongst motor racing's elite he is the only driver ever to hold both the F1 and Indy Car titles at the same time. He was driven by passion and an unbelievable desire to win at all costs. He would drive through pain and injury and if the car did not break he would inevitably win, despite or perhaps because of the pain and suffering.
It is all the more remarkable because he was accident-prone and actually bankrupted by the sport he loved, incredibly he survived against the odds to come out as a double World Champion, marriage to Rosanne intact and with three beautiful children to boot. He could have stayed with Williams after the 1992 F1 World Championship win and yet he left to join Paul Newman's Indy car team, was that fate or destiny, because Ayrton Senna who replaced him as the Williams number one died whilst driving for them, and it could so easily have been Nigel.
Nigel is convinced that without Rosanne's love and support even to the point of bankruptcy he never would have made it. He believes in fate and destiny and never once doubted his ability to pull it off. We have that to thank for many memorable races including the closest race ever decided by just 0.014 secs after over 200 miles of racing (that is less than 90cms difference! Nigel lost that one to his closest rival Ayrton Senna.
Outspoken, undiplomatic but definitely focused and determined was he truly a great? Read my review and better yet his biography and decide for yourself.
This lens is a review of his biography, written as my entry to the Rocket Squid Challenge.
The picture is from F1 Fanatic following his second place finish that set a record for the fastest close to an F1 season he had won 5 of the 6 previous races, and only lost this one due to bad luck with a rear puncture and an improved Mclaren raced by Ayrton Senna. He finished the season with 9 victories and 14 pole positions! (Only recently broken by Vettel over a longer season, but lower win %)
Where It All Began
Nigel first got his love of speed from driving as a child with his mother, apparently she loved speed and would drive at speeds well in excess of 100 mph on Britain's then unlimited motorways. He survived an incident when she lost control on a snow covered road, which was caused by her excessive speed and yet his love remained burning within him.
Later on he was taken to a go cart track by his engineer father and that pretty much sealed his destiny because now it was a total love affair. The smells, thrills, speed and competition were driven deep into his soul. Nigel loved to compete and above all was never satisfied coming second. He is a scratch golfer and we can only imagine what he may have achieved had he chosen that as his major sport.
The story continues through his rise through Formula Ford then Formula 3 to finally making it onto the F1 scene. It includes comments from and about his times with Colin Chapman, Enzo Ferrari, Frank Williams and Patrick Head, Paul Newman and Carl Haas. Nigel was a simple and yet complex human he wanted to be a winner all the time!
I have seen it written that if Nigel was in a race he would win or break the equipment, and that pretty much went for his major competitor Ayrton Senna too, he probably drove at the most competitive time ever in F1. The book pretty much has it all from the beginnings right up to his wins and the final seasons with Mclaren.
Few realise that to achieve his level of success Nigel drove through injury and often severe pain to make it. He got the drive with Williams for example driving with a broken back! He suffered a broken neck and even had a broken foot for the entire 1992 season when he won the championship, he did not admit to this until after the season was over as he feared being banned by the FIA for driving with an injury. The press thought he was feigning injury after he was seen limping away from his car!
On His Way To The Indy Title
Some Interesting Facts And Things We Can Learn From Nigel
Nigel has amazing reactions and race responses, he was timed by the cars telemetry and in practice he drove as fast as in races. It was 100% or nothing with him. He was timed over great distances and would change gear at exactly the same part of the track down to thousandths of a second he was Mr. consistency and assuming the balance of the car and power were there he would always win. If not it would often end as another broken car, this did not always win him friends with his mechanics.
In Formula Ford he won 6 out of 9 races in his first season racing as a private entry. When his car was checked over by Ford as a friendly gesture (he had no support team) they found it had a badly twisted chassis and they were amazed he could drive it let alone win! He also drove this entire season with a broken neck and he kept the (lucky) brace, which he used again after breaking his neck again in an F1 accident. He is obviously a little superstitious like a lot of drivers and wanted to keep the luck alive. The brace served him well!
This book is about so much more than motor racing, it is about the attitude and mental fortitude that it takes to be a real Champion. When you read it you will know what it takes to win. Most F1 drivers are fast, but only a few are always fast and Nigel Mansell was one of these greats. He ranks alongside Fangio, Clark, Stewart, Senna, Schumacher, Prost etc.
Nigel Mansell may well have had faults in his personality off the track, but on it he was a real competitor and true champion. It is well worth reading his book if you really want to succeed at anything, he really had what it takes!
Some Of Nigel's Great Moments On YouTube
Here are some great videos of Nigel in action, most are of his greatest moments, but he had his fair share of failures too, as do all truly greats, it is what you learn and how you respond that counts!
Nigel's First Victory In F1
Nigel Wins Indy Car Championship
Mansell Wins At Silverstone 1991
Mansell's Last F1 Victory
Nigel Mansell Never Give Up
Mansell Gives Senna A Lift Silverstone 1991
Fastest Lap Ever!
Ayrton Senna v Nigel Mansell Italy 1991
The Flying Lap Interview : Nigel Mansell, OBE
Mansell goes off, Senna wins Championship - 1991 Japanese GP
Mansell's Life Story
This is the great man's story from his perspective. Find out what makes a great driver tick.
Nigel Mansell F1 Books and Memoribilia From Amazon
This is an audio version of the book reviewed here. I have a copy. When I first posted it here Amazon had added a 0 to the price so I thought it was a really great investment! LOL
Photographs Of Him To Keep His Memory Alive
What could be a better gift for an F1 fanatic than these pictures?
Always a peoples favourite due to his take no prisoners approach to the sport. What F1 lovers collection would be complete without framed photographs of this iconic driver?
The Mansell Williams Story
Nigel's stay at Williams was often turbulent and he initially turned them down, and yet it was here he won his F1 championship. This is the story of just that part of his career.
The Mansell Williams Story
Nigel had mixed fortunes at Williams, he turned them down once when driving for Lotus and yet it was here he finally won the F1 championship after just 7 out of the 16 races a record only surpassed by the Great Michael Schumacher.
Mansell's Inner Battles Revealed
No one was made aware at the time, but Mansell had to overcome injuries and illness to become a winner. This article was when he first spoke about it publicly.
Nigel fought illness and injuries to succeed and yet remained unappreciated by many in the sport, only retaining the drive with Lotus due to a great personal relationship with the founder Colin Chapman who personally selected him after seeing him drive.
He got the test drivers seat despite driving with a broken back! Then got the drive due to constantly breaking lap records during testing.
The Ride With Ferrari
This book is all about his years at Ferrari his greatest love in the sport!
Not one of his most successful times due to the rule changes but one of his greatest loves was driving the red Ferrari and the tiffosi took to his brash approach and also really celebrated his few victories which broke a long down turn for the famous team.
He left with a British Ferrari dealership and some of his fondest memories.
Nigel's Biography Has To Take The Spotlight
The audio book appears to be the only version available from Amazon. It is read by Murray Walker who was Nigel's personal favourite comentator and one of his biggest fans!
This book is F1 paced and gripping Nigel takes you along and you really experience what it must have been like to live the life of a driver. He started with desire and a strong conviction he could win, no money but an attitude that would not take no for an answer. He was also never happy unless he won and he was determined to fix everything until he did. The one thing never in doubt was his own ability to do it.
It is an amazing story and triumph of pure talent over richer and better equipped drivers, and he did it at what was probably the most competitive time ever in the sport!
Mansell Memorabilia on eBay
eBay is a great place to pick up memorabilia often at great prices, see what you can do!