Who’s Your Favorite Underrated Racing Driver?
There’s only one Michael Schumacher, but who’s one of the racers the German World Champion said he was inspired by? Stefan Bellof. Who? Oh, you know, the guy who still holds the Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record more than 30 years on. Ring a bell?
It’s unsurprising if Bellof’s name is largely unknown, especially among younger racing fans, as his life ended at 27 in a huge crash at Eau Rouge in 1985, while he was piloting a works Porsche 962. Said to be ‘fearless’, his turn of speed was incredible.
For instance, one of the first anecdotes worth trotting out is Alain Prost’s Monaco Grand Prix victory in the rain-stopped 1984 Monaco event, and how Bellof likely would have won the race had it continued—he’d been faster than both Senna and Prost. You won’t find his name all that high up the results these days, as Tyrrell was disqualified from the entire season, scratching Bellof’s name from the ledger.
I’ll watch in-car clips, races, and retrospectives, and marvel at the racing Bellof did…to say nothing of what might have been. These days, I find myself yelling at the TV when Nico Hulkenberg is on his way to a good result, hoping Lady Luck sends some his way.
There are more I follow and name, of course, but this column does have to end at some point… Who’s your favorite ‘underrated’ or ‘unknown’ racing driver?