Mario Andretti already transformed the world of racing during his incredible five-decade run, winning more types of races than nearly any other driver. And despite being in retirement for the last 20 years or so, it sounds like his racing career might not be over quite yet.
The racing legend sat down with Outsider for The Marty Smith Podcast earlier this week. At one point, Marty asked Andretti, “What do you wish you could do one more time behind the wheel? If you got one more shot, what would it be?”
Mario Andretti’s response will shock and delight racing fans everywhere. “I think it might happen this year, actually. Stay tuned.”
You heard it here first, folks. Andretti still has one item he wants to cross off his bucket list, even at 81 years old. He didn’t specify what, exactly, his one shot will be. It could be to repeat a feat he accomplished way back in his early racing days. It could be to chase a title or record that he never quite accomplished into his later years in the 1990s. Or it could be something totally new and unexpected.
Either way, we can’t wait to potentially see Mario Andretti tear up the race track once more. Marty clarified for fans, “Okay, so there’s potential you might be back behind the wheel at some time in 2022? Fair?”
“That’s fair,” Andretti replied. You can listen to the full podcast below, marking 46:30 to hear Mario Andretti discuss getting back behind the wheel.
What Did Mario Andretti Accomplish in 50 Years of Racing?
After Mario Andretti and his family moved to the United States from Italy, he immediately got into racing. Andretti and his twin brother, Aldo, built a racecar for themselves in the late 1950s, starting to race in 1959. Within six years, Andretti won his first IndyCar race, also finishing third in the Indianapolis 500. By 1967, he’d won the Daytona 500, the 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race, and was named Driver of the Year for the first time.
From there, Mario Andretti’s race car fame and success only grew. He went on to win the Indianapolis 500 (1969), the Formula One World Championship (1978), the Pikes Peak Hill Climb (1969), three 12 Hours of Sebring races (1967, 1970, 1972), and four IndyCar National Championships (1965, 1966, 1969, 1984).
Andretti’s also the only race car driver to be named Driver of the Year in three different decades (1967, 1978, 1984). In 1992, the same panel voted him Driver of the Quarter Century. And by 1999, the Associated Press named Mario Andretti Driver of the Century.
Between 1961 and 2000, Andretti competed in 879 races and won 111 of those races as well as 109 poles. Now, we can’t wait to see what he might do next.