Going into the family business can often be a stressful and relationship-fracturing decision, but for some it’s the most natural thing in the world to follow in the footsteps of a parent or a sibling.
This is as true in motorsport as anywhere else, and over the decades there are numerous cases of close relations hitting the circuits and the stages. However, some families take it more seriously than others, with generations of racers more or less being born with a steering wheel in their hands. Some have been more successful than others, with family trophy cabinets groaning under the weight of silverware, while others have struggled to make a mark, this time under the weight of expectation.
So which are the greatest dynasties? Well, we’ve concentrated on four-wheeled motorsport for this list (apologies to the Dunlop and Marquez fans out there), so here are our top ten picks.
If the USA were to ditch its republic and start a monarchy, then it’s quite likely the Andrettis would be its royal family. Mario and son Michael would arguably be its King and Prince Regent, having amassed five Indycar titles, and a Formula One world championship between them from the late Sixties through to 2007. They even clocked up a Le Mans podium when sharing a Porsche 962 in 1983, then finished the same race sixth in 1988, this time with the addition of Michael’s brother, and fellow Indycar driver Jeff on co-driving duties.
In the early days of Mario’s career he also raced against twin brother Aldo, whose sons Adam and John also went into the family business, with the latter taking wins in NASCAR, Indycar and sportscars. Now there’s a third generation of Andrettis, with Michael’s son Marco having already racked up two wins and twenty podiums in Indycar since making his debut in 2006, while John’s son Jarett is plying his trade in the IMSA sportscar series.
When Jack Brabham made the move from Australia to the UK in 1955 he kick-started a motor racing dynasty that continues to this day. Jack’s achievements are well documented, but it’s always worth restating that not only did he win the F1 world title three times, his last championship was secured driving a car made by his team and bearing his own name – the first, and currently only, time this has been achieved.
Despite this he found the time to have three sons – Geoff, Gary and David. Geoff concentrated on America, competing in Indy Cars and then winning four consecutive IMSA GT sports car titles with Nissan between 1988 and 1991. Younger brother Gary was British F3000 champ in 1989 and won the Sebring 12 hours three years later. David was no slouch either, with spells in F1 either side of his British F3 title and 2009 Le Mans win with Peugeot.
The racing legacy continues with Geoff’s son, Matthew, who has raced in Indycar and is a two-time Stadium Truck champ in the USA. David’s son Sam raced in British Porsche Carrera Cup and can claim an even stronger dose of racing DNA as his mum is the sister of Kiwi Mike Thackwell, sometime F1 racer and 1982 F2 champion.