Follmer is the only rider to win both the Can-Am and Trans-Am sportscar series in the same year. He was already 39 years old when he embarked on his Formula One adventure. Follmer joined the series in 1973, racing for Shadow and in his second race finished excellent third place, but a lack of confidence proved to be his rapid downfall.
Donohue's reputation grew in the seventies as a driver of the 1,500-hp Porsche 917 in the Can-Am. He got his Formula One call-up in 1971, racing for Penske. He was brought in for the Canadian Grand Prix and claimed a podium in his very first race. He wouldn't race again in F1 until 1974 when he returned to Penske for the end of the 1974 season. Donohue died in a crash in practice for the Austrian Grand Prix in 1975.
Red Bull test driver Speed moved to Toro Rosso in 2006 as the American hope for Formula One. He could not live up to expectations at Toro Rosso. After several crashes and retirements, he had to make way for Sebastian Vettel mid-2007. Speed tried his luck in rallycross and won the title in the last two years in the Global Rallycross Championship.
In the fifties, the Indy 500 still part of the Formula One calendar. Vukovich, nicknamed 'The Silent Serb "for his unflappable demeanour, won the race in 1953 and 1954. In 1955 he was leading the race, but a chain reaction crash involving back markers caused carnage. One of the cars hit Vukovich and he died instantly.
Ginther was a unique character of F1 in the sixties, with an unfashionable haircut and a characteristic grin. He stood out quickly for other reasons in the headlines, for example a thrilling duel with Sir Stirling Moss at the Monaco Grand Prix 1961. Ginther started 54 Grands Prix and finished fourteen times on the podium. In 1962 he seized the third place in the championship and his only victory came in Mexico in 1965.
Cheever grew up in Italy and won the European karting title at 15. Five years later he made his debut in Formula One. He competed in a total of 132 Grands Prix, more than any other American so far. Cheever drove for many teams like Tyrrell, Renault, Alfa Romeo and Arrows. He climbed nine times onto the podium with a second place in Detroit in 1982 and Canada in 1983 his best results.
Revson was a real playboy (he had a relationship with a Miss World) from New York, but he did not feel like taking over the family business of cosmetic specialists. His heart was set on racing and he made his first steps in Formula One in 1964. However, he couldn't find a solid contract for the next few years. In 1972 he signed for McLaren and achieved his first podium and two race wins in 1973. Revson crashed in a test before the South African Grand Prix in 1974 and was killed.
Gurney was not only a driver but also a constructor and a team owner. Moreover, he was a true pioneer. He was the first to have a vertical raised edge added to the rear wing, which is now known as the Gurney-flap. He was also the first driver to race with a full racing helmet and the first to spray champagne on the podium. Between 1959 and 1970, Gurney won four times in F1.
Hill is still the only driver to be born in the United States to become F1 champion. He described himself as a thoughtful gentleman who was active in the wrong world. Hill finished sixteen times in the top three and won the championship in 1961 with Ferrari. He also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times.
Andretti became victorious in the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the 12 Hours of Sebring and four times the IndyCar championship. As if that were not enough, he was champion once again in 1978, this time in Formula One. He fled his native Italy after World War II and was adopted by Americans. He triumphed twelve times in 128 Formula 1 races, but it was his versatility that he particularly distinguished himself with. No matter where Andretti went, he was successful..
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