The Staff of Motorsport Marketing
The Staff of Motorsport Marketing Writer
6/22/18 12:40 p.m.


Story by Myles Kornblatt • Photos as credited

There is a certain kind of smile reserved for the moment when someone is ready to do something devilish. You know the one: It hints at a good-natured evil that will be fun to watch as long as you’re not on the receiving end.

That was the look on our faces when we posed this question to our accomplished friends: What’s the best race car of all time?

It’s a question that gives birth to many more. What does it really mean? The fastest? The most wins? The most influential? A real brain-twister of a question. And that’s why we were grinning like the Cheshire Cat.

The answers we harvested from a select group of legends of the motorsports world were not conditional on age or race series. These guys had to think about the cars they drove as well as the ones they wished they had driven. They had to weigh their best experiences against a time when these heroes had heroes.

We went looking for the vehicles that went beyond the winners circle–the best engineering, the best story, the biggest hearts. To be fair, we even staked a claim to our favorite competition machine–and for those who were paying attention, we counted your insights, too.

Read the rest of the story

Taber10
Taber10 New Reader
6/22/18 3:13 p.m.

You've put together an absolutely fantastic list, and for lots and lots of the right reasons.  I take great satisfaction in seeing--abeit only under "People's Choice"--two of the all-time favorite Lotus race cars.  I would point out that unlike the VAST MAJORITY of the cars listed, the Lotus 7--in the Caterham embodiment of said car--is within reach of many, many more of us.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
6/22/18 5:48 p.m.

It's hard to argue with the choices.  I would have included the Lotus 49, but that's the thing about these 'best ever' lists - everyone has their own ideas.   

vermontdane
vermontdane New Reader
6/22/18 6:47 p.m.

Jim Hall's Chaparrals were outside the box thinking on a shoestring budget.  Domenance of the McLaren CanAm cars was laudable as well.  Enginnering breakthroughs might be the best criteria.  Amazing how rule changes were made to stop innovations many times.

CAPTREJohnston
CAPTREJohnston
6/23/18 5:50 p.m.

My vote would be for either the Lotus 49 or, my favorite, the Alfa Romeo Alfetta 158/9.  The Alfetta was competitive on the international Grand Prix circuit for 15 years (although a small event called WWII intevened...).  The main drivers of these cars, Jim Clark and Juan Manual Fangio are also #1 and 2 in my book.

Tom1200
Tom1200 HalfDork
6/24/18 7:24 p.m.

The answer isn't now but it will be Miata.........because like FV and Formula Ford it put lots of people on track who otherwise wouldn't ever have raced.

So for the same reason my pick is also 956/962 because loads of privateers got chance in a car that could actually win.

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
6/24/18 7:47 p.m.

I'm no P car fan, but this is easy- 911.  It's won SO many races in SO many different classes and configurations, it's not even funny.  Let alone for the 50 years it's been racing- no-  winning races.  

Not many other cars can claim multiple 24 hour race wins along with a Trans Am championship, plus some rally wins- oh, and it's own specific series,....  

Yea, best race car ever.  

Gary
Gary SuperDork
6/24/18 8:40 p.m.

Spridget

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
6/25/18 5:42 p.m.

I've been fortunate to see many race cars over the years, but none left an impression the way the 917-30 did.  I have yet to see any other race car look as fast down the back straight at Road Atlanta, including 962s and Nissan GTPs in the '80's. 

Even in a field of other fast cars, the 917-30 was in a class all by itself.  And not many cars can lay claim to killing off an entire series. wink  After all these years, it is still my definition of a race car.  

miles_wilson
miles_wilson New Reader
6/26/18 10:19 a.m.

You guys need to chime in on our first annual Classies Readers Choice Awards:
https://classicmotorsports.com/classies/

Most of those nominations are on there already too! As a staffmember who reviews nominations, I am curious to see who will take the cake for "Best Race Car of All Time."

The question for me is: will the 911 win based on raw numbers alone? There are so SO many good choices...

RussMyers
RussMyers New Reader
6/27/18 8:09 p.m.

McLaren M8B. 11 out of 11. 8 were 1-2. one was 1-2-3.

Anthony545
Anthony545 New Reader
6/30/18 11:13 a.m.

You laid out great options here and I would have to agree that one of the most exceptionally well-engineered cars is the McLaren F1 GTR. Such respect!

jstein77
jstein77 UltraDork
7/2/18 3:17 p.m.

If you're talking about the most dominant car in their venue, my vote would have to be the 1987 Trans Am Audi 200.  It won 8 out of 13 races.

TedFlorida
TedFlorida New Reader
7/9/18 2:19 a.m.

Mazda RX8 

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