Friday 14 June 2013

The Rainmasters

It has been a relatively rainy spring here, there ... and everywhere.

Interestingly, there are some drivers
 in motor sports history who smiled at the sight of rain before their race.

Many of these drivers were equal to their counterparts on a dry track, yet their sense of balance, and their ability to read the track and sense to minute shifts in the movement of their car gave them a clear advantage in a rainy race.
The list of such virtuosity in the wet spans the decades.

Rudolf Caracciola was one of the earliest maestros in the rain, earning the himself nickname “Regenmeister”, German for “Rain master”.

Dick Seaman’s drive of his Mercedes-Benz W154 at the 1939 Belgian Grand Prix ended fatally for him, but it was because he kept pushing even after building an unbelievable lead on an already challenging track. There is Phil Hill’s win, along with Olivier Gendebien, of the rainy 1958 24 heures du Mans in the Ferrari 250 TR. Sir Jackie Stewart showed utter bravery to take the 1968 German Grand Prix in the Matra MS10, driving in virtually invisible conditions.

Pedro Rodriguez, sharing a Gulf Porsche 917K with Leo Kinnunen, beat the second-place car by 5 laps in the rainy 1970 BOAC 1000km at Brands Hatch! James Hunt wrapped up his 1976 Championship racing to third place, after many delays, in the monsoon 1976 Japanese Grand Prix.

In the modern era, both Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna have shown their art in the wet.
Pen&ink and markers on Foamcore © Paul Chenard 2013

Senna’s drive of the 1993 European Grand Prix at Donington Park in the less-than-stellar McLaren MP4/8 is the stuff of legends, or should I say, “Rainmasters”!

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