Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars! This week’s question: Who is history’s only Formula One Drivers’ Champion to have been born in the United States? If you think you know the answer make the jump and see if you’re right. There is perhaps no more international racing series in the world than Formula One. Both NASCAR and the various Indy Series’ have raced outside of the U.S., but the majority of the competitions have taken place here in the States. The World Rally Championship (WRC) is, like Formula One, organized by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and like F1, is considered an international series. F1 however, is far better known. Formula One got its start in 1906 and to this day represents the fastest and most technologically advanced racing series in the world. It’s also one of the most challenging for drivers which makes being named the World Champion for the series such a coveted acknowledgement of skill and effort. And in its history, there has only every been one Formula One World Driver’s Champion who was born in the United States. From Exclusive GP
There have been two F1 US Grand Prix drivers to win the drivers’ title with Phil Hill winning in 1961 and Mario Andretti in 1978. Phil Hill is the only American Formula One Champion to have been born in the United States. During his Formula One career, Hill started 48 races but only won three events. This makes him the joint lowest race winner of any F1 world champion (alongside British driver Mike Hawthorn). Hill secured his F1 championship in 1961 with a win at the Italian Grand Prix. This championship win came on the same day as the worst tragedy within Formula One racing history. Phil Hill did not celebrate his victory because after returning to the pit lane he was informed that his close rival had crashed and died during the race, an accident which also killed 15 spectators.
Hill was born in Miami Florida, but was raised on the other coast, in Santa Monica, California. He studied Business Administration at the University of Southern California, but left school before completing his degree to pursue auto racing. His early career involved being on the sidelines, as a mechanic, while others did the racing, but in 1949 he left for England and an opportunity to drive for Jaguar, which eventually led to a gig with Ferrari. At the time of his passing in 2008, Hill was known as one of the best known racers in the world, one of the classiest gentlemen in the sport, and as the only F1 Drivers’ Champion to date to have been born in the U.S.. Image: MotorSportsArchive