Early in his life, Nigel Mansell knew he wanted to race cars. This passion for speed came with his father’s inspiration, and when 10 years old he was behind the wheel of a kart, winning his first race four years later.
He was on his way.
Mansell graduated into a Formula Ford, worked at his craft, and in 1977 was declared the British Formula Ford champion. The next season he stepped up and into a Formula 3 race car as a professional driver.
Continuing to build his skills and experience, Mansell signed with Lotus in 1981 to drive in the top echelon of road racing, Formula 1. He was mentored by Colin Chapman until Chapman’s death in 1982, and while he remained with the John Player Lotus Team for the next two seasons, it was not until he went to Williams in 1985 that success started to come his way in the Honda-powered machines.
He won two Grands Prix that year, and placed ninth in points. In 1986 he won five races, including the Canadian Grand Prix, and placed second to Alain Prost for the championship, only two points behind the Frenchman.
After two more seasons with Williams, Mansell took to the F1 circuit in a Ferrari with several wins along with season finishes in the top five before returning to Williams in 1991 with cars now powered by Renault.
Mansell recorded another five wins in 1991 and placed second in the championship, but it all came together in 1992, as the Worcestershire native won nine of 16 F1 races and secured his place in F1 history.
He continued to race in F1 until the 1995 season, with limited success. But Mansell found success in North America during this time. In 1993 he drove for the Newman-Hass CART team. The Ford Cosworth-powered Lola was quite different from his Grand Prix cars, but showing versatility and resourcefulness, Mansell adapted very well to the car and the IndyCar series, winning five CART events and the 1993 championship.
With his two titles, he became the only drivers to hold both the Formula 1 and CART championships the same season.
After 1995, this determined and aggressive driver, who presented performances with daring and heroics still legend, backed away from racing. He did continue to race periodically in endurance events with sons Leo and Greg, including Le Mans.
Mansell perused his other great passion after racing, the sport of golf, which continues to this day with participation in the PGA Seniors tour and maintaining his Woodbury Park course. He has been a strong advocate of helping others with his continual involvement in several charities for those less fortunate.