The Triple Crown of Motorsports is one of the most enticing and honorable achievements for a driver. ATRL’s Natasha Warcholak-Switzer reviews the possiblity of F1’s Max Verstappen being the next one to win it.
The 2023 Indy 500 hosted over 200,000 race fans at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as hundreds of thousands more tuned in to watch what many consider to be The Greatest Spectacle in Motorsports. At a presser after the 2023 Monaco Grand Prix, Max Verstappen was one of them. The reigning F1 World Champion couldn’t hide his keen interest in the results even as he recapped his own Grand Prix victory at the historic race. And even if Verstappen has not expressed interest in a Triple Crown victory at the Yard of Bricks, fellow racing legend Mario Andretti is hopeful he may consider it in the future. When asked about the World Champ’s likelihood of running the 500, Andretti simply said, “I’ll persuade him”.
What is the Triple Crown of Motorsport?
The Triple Crown of Motorsport is an unofficial challenge among professional race car drivers. To win the Triple Crown of Motorsport, a driver must win three of the most prestigious auto races in the world: the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500, and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Has any racing driver ever won the Triple Crown?
It would be impossible to tell the story of the Triple Crown without telling the history of British racing driver Graham Hill. He is the only driver to ever take the Crown, and he also won an F1 World Championship with British Racing Motors (BRM) in 1962, which some consider to be a part of this challenge along with a win at Monaco. Juan Pablo Montoya and Fernando Alonso have won two races each in the Triple Crown – Montoya has not yet gotten the win at Le Mans and Alonso, despite two attempts with McLaren, has not yet won the Indy 500.
Are there any other endurance challenges similar to the Triple Crown?
The Indy 500 and the Coca Cola 600 typically run on the same day, and competing in both has become its own challenge, known as “double duty”. Despite four drivers attempting the challenge, Nascar legend Tony Stewart is the only driver to complete all 1,100 miles of each race on the same day.
Is It Possible for a Driver to Win an Endurance Challenge These Days?
Graham Hill completed the trio with a victory at Le Mans in 1972, but a lot has changed in the sport since then. It can take more than racing chops – drivers across motorsport now have a more packed schedule with less flexibility to compete in series outside of their own. In 1972, there were 12 races in the F1 season, but in 2023, teams are in for a total of 23 race weekends, including the addition of exhibition events like Sprint races. To boot, in some racing seasons, the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indy 500 take place on the same Sunday at the end of May, as they did in 2023, making it even less likely that a current F1 or Indy driver could realistically go for the Crown.
When does the Triple Crown have to be completed?
Packed schedules are a reality for any racing driver, but with the nature of this challenge could be a potential upside. It isn’t meant to be completed over the course of a season or any number of years. Drivers challenge themselves to complete the Triple Crown by the end of their career, which means they can leverage the maturity that’s built on the track as they progress and participate in events like Le Mans and the Indy 500 at a time that’s entirely up to them.
Verstappen’s Triple Crown Prospects
When Verstappen was asked about going for the Triple Crown, he said, “I appreciate what [Indy drivers] do. It’s insane. These drivers… I have a lot of respect for what they achieve there but, for me, especially after now being in F1 for such a long time already…it’s just not worth it anymore,” referring to the risk of injury that’s a concern for many racing drivers specific to ovals.
So despite his hesitations, it’s exciting that Max Verstappen is a fan of IndyCar, and it’s even more exciting that he could potentially compete in other races like Le Mans and the Indy 500. To see him join the likes of the newly crowned Indy 500 winner Josef Newgarden or potentially go toe-to-toe with fellow F1 driver Fernando Alonso to compete for a Triple Crown, would indeed be quite the spectacle.
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