“Racing is a great mania to which one must sacrifice everything, without reticence, without hesitation.” As an expression of why motorsport is cool, this quote from Enzo Ferrari gets to the nub of the matter.
It’s passion. Dedication. The raw heat of competition. It’s about men and it’s about their machines. And we love their machines – they are the prism through which we see the sport, the focal point of our passion and excitement. It’s the sense of purpose they convey, the purity of design and, yes, possibly the liveries, too.
Or, at a baser level, it’s all about the speed and noise. And speed and noise rule. Whether it’s a Porsche 956 flat in fifth on the Mulsanne, a Peugeot 205 T16 crackling and popping its way through a forest, a slithering Maserati 250F, straight-six rasping in perfect tune with the throttle,or a BMW E30 M3 leaping kerbs at the Nürburgring, these things speak to us.
They make us want to cheer at the sheer perfection of the moment, the artistry of the driver, the motion of the car. This is what racing cars do for us: they make us glad to be alive, to ache to be there, to have that experience. We all want to be Ayrton, don’t we?
What follows, then, is an utterly unordered run-down of the coolest cars ever to grace the world of motorsport. What did we miss?