Happy 60th birthday, Nigel Mansell

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We’re wishing a happy 60th birthday today to Nigel Mansell, “Our Nige” in the U.K. but a man whose impact on both the European and American racing scenes was profound in the early 1990s.

Mansell is the only driver to hold the Formula One World Championship and IndyCar titles concurrently. He made the famous switch from F1 to IndyCar after scoring his only F1 title in 1992, then took to American racing like a duck to water in 1993 with Newman/Haas Racing as a teammate to Mario Andretti.

Mansell’s F1 stats have been eclipsed of late. With 31 career wins, he’s now right in the middle of Fernando Alonso – whose 32nd win at Spain earlier this year moved him into fourth place on the all-time list.

Meanwhile Mansell had held the record for most number of poles in a season, with 14 of 16 in the all-conquering Williams FW14B Renault in 1992, before Sebastian Vettel eclipsed that mark with his 15th (in 19 races) in 2011. Vettel, on 30 wins, will tie Mansell with his next victory.

In recent years, Mansell reduced his driving to only the brief GP Masters series, and both a GTE class Ferrari F430 and LMP2 class Ginetta Zytek at Le Mans. His sons Greg and Leo have raced sporadically without too much success or advancing from junior formulae.