If there is any person that is most attracted to speed, it is the young. Young people take more risks, especially in cars, because the need for speed is great and there is little to no self control. There’s a fantastic reason that car and motorcycle insurance is higher for people under 25—they have the most accidents because they take the most risks. But it’s exactly that same recklessness that attracts, and often helps, young people in the world of motorsports.
Take, for example, Zach Veach, IndyCar driver. Unlike most other drivers, he has to do his homework before getting in the car. Driving for the Andretti Autosport team, Veach is only 17 years old, and got his start working for Michael Andretti. He did some time in the USF 2000, but has since moved up to Star Mazda. Is he the most famous around? No, but competing in the IndyCar Series is no small feat for anyone, much less a 17 year old.
Sebastian Vettel, who is currently racing for the Red Bull-Renault team in Formula 1, is an impressive figure himself. Born in 1987, he is 25 years old, which is just the right age to love risk but understand when and where to avoid it. As it stands he has an extremely impressive record as World Champion, as he has swept the championships for 2010, 2011, and 2012. That makes him the youngest triple champion in the history of motorsports.
Another impressive, though lesser known, figure is Jaime Alguersuari, who is the 2008 British Formula 3 Champion, and boasts another honor; he is the youngest F1 driver to have ever started a Grand Prix. At 19 years of age he started the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix, and in that, became the first person born in 1990 to ever compete in F1. Sadly he no longer races, but you can still hear him on BBC Radio 5, commenting alongside James Allen on this year’s Formula 1 season.
Any mention of young, hot racing driver’s is incomplete without a tip of the hat to Sir Jackie Stewart. He was born in 1939, and—well, he isn’t young anymore, but he started racing in 1965 at the ripe age of 26 and racked up three World’s Driver Championships by 1973. And that isn’t just karting, that’s British Formula 1 racing, which in that day was not for the faint of heart.
Racing attracts all kinds, but for obvious reasons, it attracts the young and foolhardy. The exceptional rush of speed, the spine-tingling sounds of ludicrously powerful engines, and the thrill of competition all come together to make for an experience that young men and women cannot bring themselves to deny. These racers are testament to that, and there are countless others, professional, amateur, and arm-chair that can attest to it.
Contributed by Ray Lyons – a prolific auto and off-road blogger who also covers racing. In addition to profiling young drivers, Lyons has covered older drivers like Mario Andretti for various racing sites and blogs.