Mario Andretti and his twin brother Aldo were was born in 1940 in Montona, Italy (now in Croatia) Their parents were farmers and from the age of two, his mother Rina could remember them charging round the kitchen with saucepan lids as steering wheels. When WW11 ended the family had to leave their home for a refugee camp in Lucca, Italy. They lived here, sharing a room with other refugee families for seven years until finally obtaining U.S. visas. Just before they left, the twins went to the Italian Grand Prix to watch their hero Alberto Ascari race.
On arriving at their new home in Pennsylvania they discovered they lived next to half mile of oval dirt racing track!
Mario rose though the car racing ranks the hard way, then at his first Indianapolis race in 1965 Andretti met Colin Chapman, the owner of the Lotus F1 team. Mario talked to him of his dream of making it to F1 and Chapman said “When you're ready, call me” Three years later, Andretti made that call, and Chapman gave him a car which he proceeded to dive to pole position at his debut in the 1968 United States Grand Prix. Over the next few years he raced sporadically with Lotus, March and Ferrari, finally winning his first Formula One Grand Prix win at the South African Grand Prix.
In 1978, driving for Chapman's Lotus Andretti won six races, which gave both him and the team the World Championship. He clinched it at the Italian Grand Prix, but there were no celebrations as his teammate and dear friend Ronnie Peterson crashed at the start of the race and died later that night.
Andretti had mixed results for the next few years in Formula 1 and eventually returned to the States to concentrate on Indy Cars. In 1990 he, his two sons and his nephew all competed in the same Indy car race at Milwaukee. He continued competitive racing until 1994. Mario Andretti is one of the most prodigious and versatile racing car drivers of all time; He is one of only two drivers to win races in • Formula One • Indycar • World Sports Car & • NASCAR In addition Mario Andretti won; • 1967 The Daytona 500 • 1969 The Indianapolis 500 • 1978 The Formula One World Championship