Race cars are the ultimate dream for most gearboxes. That’s because, even if you can afford to buy a one-off McLaren Senna or Ferrari Enzo, the chances of pushing this car to its limits are very slim. You need a race car and the right racing skills to get the most out of those souped-up vehicles.
But that’s the life professional drivers live. Everything from a tuned VW Beetle with 350 hp, a Praga with about 400 hp or a GT3 car with much more downforce and performance is their daily life. And for those who live the best of this dream, they can strap themselves behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car that is the most advanced race car in the world.
But what do these professional drivers drive after their shift on the track? A McLaren P1 with about 950 hp? Not really. As you’ll learn here, these 10 professional race car drivers actually prefer to drive cheap “beaters” they’ve had at some point in their careers.
10 Aryton Sennan
The fastest Brazilian to ever get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car and to some, the fastest ever in history, wasn’t a fan of excessive horsepower, wheelspin and spectacular heel and toe when out of the office. Senna’s daily driver was once a humble Ford Escort XR3.
Aryton Senna was pictured in this vehicle in 1985, something even a collector would not dare to put his/her money on in these modern times. However, he had several other faster cars like the Audi S4 and a black Honda Acura NSX.
9 Carl Edwards: Ford Fusion Hybrid
The Ford Fusion Hybrid is the dream car for a family man or woman who wants a comfortable, economical and efficient ride. That’s why it’s a bit strange to see the best NASCAR driver, Carl Edwards, driving. But there is a very good reason why he owns and drives this car.
First of all, the Ford Fusion Hybrid does its job. It’s roomy, efficient and comfortable on the road. But more importantly, NASCAR drivers are some of the most loyal to their sponsors. That’s why when he was racing Roush Fenway Racing Carl drove the Fusion both on and off the track.
8 Daniel Suarez: 2018 Toyota Camry
Daniel Suarez is another popular NASCAR driver. And while you’d expect him to jump behind the wheel of a Ford GT40 and blast across the road with it, he’d rather roam around in a Toyota Camry.
This Toyota Camry serves as his daily driver. And that would make a lot of sense, because the car is known for being very practical, reliable and efficient on the road, something that is surprisingly important for a NASCAR driver. However, there is also the sponsorship deal that existed when he won the No. 96 Arris Toyota Camry for NASCAR.
7 Daniel Suarez: Volkswagen Beetle
The Toyota Camry may have been Daniel Suarez’s daily driver, but no other car is close to his heart than his beloved VW Beetle. This is the car with which he prefers to take the road now and then and have a chill moment alone.
The story behind his VW Beetle and the start of his NASCAR career is also heartwarming. He drove this Beetle from Mexico to the US after being officially named a NASCAR driver. And it didn’t bother him that the car broke down several times during his trip, which explains how many hits he took.
6 Jarno Trulli: Fiat 500
Jarno Trulli stays true to his Italian heritage. That’s why it’s no surprise that the Fiat 500 is a car that sits in its garage. Trulli was a Formula 1 driver from 1997 to 2011. He drove for Jordan, Toyota, Renault and Lotus Racing, to name a few.
His strongest point was qualifying. Trulli’s talent could be seen in the way he would put his car in better places on the grid than his rivals who drove better cars. So when he’s not chasing lap times and purple sectors, he’ll be driving through Italy in the modest Fiat 500.
5 Jimmie Johnson: Chevy Volt
The NASCAR driver’s way on and off the track is to remain loyal to his sponsor. And that’s the case for Jimmie Johnson. Off the track, he drives a modest Chevy Volt that serves him surprisingly well. According to him, the Chevy Volt is a great car because it is easy to drive and uses an alternative, cleaner power source.
Jimmie’s love for the Volt is so great that he once toured the Chevrolet factory to see how the car is made. Not only could he enjoy himself during the tour, but the factory workers also got the chance to get autographs from him.
4 Jolyon Palmer’s Renault Megane GT
Jolyon Palmer didn’t spend much time in Formula 1. However, he quickly rose to fame as the Formula 1 driver whose father was also a Formula 1 driver. It’s quite an elite club. He is the son of Dr. Jonathan Palmer, who owns most of the major race tracks in the UK and a few low-tier racing formulas.
So his son should be driving a premium McLaren or Jaguar every day, right? New. Jolyon prefers the modest Renault Megane GT. And since he was a Renault driver at the time, most of his cars are Renaults.
3 Kimi Raikkonen – Fiat 500X
The ice man who has started the most Grand Prix in Formula 1 history is rather cool, no pun intended when it comes to his collection of cars. And the Fiat 500 he drives is rather special, even though it looks like a soccer mom’s favorite car.
This Fiat 500 Multijet was donated to Kimi by Ferrari after he won the Formula 1 title in 2007. Under the hood, this car didn’t have a thumping V8, but rather a 1.3-litre turbo diesel that could only develop 95 horsepower. And with a top speed of 180 km/h, you don’t expect a Formula 1 champion to drive off the track.
2 Kyle Busch: Toyota Camry
Kyle Busch is a legendary NASCAR driver. But supercars aren’t his everyday gearhead bread. Instead, the professional NASCAR driver thunders around in a Toyota Camry. This is as far away from a supercar as you can get. Interestingly, however, this is the car of choice for him on and off the track.
The Toyota Camry has won races for Busch, albeit in a souped-up mode. And when off the track, the same car, albeit in stock mode, carries groceries and other necessities like a charm. More importantly, it doesn’t arrest him because the real world has speed limits.
1 Kyle Petty: Toyota Prius
Kyle Petty was a formidable force when he raced in NASCAR. And after retirement, he also let his excitement for speed take off the track with him, so opted for something tamed as his daily driver. And so the Toyota Prius ended up in his garage.
His love for the Toyota Prius is because the car is good for the environment. That’s the exact opposite of the cars he used to drive. He also says that the Prius is not only kind to polar bears and the ozone layer, but also very practical with a lot of space.
The European sports cars we present in this article will never be cheaper than this, so now is the perfect time to buy one!
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