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Which Famous Racecar Driver Would Make the Best Bond?

Add driving skills to good looks and you’ve got the job

Audrey Davis
October 12 2021

What makes a great racecar driver? What about a great James Bond?

You might not realize it, but there’s actually a decent amount of overlap here. For one thing, a great Bond needs to be a skilled driver, able to evade bad guys while putting those Q Branch gadgets to good use. And isn’t a racecar really just one big gadget? The drivers who compete in any kind of high-performance vehicle need to show a mastery of both machinery and strategy, which is exactly how 007 would approach a mission. So, out of all the motorsports greats from past and present, who would be most successful behind the wheel of Bond’s Aston Martins?

Since Bond is such a quintessentially British character, let’s consider some Brits first. We’d be hard-pressed to find any driver who embodies the bold, confident, and devil-may-care spirit of Bond better than Sir Stirling Moss, the Formula One legend who passed away last year at 90 years old (just a few months before Sir Sean Connery, who was also 90). During his 14-year career, Moss won a staggering 40% of his races, and like Bond, he became a symbol of mid-century British style, wit, and sophistication.

Sir Stirling Moss: Unknown/Public Domain

A significantly less sophisticated Brit from the same era was Ken Miles, the lean, gruff former soldier who developed the Ford GT40 with Carroll Shelby. Although he wasn’t exactly debonair, Miles had a reputation for a quick wit and always speaking his mind, both qualities that James Bond exudes in spades. 

Ken Miles: Shelby American/Facebook
But while Miles’s racing career was cut short by a tragic accident, another very Bond-like British driver is still on the front lines of the sport, and may go down in history as F1’s GOAT. Lewis Hamilton – who is now Sir Lewis Hamilton, after being knighted last year – clearly has the skills necessary to outdrive a Bond villain (seven world titles don’t lie), as well as a remarkable talent for life in the public eye. Effortlessly cool and always fashionable, Hamilton would be an excellent Bond for the 21st century.

Lewis Hamilton: LewisHamilton/Twitter

But what about non-Brits? Do any American drivers stand a chance here? Although the world of NASCAR feels a little too far removed from the world of Bond to spawn any contenders, that doesn’t mean there are no contenders at all. For example, take someone like Alexander Rossi, who has experience driving for both F1 and IndyCar – so he’s clearly familiar with globetrotting. Or better still, one of the greatest drivers the U.S. has ever produced, the ‘60s F1 champion Phil Hill. Having begun his career as a trainee at Jaguar, Hill was no stranger to British cars, and like 007, he was a man of many talents who enjoyed the finer things in life. And while it’s hard to know for sure if Hill or any of these drivers could pull of saying, “Bond, James Bond,” we would absolutely love to hear them try.



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