Triple Crown of Motorsport
The 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Indianapolis 500 and the Monaco Grand Prix make up the prestigious 'Triple Crown of Motorsport'. So far, only one person has managed to take this title to his name. Many came close, but did not make it. From a piece of history to the contenders in the near future, you can read all about the Triple Crown on this page.
Triple Crown Races
The Triple Crown of Motorsport is an unofficial title awarded to a driver who wins three of the most famous car races in the world. This includes the:
- Indianapolis 500 (first edition: 1911)
- 24 Hours of Le Mans (first edition: 1923)
- Monaco Grand Prix (first edition: 1929)
However, some argue that the Triple Crown consists of other elements. For example, Jacques Villeneuve - former Indy 500 winner and F1 World Champion - believes that just winning the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans is not enough. Villeneuve told Reuters the following: "It is the Formula One World Championship that counts. The Monaco Grand Prix is just a small part of F1. By contrast, the Indianapolis 500 and the 24 Hours of Le Mans are separate races." Villeneuve, however, never won the Monaco Grand Prix. His lack of a win in the principality might have influenced his statement. After all, if the Canadian ever manages to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, he will win in his definition of the Triple Crown of Motorsport.
Triple Crown Winners
Briton Graham Hill is, for now, the only winner of the Triple Crown. Hill won the Monaco Grand Prix five times (1963, 1964, 1965, 1968 and 1969). In 1966, he won the Indianapolis 500 and in 1972, together with Henri Pescarolo, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Incidentally, Hill shared Villeneuve's opinion: he also believed that it was all about winning the F1 World Championship, and not just the race in Monaco. However, that does not change the fact that Hill can claim the prestigious title. After all, Hill became Formula One World Champion in 1962 and 1968.
Fernando Alonso chasing The Triple Crown
Of the active drivers, Fernando Alonso is currently the most likely to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport. For him, it does not matter whether it is winning the F1 World Championship or the Monaco GP. He won both twice. In 2018 and 2019, he won the 24 Hours of Le Mans. In 2017, Alonso made a bid to win the Indy 500, but problems with his McLaren prevented him from getting a good result.
These drivers won two of the three events required to win the Triple Crown (both definitions of the Triple Crown are visible in the diagram)
|Drivers||Indianapolis 500 victories||Le Mans 23 Hours victories||Monaco Grand Prix victories||Formula 1 World Champion|
|Maurice Trintignant||-||1954||1955, 1958||-|
|Phil Hill||-||1958, 1961, 1962||-||1961|
|A.J. Foyt||1961, 1964, 1967, 1977||1967||-||-|
|Jim Clark||1965||—||—||1963, 1965|
|Karl Jochen Rindt||—||1965||1970||1970|
|Emerson Fittipaldi||1989, 1993||—||—||1972, 1974|
|Juan Pablo Montoya||2000, 2015||—||2003||—|
|Fernando Alonso||—||2018, 2019||2006, 2007||2005, 2006|
McLaren Triple Crown Livery
McLaren managed to clinch the Triple Crown of Motorsport as a team. The British racing stable won the 1974 Indianapolis 500 with driver Johnny Rutherford. In 1984, Alain Prost gave McLaren its first victory in Monaco and in 1995, McLaren won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with JJ Lehto, Masanori Sekiya and Yannik Dalmas.
In 2023, McLaren turned 60 years old. For that reason, McLaren named its 2023 F1 car the MCL60. During the Monaco Grand Prix and the Spanish GP, McLaren will drive with a special Triple Crown livery, incorporating the colour schemes of the historic winning cars. Read more about the special livery here.
Triple Crown Endurance Racing
In endurance racing too, the Triple Crown designation recurs regularly. This definition is a lot less well known. Winning the title within endurance racing requires winning the following races:
- 24 Hours of Le Mans
- 24 Hours of Daytona
- 12 Hours of Sebring
Several drivers managed to win at these three circuits. The 'crown' was won by A.J. Foyt, Hans Hermann, Al Holbert, Jackie Oliver, Mauro Baldi, Andy Wallace, Hurley Haywood and Timo Bernhard.
Triple Crown Baseball
There is also a Triple Crown in baseball. In this sport, a Triple Crown is achieved by a player who attains the top position in three distinct statistical categories within a single season. The esteemed designation of "Triple Crown" commonly signifies the remarkable feat of leading a league in batting average, home runs, and runs batted in (RBI) during the same season. Furthermore, the term "Pitching Triple Crown" pertains to the exceptional accomplishment of leading a league in wins, strikeouts, and earned run average (ERA) as a pitcher.