Any sporting activity requires confidence for one to succeed, and motor racing is not an exception.
There are many superstitions that racers practice to boost their confidence and also make them believe that would make them succeed.
Even people who claim they don’t believe in superstitions perform certain pre-race rituals to help calm their jitters.
Some of the rituals might seem kind of outdated but most of the contenders still perform them because they don’t want to take chances with fate.
Let’s have a look at some of these superstitious activities.
Some motorsport pros believe that donning their attire in a particular order can determine whether they are going to succeed or not. Driver Brian Scott says it is a superstition he has heard from other drivers that the right side of the body holds the luck when it comes to dressing.
The drivers believe that pant, socks, boxers, gloves and shirt sleeves should all go on the right leg or arm before pulling on the left side.
This is not a very common dressing ritual but it is believed by some drivers to bring good luck. It has not been widely adopted but it seems to make some drivers happy.
Other variations involve donning mismatched socks, or as in the case of Stefano Modena who used to drive with one of his gloves inside out. This sound a little uncomfortable but when it comes to superstitions the racers don’t mind paying the price.
Many people keep luck charms in their vehicle. These may range from a picture of a Catholic saint to a photo of a family member taped to the dashboard or tucked away in the glove compartment.
Some also use lucky coins or rabbit-foot key chains. Tazio Nuvolari, an Italian racecar drive and motorcycle racer wore a tortoise pin as his lucky charm, and Sebastian Vettel, a German Formula Driver is known to be keeping a lucky coin tucked somewhere in his car.
Many other racers do these using different charms but all are meant for the same thing; to give the driver good luck.
Talking to the car:
This sounds outrageous but it happens. Some urge the cars to move faster while others sweet-talk them to make it home without breaking down.
Valentino Rossi, a motorcycle is known for kneeling next to his bike before mounting it. He uses those last moments before the race to talk to his motorcycle, and he says this helps mentally prepare for the challenge ahead.
It is rumored that other pro racers also talk to their cars before they kick off but they don’t make this ritual public.
Entering the vehicle from one side:
This superstition is based on the belief that if you do something once and it works, you should repeat it to see if it brings good luck.
Even though most drivers enter the car from the designated side, drivers like Nico Hulkenberg and Mark Webber believed it was good luck to climb into the car from the left side. Juan Pablo does the same and also buckles his belts the same way.
Valentine Rossi, mentioned above, mounts his bike the exact same way every time, after talking to it of course.
The $50 bill:
This superstition began when NASCAR champion Joe Weatherly crashed and died during a 1964 race with two $50 bills in his shirt pocket.
When the two bills were found in his pocket, this superstition against $50 bills began. Even though this accident took place long time ago, this superstition is still very much in force.
Dale Earnhardt and Sterlin Marlin were best known to avoid $50 bills. They would rather have the $50 in other denominations but not as a single bill.