A lot of racing drivers have found ways to become celebrities in their own right outside of their sport. Yes their other careers are generally around cars but do these other jobs affect their reputation as racing drivers.
Tiff Needell may have only raced in two formula one races and he never actually finished a full grand prix but he did race in the BTCC and even got a podium finish in one of his eight races. It does say something for a racing drivers post-racing career to overshadow their career on the track, and such is the case with Tiff. His work with Top Gear and currently Fifth Gear has made it so that you can be forgiven for not knowing he was a racing driver.
Tiffs Fifth gear colleague Jason Plato also has had quite a racing career slightly more successful than Tiff. This time I think that Plato’s career has been held back by his TV work. He has been in the BTCC for many years and has been quite successful but I think if he hadn’t been tied to the UK with Fifth Gear I think he could have at least furthered his career to the WTCC maybe even better than that.
Ken Block has had a different style of career to the other two he has become a celebrity through his promotional Gymkhana videos and while these do look great he takes loads of shots at the stunts and from what I’ve seen of both his WRC and rallycross career he struggles to get through a single race without either breaking down or crashing, not the best qualities in a racing driver.
Tanner Foust seems to be kind on a success story in his combination of celebrity status and racing career. Whilst he’s not got the success rate of someone like Sebastian Loeb he is still consistent. Although Top Gear USA is disliked by many he is still probably the most popular guy on the show which is slowly going from strength to strength.
Overall I wish drivers could focus on one thing at a time this help them to not be tied to a specific location meaning they can travel the world winning races and earning millions of pounds as they do it.