After winning the 1992 Formula One World Championship for Williams, Nigel Mansell had a problem: he didn't have a ride for 1993. Alain Prost was hired by Williams for 1993, Mansell didn't want to drive with Prost, even when a last minute offer was made, and all the top teams were full for 1993. The champion was forced out of F1.
At the same time, 1991 CART IndyCar Champion Michael Andretti was leaving the successful Newman-Haas IndyCar team for a chance in F1 with McLaren in 1993. Newman-Haas made a bid for Mansell to replace Andretti. In 1993, the F1 champ went IndyCar racing.
His first test with the Lola chassis at Firebird Raceway in Arizona. To learn the track, he took out a Cadillac rental car. Now, these were the days before Cadillac was trying to compete with European sports sedans. The Cadillacs of the early 1990s were still floaty boats, designed more for comfort and cruising than setting a Nurburgring time.
Nobody told Mansell that. This video of his first test at Firebird has some great footage of a Cadillac flopping around between the corners as Mansell gets his footing. It ends with Mansell setting a track record in the car.
The 1993 season went as you might expect. Mansell got pole and won his first race out, and ended with enough points to win the championship in his rookie year. At the time, F1 was yet to name a 1993 champion, meaning Mansell owned the title of both series for a short time.
Mansell's second season, 1994, didn't go nearly as well. The car was unreliable and Mansell wore out his welcome in the series. Mario Andretti famously . Michael Andretti returned to Newman Haas in 1995