After a season with Benneton Tyrell in Formula 1, Sullivan made the jump to IndyCar hoping he’d find more success in America’s top-flight single seaters. Sure enough he did, with 17 wins, 39 podiums, 19 pole positions and the 1988 IndyCar championship. In 1985, though, he still had a fair bit to prove, having taken several victories in ’83 and ’84 but no championships and not one victory at Indianapolis. That change with one of the craziest saves in motorsport.
Sullivan, at the wheel of his March-Cosworth 85 C, was hunting down Mario Andretti for the win after a misheard radio message – Sullivan thought there were just 12 laps to go when there were in fact 80. An ambitious move for the lead however only stuck for a second or so before Sullivan's car spun a full 360-degrees across the width of the track (we've put that video down below too). Miraculously it didn’t hit the wall or any other cars, and Sullivan managed to pop it back into gear and head off in pursuit of Andretti once again. Sullivan eventually passed Andretti a second time, and in doing so sealed his first and only Indy 500 victory.
That very ‘Spin and Win’ March was at the Goodwood Festival of Speed presented by Mastercard in 2011 as part of the ‘100 Years of the Indy 500’ celebration. Although it wasn’t Sullivan at the wheel on the Hill, the driver did have some Indy experience… It was three-time Indy 500 winner Hélio Castroneves.