Maximum attack driver, video game icon, but what else made Colin McRae a WRC legend?
Thu 19.07.12, 6:06PM
Colin McRae, the winner of the FIA WRC in 1995, was famous for so many things - a PlayStation game that launched a new generation of fans, unparalleled sideways action, and a never give up attitude.
But one of the other records he set was for picking up the largest pay packet in the history of the sport when he signed for Ford in 1999 - putting rally drivers on the same level as Formula One stars and himself firmly on the map.
McRae’s Ford deal was allegedly more than $3 million USD per year, making him by some margin the best-paid driver in the sport. Add on the royalties and image rights he gained from the best-selling video game and McRae was suddenly on Premier League footballer money. But he always remembered where he came from.
“My dad insisted I got a trade,” said McRae in 2001. “My father [Jimmy, a five-time British champion] had a plumbing business. People often ask me if I can justify the amount I earn, and I say I get paid that much because someone thinks it is worth their while to pay me that much, and if they didn’t they’d soon stop. That said; no one’s more surprised at the money thing than me. Fifteen years ago I had my arm down a blocked drain.”
Since then, salaries of top drivers have spiralled with Sebastien Loeb, yet again, out in front.