Born : September 28 1968
Biography Mika Häkkinen
Mika Häkkinen was born September 28th in Vantaa, Finland. With legendary rallies like the Rally of the 1000 lakes in his homeland, it is no surprise that Häkkinen developed an interest in cars and racing even at a very young age. At the age of 5, Häkkinen persuaded his parants to rent a go-cart for him when they were visiting a track close to their home. To their disbelief, Mika Häkkinen crashed the go-cart even during his first lap. Fortunately, he escaped unhurt from the accident. However, that unlucky experience did not prevent Häkkinen to further pursue his dream to race. After a given time, his parents gave in, and bought Häkkinen a go-cart that Henri Toivonen previously competed in.
Mika Häkkinen achieved success by winning regional and national kart championships. He progressed to car racing when he entered the Formula Ford and Formula Three series in Italy and the United Kingdom. His Mika Häkkinen didn’t go unnoticed. With the help of Keke Rosberg, the 1982 World Champion Formula 1, Häkkinen achieved a sponsorship that helped him through the junior categories of open wheel racing. Häkkinen won 3 Scandinavion Championships and the Opel Lotus Euroseries championship in 1988 before winning the 1990 British Formula Three Championship. In the 1990 Macau GP, Häkkinen just missed victory after a controversial accident with Michael Schumacher. Desite that crash,and losing the race, Häkkinen was offered a seat in Formula 1 by Lotus. He raced 2 years for Lotus before moving on to McLaren in 1993.
Häkkinen joined McLaren as a test driver in 1993, and as a backup for Ayrton Senna. After the dismissal of Michael Andretti later that in the Italian GP, Mika Häkkinen achieved the status of F1 racer. In 1994, he became the lead driver after Senna left to join Williams. In the qualification for the 1995 Australian GP, Mika Häkkinen had a severe crash, with life-threatening injuries as a result. After his recovery, Häkkinen made a considerable improvement in 1996. In 1997, he andtook his first victory. Häkkinen won back to back titles in 1998-99. 2000 saw the year that Häkkinen conceded the title to Michael Schumacher. 2001 brought 2 victories to Häkkinen. At the end of the season, he annouced a sabbatical year. Later, that turned out to be his retirement from Formula 1.
Porsche Supercup guest driver
In 1993, while still being a McLaren test-driver, Porsche offered Häkkinen a seat as the VIP guest driver in the Porsche Supercup. Even back then the Porsche Supercup were support races for the Formula 1 races. Häkkinen had a seat in Monaco and Hungary. He took pole-position in both races, and won them with ease , showing his talent and dominance.
Rally and DTM
After his Formula 1 retirement, Häkkinen could not resist from racing. He raced in the Finnish Rally Championship in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution WRC2 with his co-driver Arto Kapanen, and the Arctic Rally in a Toyota. In 2005, Häkkinen made his debut in the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meistershaft) as a member of the HWA Team. His debut season started well: He secured eighth position in his first race at the Hockenheimring; and in the following race at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz, held his first podium in his DTM career. Two weeks later at Spa-Francorchamps, Häkkinen qualified on pole position and later took his first DTM win after only three starts. The DTM Career of Häkkinen would span 3 years. In 2008, he retired from motor-racing.
Häkkinen lives in Monaco since 1991. He has properties both in Finland and France. On 18 May 2008, his newly completed mansion in France was burned down after a light in one of his trophy cabinets short circuited. No injuries were reported, although Häkkinen’s collection of Formula One trophies was destroyed. Since his retirement he has worked with Charities as well as appearing on Top Gear and other TV programs. He has attended Goodwood Festival of Speed and basically “has kept his hand in”.
Pictures courtesy Porsche AG and unknown