We're all pretty lucky, really. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that everyone reading this was born in an era when access to automobiles was relatively cheap and easy. But let's take a moment and spare a thought for all those poor bastards unfortunate enough to be born before cars. I bet some of them could have been amazing drivers, right?

Now, I tend to put the origin of cars back a bit further than many, but just for the sake of keeping things easy, let's go ahead and say the era of (relatively) easily-accessible cars starts around, oh, 1900. So that would make our pool of potential but unavailable drivers anyone born from, say, 1830 and earlier.

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That's a pretty good-sized pool. So who may have been an undiscovered driving savant? Isaac Newton I think would have had a good grasp of the underlying physics of driving, but I've never gotten the sense that he'd be able to translate that into physically driving. He seems sort of like a pants-wetter at any speed over 12 MPH. And I'm not sure how well horse riders would necessarily fare — driving a wheeled vehicle like a car is a pretty different beast.

Now, chariot drivers, they may be our best bet, especially chariot racers. They probably already understood about how to corner, and their solid-axled chariots likely made them skilled drifters, too. And the most famous of these was Gaius Appuleius Diocles.

Diocles won 1462 out of the 4257 races he competed in — while the ratio isn't incredible, it's a staggering number of wins and and even more staggering career. Being an ancient Roman charioteer wasn't exactly the most long-term of professions, but Diocles managed to do it from 18 to 42.

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If you tally up his career winnings, it comes to 35,863,120 sesterces, which some classicist managed to translate into 2014 dollars and found it would be about $15 billion, making him the highest paid athlete ever.

So, yeah, I bet if you could get this guy behind the wheel of a car and train him for a few months, he probably would have been pretty formidable on the track. All that winning with just 4 real, sweaty, smelly HP? Think what that guy could do in a Porsche 917.