Some say that his first name really is "The", and that his left nipple is the exact same shape as the Nürburgring. All we know is, he's called The Stig.
Most people drive cars. Many are competent. A few are exceptionally skilled. And a minuscule fraction can do things behind the wheel that'd make your head spin faster than the driveshaft. These gods among wheelmen are a marvel to behold, with skill, timing, or luck so solid they can start and stop on farthings, drive through your coat closet without scuffing the drywall, pivot in place, or power-slide round entire municipalities. Such beings will often possess Machine Empathy
, detecting when something's wrong due to subtle changes in how their vehicle is acting.
The natural habitats of the Badass Driver include tracks, car chases, and anywhere where something with wheels is trying to be faster than something else. Often seen behind the wheel of the Cool Car
Compare Improbable Piloting Skills
for the Badass Drivers of the skies and Badass Biker
for Badass Drivers on two wheels. See also Drives Like Crazy
, which is often either this or its exact opposite. See also Graceful in Their Element
for when they're clumsy outside of a car.
If they're part of a gang, expect them to be the Getaway Driver
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Anime & Manga
- Diego Zhao (a.k.a. 'Rush') from the Rush City mini-series in The DCU.
- Freeway, a member of the criminal organization the Network and sometimes foe of Batman.
- Razorback, a little-known Marvel character, has the mutant power to, ahem, operate any vehicle at an expert level, just by getting at the controls.
- In Crowns of the Kingdom, Minnie Mouse is this. She takes control of Tomorrowland's Monorail, an Atommobile, and a Jeep in the Temple of Mara throughout the fic and manages to be completely awesome each time.
- Half-Life 2's Alyx Vance, according to Between Minds.
Film — Animated
- Vanellope Von Schweetz and all the other racers in Wreck-It Ralph are Badass Drivers. Even King Candy/ Turbo himself is one.
- Then there's Wyldsyde from The LEGO Movie, who not only drives cool vehicles, she rebuilds them along the way.
Film — Live-Action
- Wesley, Fox, and Cross from Wanted.
- Frank Martin (Jason Statham) of The Transporter series.
- The hero of the Smokey and the Bandit films, who pre-dated the Dukes Of Hazzard with the "moonshiner on the run from the law" character type.
- A number of the characters in The Italian Job.
- Any main character from The Fast and the Furious films. But especially Vin Diesel. But then, it's Vin Diesel.
- Though he doesn't start the film this way, Max from Collateral evolves into this when he stands up to Vincent and starts blowing through red lights, culminating in flipping the car intentionally in order to screw with the guy.
- Most characters in the Mad Max series, especially Max himself.
- Jackie Chan plays a version of this in The Tuxedo, in which he becomes a chauffeur for James Bond.
- Samy Naceri as Daniel in the french Taxi movies does incredible things with his car at ludicrous speeds.
- There are not few of these in Ronin, as evidenced by the against-traffic freeway car chase.
- Ryan O'Neal's nameless character in The Driver.
- H.B. "Toby" Halicki as Maindrian Pace and Nicolas Cage as "Memphis" Raynes in Gone in Sixty Seconds (1974) and Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000), respectively.
- In Halicki's case, this practically qualifies as Real Life, too, because he drove Eleanor himself all through the movie, including every single crash and stunt scene.
- Elwood J. Blues in Blues Brothers. It takes a lot of badass to turn a car around at the end of an unfinished bridge like Elwood did. He can even speed through the dark of the night and outrun dozens of police cars with his sunglasses on.
- Just about every character in Torque.
- Lindsay Lohan played a budding Badass Driver in Herbie: Fully Loaded. Though Herbie did most of the awesome stuff, "Max" had her moments too.
- Herbie "himself" manages to be a badass driver without needing a pesky human behind the wheel; even when segmented into two or more parts, the parts can also drive themselves.
- Jason Bourne, as shown in The Bourne Series movies.
- Kim in Death Proof.
- Niobe from The Matrix is regarded to be the BEST driver in both the Matrix and The Real World.
- Driver from Drive.
- Subverted in Snatch with Tyrone. He's introduced as an experienced getaway driver, but doesn't really live up to his hype.
Sol: He's a natural. Ain't you, Tyrone?
Tyrone: 'Course I am. [backs the car into a parked van]
Vincent: A natural fucking idiot!
- Italian race car driver Franco Bertolli is hired for his reputation as one in The Gumball Rally.
- If there's anyone better than Harold "Happy" Hogan in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they can drive cars through time. His Monaco run must be seen to be believed; slaloming against the direction of the incoming race cars at top speed - much of it one-handed because Pepper is desperately trying to get the Mark V uncuffed from his arm. With the key in his pocket.
- Just for the sake of squee, the top speed of a Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé is 155 mph. The average speed of the Monaco Grand Prix is 158 mph. That means he was dodging cars coming at him at a combined speed of OVER 300 MILES PER HOUR. Jon Favreau may have made himself something of a Butt Monkey in combat, but behind the wheel, he essentially made himself Chuck Yeager.
- More subtly, he also routinely keeps up during Tony Stark's driving adventures. Stark in a high dollar sports car, Hogan in a luxury sedan. From the dialog, it even sounds like Stark actively tries to lose him.
- Godzilla (2014) features a One-Scene Wonder bus driver who manages to drive his vehicle full of kids, including Sam Brody, through police and military barricades in the middle of an explosive skirmish between Godzilla and the Navy, getting off the Golden Gate Bridge just before the massive Kaiju barges through it.
- Tobey Marshall (Aaron Paul) in the Need for Speed movie. It then became Truth in Television though since Aaron Paul then proceeded to set the best celebrity lap time on the Top Gear test track.
- Miško Krstić in Who's Singing Over There? can drive a bus backwards, blindfolded, over an unpaved road for several minutes without any problems.
- One of Eggsy's skills before joining the agency in Kingsman: The Secret Service. He hijacks a car and manages to elude the police by driving backwards effortlessly a few miles. He probably could've gone longer, too, had he not swerved out of the way to avoid hitting an animal.
- Murrough from Therin Knite's Echoes. He (illegally) drives manually (as opposed to using the automatic AI driver installed in all cars) through a city where the average highway speeds are 200+ miles per hour.
- Believe it or not, Miss Havisham from Great Expectations is one of these mixed with Drives Like Crazy in the Thursday Next series. Her crazed driving scene is for the intent of getting bodice-ripper romances. No, really.
- The W40K universe has the gunner Jurgen, who is determined to make sure that Commissar Ciaphas Cain IS NEVER LATE! He will defy physics and all known road laws to ensure this. To add to that, he's gotten away with it, though this is most likely related to the fact the vehicle he's driving being a heavily armored war machine, and that his passenger can legally shoot just about anyone they meet.
- Shane Schofield from Matthew Reilly's books took an offensive driving course to justify why he can bypass a blockade by sliding along a concrete guard rail.
- Just FYI: the teacher of the course was an ex-stunt driver.
- The 39 Clues has Nellie and one time, Dan! (Oh, Crap.)
- In the Indian novel The White Tiger: Balram, duh.
- The main characters of The Dukes of Hazzard.
- Knight Rider: Michael Knight. Although you could say KITT did most of the work in the series, the episodes where Knight is behind the wheel of other automobiles make his own abilities abundantly clear.
- Nathan Fillion's character in Drive.
- Top Gear: Some say it's Jeremy Clarkson, or some of the guests they've featured on the show... all we know is, it's really The Stig.
- As a testament to how badass he is, he held the record for fastest time on the Top Gear Test Track in the Suzuki Liana for over five years, racing against a half dozen past and present Formula One drivers. The 'over five years' finally ended 11 July 2010, when Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello (himself an example of this trope) beat it by a single tenth of a second.
- Now Sebastian Vettel also broke his time... Or rather old Stig's time! Some say that his lap times are around 57, 58 seconds...
- The Stig is the most obvious one, but there's also Sabine Schmitz, the German racing driver from the Nurburgring. When Jeremy barely managed a full lap of the track in under 10 minutes in a diesel Jaguar (he got a time of 9:59), Sabine mockingly boasted that she could do that lap time in a van, got in the car and thrashed Jeremy's time (she got a 9:12). Later on, they challenged her to live up to her Badass Boast. She failed to do so, but not by very much.
- Don't forget Jim Rockford from The Rockford Files. Of course, he is James Garner.
- Most of the Kamen Riders fit this to varying extents. They traditionally ride motorcycles, and being Henshin Heroes, are usually pretty damn good at it.
- Dillon of Power Rangers RPM establishes himself as this in the first episode, when he drives through Venjix's barricade in broad daylight using his beaten up, old car.
- Alex from the manhwa The Breaker. He is a transporter whose driving skill is described as god-like.
- In the Violet UK video for the song Confusion, Yoshiki Hayashi is this. Both subverted and played straight in Real Life where, until a license suspension and restriction and getting his drinking under some control, he was known better for being a Drunk Driver and nearly causing a few accidents. However, when driving into his 2010 show at the Wiltern, fangirls jumped on his car. He managed to avoid hitting or running over anyone, making it a Real Life moment of being a Badass Driver.
- In the X Japan 2010 Rusty Nail PV (the non-anime one), this is subverted - Toshi looks like he's going to take on the role of Badass Driver as he got into the Maserati. Except it's self-driving and puts him in the gridlock of a traffic jam, and Heath, being a Badass Biker in the video as a Call Back to his predecessor in the band, gets him out of the car and onto his bike to get to their destination.
- In Stern Pinball's Mustang, the player must prove himself to be a Badass Driver in the "Stunt Driver" mode.
- Agent GK from Spy Hunter performs a bootlegger reverse to shoot an enemy car behind him.
- Dino Attack RPG had several characters that fit this sort of character.
- Among the founding members of Dino Attack Team, Viper - being a former racecar driver - fits the role.
- It certainly helps that a number of PeabodySam's characters participated in racing championships before the Dino Attack.
- Heck, two of them are literally father and son sharing the family name of "Race" (King Joseph and Prince Samuel Race).
- Surprisingly, the elderly pirate Greybeard is another example, having participated in the same racing championship as King Joseph Race.
- By extension, even though we never get to see them behind the wheel, A5T3R-01D and Sir Robert Batrick also count.
- Montoya is shown to not really have what it takes as a small-time criminal... until he's put behind the wheel (in a flashback he was shown to be the getaway driver for the failed heist on Dacta Corp., and subsequently had to navigate a freeway while trying to shake off a relentless assassin climbing over his car trying to kill him).
- The Speed Demon in d20 Modern Urban Arcana is a Badass Driver with supernatural enhancements to his ability to drive his or wreck vehicles other than his own.
- Vehicle Riggers in Shadowrun can not only be a Badass Driver, they can drive 4, 5, 6 vehicles at once!
- Players that mastered the beast named X2010 and its successor, X2011 from the Gran Turismo series are this. 1500 HP, design to be exempt of every racing design rule, light as a F1 and turns like an piece of iron running towards a powerful magnet on its left. Cool car, but only properly driven by Badass Drivers.
- Pretty much any sandbox game with driving in it (Driver, Grand Theft Auto, Crazy Taxi, Saints Row, Total Overdose, etc) requires badass driving to complete the missions on time.
- Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas has the characters mercilessly mock your driving. At one point, they tell you to go to driver's ed. And then you do. Harsh. Admittedly, it's an advanced driving school, and those classes teach you how to be an even more badass driver (even in-game, as every 100% earned on a test increases your driving skill by an amount that would take about half an hour of nonstop driving).
- Franklin in Grand Theft Auto V has the special ability to slow down time and greatly improve his handling as a driver. He also starts out with the highest driving stat of the three protagonists.
- A sci-fi variant, Joker in Mass Effect can do ridiculously awesome things with a spaceship, in this case, the Normandy. Joker is another Non-Action Guy due to his brittle bones medical condition. He is also snarktacular. Anyone who doubts that he fits this trope obviously hasn't seen what he does at the beginning of the suicide mission in Mass Effect 2.
- Throughout the series, it's shown that Shepard is actually highly skilled at either driving or piloting various forms of ground vehicles and aircraft. Unfortunately this fact is often overlooked since everyone else considers Shepard to be utterly dangerous when they get behind the wheel.
- Mention the name 'Greger Huttu' in sim-racing circles and expect an awed silence and people asking why the guy isn't in Formula One yet.
- Top Gear Magazine did an article putting him in a Star Mazda open-wheeler. While the skill is certainly there (he was quickly setting some very quick times), the physical fitness required of actual racing wasn't.
- Milo of Wheelman and its film sequel.
- Starting in the second game, Jak became one of these, with Daxter showing at least potential. In the racing spinoff, everyone who was playable became one of these by default, even Pecker.
- Sgt. Moody from Call of Duty, who runs a little Peugeot through the German lines with his two subordinates to send an information to the American HQ. In United Offensive, he did the same thing with a Jeep through the freezing forests around Bastogne, this time with the help of an M2 heavy machine gun.
- Pretty much everyone in F-Zero, especially Captain Falcon.
- Or its players, who can master the game's Nintendo Hard difficulty.
- In Liberal Crime Squad, any liberal with enough points in driving skill becomes this.
- The protagonist of Zombie Driver as he drives around a zombie-infected city, running down everything in his path, just to save survivors trying to escape.
- Euro Truck Simulator features the player as an ordinary truck driver, who is encouraged to obey the rules of the road... but as they progress through the game's skill system, they unlock longer and more dangerous routes, until they eventually are hauling perishable, fragile and dangerous cargo across the whole of Europe on strict time limits and in foul weather, making them a Mundane Made Awesome instance of the trope.
- First-person shooters like Halo require badass driving if you want to survive long in a Warthog or Mongoose in multiplayer mode. Preferably with someone able to shoot at your opponents, but for those moments they can't...
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja's titular Dr. McNinja, with a car, a motorcycle, and a private jet in the most recent arc, but this might be a given considering the general craziness of the series.
- The current story, Army Of One, hand waves it nicely.
- When Doc needs a Badass Driver to support him, he turns to Judy.
- Liz from Dead Winter borrows Patrick's car.
- Kamikaze Kate from Misfile.
- Ash is a pretty good case of this as well. Consider this: When Ash and Kate race the second time, Ash is driving a car that, as Kate points out, "is almost as old as you (Ash) are". Kate herself was driving a freaking Jaguar (and a modified one at that).
- Ash has progressed a lot by the time of the race against Sheldon.
- Formula One, a Badass Normal superhero from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, who uses a tricked out Cool Car to fight crime. Other heroes suspect he has the mutant power to drive any vehicle as if he was an expert, but the truth is, he's just a very, very skilled driver.
- Whateley Universe example: Skids, whose mutant powers involve incredible driving skills, and the ability to psychically improve her vehicle, even while she's driving it.
- Redvs Blue: Grif. Yes, that Grif. Don't believe me? Watch Revelation episode 3.
- In the S9 flashbacks, Agents Maine, York, and ultimately Tex give Grif a run for his money. It takes a whole Warthog full of balls to catch someone falling off a building in your car, about as much to ram a truck that your buddies are fighting on with said car, but what Tex can do on that motorcycle probably violates laws of physics.
- Wheelman from Metro City Chronicles. He can drive across the country in a matter of hours and drive up the sides of buildings. His powers basically revolve around the ability to do impossible stunts with cars.
- The Driver from The Hire, BMW's short film advertisement series. But then he's played by Clive Owen.
- Henry Chan from The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan.
- Override and Hot Shot from Transformers Cybertron are quite proficient. Being a Badass Driver is a requirement to become the planet Velocitron's leader, for the Transformers of Velocitron decide such things by racing. Override is the leader at the start of the series, and in the final episode when she abdicates to captain one of the ancient starships for the Space Bridge project Hot Shot wins the race to determine her successor.
- A special mention should go to the fact that Hot Shot, unlike the many other Velocitronians who were racing for planet-wide supremecy, did not even know that leadership was the prize for winning the race and he won thinking there was nothing to win. He just likes racing.
- Oh, and he won in his bulkier, heavily armored Mid-Season Upgrade form!
- Coop in Megas XLR, who naturally kicks it up to Car Fu when he gets a hold of hyperadvanced technology.
- And from the same people, Motor City's main cast is full of them, but The Hero Mike stands out in particular.
- In ThunderCats (2011) Panthro is this in his highly-customized Thundertank. He's even up for a game of chicken with the occasional giant war machine.
- Asami Sato from The Legend of Korra qualifies. Demonstrating her amazing driving skills during a tense chase scene where she is blinded by smoke bombs. She not only manages to tail her quarries but manages to shock a couple into submission.
- She's not just badass on the roads. She does the same thing on motorboats and in the sky with biplanes.
- Lance in Sym-Bionic Titan, particularly in the "Roar of the White Dragon" episode. Notably when street racing Mike Chan (who could also be this trope) and when outrunning a Mutraddi, while still managing to pass his driver's test.
- Most (if not all) drivers involved in forms of professional motor racing. Formula One, Indy Car, NASCAR, etc. They go absurdly fast around incredibly tricky tracks and small mistakes can lead to dire consequences, although increased safety equipment has reduced the risks. Plus, they have to race and beat a whole field of equally skilled drivers.
Alain Prost: Ayrton has a small problem. He thinks that he can't kill himself.
- Wait a minute, isn't The Stig a real life example?
- Niki Lauda. Yes, he crashed and burned horribly, but they say he got back into the cockpit of a Formula 1 racer when he was still smoking. If that ain't Badass...
- Dale Earnhardt. Some say that he could see how the air moved, which is why he was so damned good on super speedways. He was nicknamed "The Intimidator." That just about says it all.
- Special points to Graham Hill, the only person in history to win each of the big three of motorsport: Formula One World Championship, Indy 500 and Le Mans 24 Hours.
- NASCAR drivers Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison after crashing into each other on the last lap of the race and getting into a fight in the 1979 Daytona 500. Even before they got into the fight they were some of the toughest drivers of their time.
- Jackie Stewart. To use the biggest example of his badassery, he won the 1968 German Grand Prix at the 187 corner Nurburgring, in the pouring rain, by more than four minutes! With a broken wrist! If that's not badass driving, then nothing is.
- Nigel Mansell, to the point that the Tifosi nicknamed him ''il leone" (The Lion) because of it. There is a huge list of injuries that he has suffered, only to jump right back in the car and carry on against the advice of several medical professionals. Add this to some insane overtaking manoeuvres and simply never giving up. Pushing your car over the finish line to salvage points and then fainting after? There's a reason he is one of Britain's most successful and endearing drivers.
- Anyone who can drive in the Monaco street circuit at top speed, barely centimeters from the walls qualifies. Take a look at some F1 onboard laps to see just how fast and how close it can get. You'd be damn sharp if you could just register what went past you. As Niki Lauda put it, Monaco is like driving a motorcycle inside your living room. As many people would remind you, Monaco would not have been approved for races had it been built today.
- Take a look at the onboard cam at night at the Le Mans 24 hours, and you'll see just how little of the track ahead is barely visible to the drivers. Sometimes you don't know a corner's coming until they actually take it.
- Any race car driver's skills are fairly easily transferred to street cars, be them open-wheelers or modified production cars. Therefore, pretty much all competent race car drivers are capable of badass feats behind the wheel. One example of such a driver showing off on YouTube is Ken Block.
- Prohibition gave rise to an illegal and dangerous, but quite economically rewarding, activity: dodging the police while hauling contraband moonshine on modified cars. The famous "Bootlegger's Reverse" was named for just one of the maneuvers that such drivers would pull. What happened to all of those skilled drivers after prohibition ended? They formed NASCAR. See also Junior Johnson.
- "Precision drivers" like Russ Swift, who's skills include parking cars with a handbrake turn, and on one clip imitating the movie 'The Driver' using the walls of a car park to knock bits of the car off.
- The land speed record overlaps with Improbable Piloting Skills, since the driver who steered Thrust SSC to 763 mph was Wing Commander Andy Green of the RAF.
- Le Prince Noir (The Black Prince), a French motorcyclist, became famous in 1989 for riding one whole "lap" on the Parisian Périphérique expressway. Despite heavy traffic and a layout that's far from perfect for high speeds, he reached an average speed of 190km/h and top speeds beyond 250km/h. Don't forget that this was when stock motorcycles were limited to 98bhp.
- Speaking of speeding in Sweden, there's also Getaway in Stockholm. High-performance cars with cameras mounted on them tease the police in Stockholm to chase them, let themselves be chased but not caught for a while, recording the chase with said cameras, and then head for an expressway where they escape at speeds out of reach for Swedish police cars. Like Ghost Rider, the drivers of these cars cannot be convicted thanks to the very special Swedish traffic laws.
- The whole mounting-a-camera-on-your-ride-and-flooring-it-on-public-streets thing is Older than You Think, by the way. The French director Claude Lelouch already did it on an early August morning in 1976 in his short movie C'était un rendez-vous. He mounted a camera on the front end of his Mercedes 450 SEL 6.9 and raced the comparably heavy and cumbersome luxury sedan through the streets of Paris. Although this was indeed released as a sort of movie, this does qualify for Real Life because absolutely nothing (except dubbing the engine sounds with a Ferrari 275 GTB) was edited, not even sped up, absolutely no special effects were applied, no preparations beyond mounting the cam on the Mercedes were made, and there wasn't even really a script except the route.
- This deserves recognition. Extra badass point for the fact that he was driving an IFV.
- Sabine Schmitz, the most Bad Ass female driver ever lived. Has done around 20,000 laps of the Nurburgring Nordschleife, and crashed "many times, can't count actually". This being a circuit that's 13 miles around which there continues to be fatalities on a yearly basis. On Top Gear she blew past motorbikes and sports cars...in a VAN. Which halfway around the lap "got no more ABS". And they say Danica Patrick is making headlines...
- Speaking of female drivers, there's this hilarious hidden camera prank where unsuspecting men went on a blind date with a ridiculously attractive female stunt driver. Once they got behind the wheel of her Mustang, she pretended to be The Ditz who couldn't drive a stick shift. She then drove the car to an empty lot and proceeded to scare the shit out of them.
- Jalopnik.com's hoon of the year, Bill Caswell. Enters a WRC Mexico rally race against $400,000+ cars driven by the likes of Ken Block (see "showing off on YouTube", above) with a $500 19-year-old rear-wheel-drive Craigslist car and no crew. Finishes third in class, and ahead of three cars in the aforementioned $400,000+ WRC class.
Have four hours to sleep, most sleep have had in a week. Car is perfect. Fuel pump fixed by the side of the road. Fixed rear sway bar. Changed to fresh tires. Fabricated new hood tie downs with a borrowed welder — had to borrow a larger generator to run it, too — b/c mine cracked off. Trans brace was held on with only one nut left and loose and halfway undone. Got lucky.
- You cant leave Ponce, the Minority Racer, out of the list of BA's. This Mexican-American underdog race car driver has managed to compete and finish several world class races in multi-motorsports such as the world championship of extreme rock crawling at UROC Super Crawl 2006, two consecutive WRC events in Mexico without any prior rally experience in 2008 and 2010, the King of the Hammers race in 2011, and recently contacted to drive on the same team with Paris Dakar legend Jutta Kleinschmidt and Michael Podologar to help the team place and finish the GORM 24hr race, alias the Nurburgring of Offroad, in Germany.
- Tom Cruise, who did all the driving stunts himself in Jack Reacher.
- Keiichi Tsuchiya. He isn't called The Drift King for nothing. He's so Bad Ass that he himself appeared (though not completely) in a special episode in the anime version of Initial D as the one talking to Bunta Fujiwara on the cellphone for advice. Not only that, but he was the inspiration for the character Takumi, Bunta's son. Though his glory years are now far behind him, he's still a Cool Old Guy.
- Ross Dolan of the Death Metal band Immolation works as a truck driver for his day job. Now, being a truck driver alone is generally a sign that you're quite competent and know the ins and outs of the road like few others do; furthermore, given that his CDL class also allows him to drive passenger vehicles of a certain weight class, he was able to bail Nile out on a 2010 US tour when their own driver ran off mid-tour, as said passenger vehicles included buses. In fact, it's likely that if Immolation hadn't been on the bill and/or had not been in the vicinity of the rest stop that Nile was stranded at, they may have actually had to drop off the bill.