“This town ain’t big enough...”
Best Decision of the Year goes to Grand-Am
and ALMS for the merger that will see just one
top-level sports car series in the U.S. in 2014.
Makes sense on all levels – and we can’t wait!
CAR OF THE YEAR
Peugeot’s decision to pull the plug
on its LMP1 Hybrid program just
weeks before the 2012 FIA World
Endurance Championship cranked
into life could have been the death
knell for sports car racing’s return
to a true world stage.
The French manufacturer’s exit
left Audi to race itself and the WEC
on its knees before it even began.
Or that was the theory.
The reality is that Toyota’s all-new
TS030 LMP1 Hybrid, a car expected
to slowly play itself in following a
belated debut at Le Mans (which
masochist decided that?), not only
won third time out (BELOW, in Sao
Paulo), but so exceeded its brief that
it was the yardstick by year’s end.
In the war of the hybrids, Audi’s
R18 e-tron quattro was a diesel that
released its stored energy through the
front wheels, effectively making it
all-wheel drive for parts of every lap. In
contrast, TS030 was gasoline-engined
and sent its recovered energy to the
rear wheels – conventional (in the
hybrid technology sense, anyway),
but ultimately more effective.
But it’s not because of its tech that
we’re making the Toyota TS030 our
Car of the Year; it’s because it saved
the WEC. And that’s a pretty big deal.
In only his third full season in Sprint Cup, Brad
Keselowski delivered a first premier league
NASCAR title to team owner Roger Penske.
OVAL RACER OF THE YEAR
Brad Keselowski isn’t shy about giving
opinions nor honest analysis. This time
last year, he described himself thus:
“I’m a B-plus driver with A-grade
potential, and whether we get there
or not depends on who I’m surrounded
by and how hard I work at it.”
When “Special K” talks like this, it
doesn’t come across as arrogance so
much as a plain speaking of the facts.
And we guess it’s safe to say that after
capturing the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup
Series title, Keselowski made the grade,
even by the high standards he set himself.
If not, well, he certainly made the
grade in the eyes of you, the RACER
readers. It was a close-run thing with
Ryan Hunter-Reay but, in the end,
NASCAR drivers maintained their
recent stranglehold on this award.
24 SPRING 2013