Autosport Awards: All you need to know
What Should You Know About the Awards?
The British Driver of the Year Award is the most heavily contested category. The nominees are some of the best British drivers who have successfully contested in international racing.
The most prominent face we all know is Lewis Hamilton. He has secured the award five times since 2007 and his 17 success marks. Last year he was recognized with the award after being able to tussle down Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel. Moreover, halfway through the season, he had already won five races out of six. By the end of the season, he had already broken the record with nine wins.
Some other nominees in this category are- Formula E driver Sam Bird, Super GT Star Jenson Button and Formula 2 driver George Russell.
The rider of the year in the motorcycle category is also heavily contested. It was started in 2016 and since then only one rider has won it: Marc Marquez. Don't be surprised that again he is one of the nominees. This year he has been able to win the MotoGP championship for the sixth time. This makes him a very strong contender.
However, he faces a lot of competition from his World SuperBike counterpart Jonathan Rea. Rea has had a successful "ride" after shattering the WBSK record. He is the first non-grand-Prix to make it to this category.
Other riders who complete the nominees are- Andrea Dovizioso, Valentino Rossi and Cal Crutchlow.
The Autosport Awards are a major thing in Britain. They have been going on for the last 35 years making this year the 36th edition. It aims to celebrate achievements across many racing series.
More than 1,200 guests grace the prestigious House of Grosvenor in London. The event is held the first Sunday of December which has been firmly established in the Autosport calendar.
Guests get to rub shoulders with the who is who in the industry. Some of the most notable names who have graced the event include Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Sir Jackie Stewart and Stirling Moss. However, even Hollywood stars such as Chris Hemsworth and Ron Howard and Ashley Judd have graced the red carpet of the Autosport Awards.
Readers of Autosport magazine are the ones who vote for the nominees across the categories. Every month the lines are opened for a certain category and the readers get to vote.
Even though they don't get to attend the event it is watched in over thirty countries. Everyone can still watch it through Motorsport.TV. It is also live-streamed on Autosport.com and Motorsport.com.
Rider of the Year
Open to riders competing in any of MotoGP’s three racing categories
Cal CrutchlowVictory in Argentina made the HRC-backed Crutchlow the first Brit to lead the MotoGP points since 1979, and consistent strong form then kept him in touch with the championship top five before Australia practice crash curtailed his season.
Andrea DoviziosoThree wins and strong pace all year backed up Dovizioso's front running credential from 2017, as he once again emerged as Marquez's biggest threat and Ducati's leading light.
Jorge LorenzoFully adjusted to the Ducati after a difficult debut year, Lorenzo was able to unleash his full might to take three wins and leave the Italian marque questioning its decision to drop him for 2019.
Marc MarquezA fifth MotoGP title in six years was secured with a near-flawless campaign that netted the Honda rider eight victories and only three races off the podium.
Jonathan ReaFour straight titles, 71 wins and 134 podiums make Rea the most decorated World Superbike rider in history, those records made in 2018 despite regulation changes aimed at ending his and Kawasaki's dominance.
Valentino RossiConsistency aboard a troubled Yamaha has ensured the MotoGP legend has remained a top-three fixture in the standings, the 39-year-old's undying talent rewarding him with five podiums amid his team's toil.
Racing Driver of the Year
Open to professional racing drivers competing at an international level
Fernando AlonsoAnother year, another list of Alonso superlatives. Has ended Stoffel Vandoorne’s McLaren career with his relentless brilliance and also won Le Mans at the first attempt, ending Toyota’s 24 Hours curse in the process.
Scott DixonDixon quickly adapted to the 2018 IndyCar package and led a solo charge against Penske and Andretti's bigger line-up. His greatest asset was knowing when to push for a win and when to settle for points, allowing him to defeat breakthrough star Alexander Rossi for the crown.
Lewis HamiltonHamilton has defeated Vettel in wheel-to-wheel combat and obliterated Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas this season. The 2018 campaign has been Hamilton at his peak and he secured a sensational fifth title with two races to spare.
Jean-Eric VergneVergne capitalized on Audi’s calamitous start to the 2017/18 Formula E season and refused to let go of top spot once he seized the standings lead. He topped the win and pole tally with four each to score his first title since taking the 2010 British Formula 3 championship.
Max VerstappenVerstappen has been largely faultless since putting early-season errors behind him and emerged from that spell as the most consistent driver behind Hamilton and a double race winner – just don’t tell him he changed his approach.
Sebastian VettelThere have been mistakes, no question, but Vettel has carried the weight of Ferrari’s title hopes for two seasons and that pressure is immeasurable. Still managed five wins and now has 13 to Kimi Raikkonen’s one in their time together.
British Competition Driver of the Year
Open to British drivers competing in categories at international level
Sam BirdBird kept himself in the Formula E title fight until the penultimate race of the season thanks to impressive consistency, pace in qualifying and charging drives, despite the deficiencies of the Virgin/DS package. He took two wins and a further four podiums.
Jenson ButtonIn his first full-time program since leaving Formula 1, Button and team-mate Naoki Yamamoto are joint leaders in the Super GT standings. They have scored one race win, three podiums and a pole position in 2018, with Button also competing in the World Endurance Championship with SMP Racing.
Lewis HamiltonStill the gold standard when it comes to British success abroad. Another bumper season that, in the face of a bigger Ferrari threat, has been even more lucrative than 2017.
Gary PaffettPaffett claimed a second DTM title in Mercedes' final year, one of the few drivers in the brand to take the dominant package and show its true potential. His stunning battle with Timo Glock in the season opener set the tone for his year.
Paul di RestaDi Resta may not have instantly matched Paffett's pace but he grew through the season to become his team-mate's biggest rival for the title. Bouncing back from a woeful Hockenheim opener for a podium the next day is the sort of resolve that wins championships - though he ultimately fell just short this time.
George RussellIn what can be an unpredictable series, Russell has established himself as the driver to beat in Formula 2 in 2018. With one round remaining, the 2019 Williams Formula 1 driver leads the standings and has taken the most wins and poles – six and four – of any driver so far.
Rally Car of the Year
Open to cars competing in rallying from international to national level
Citroen C3 WRCWhere speed mattered, Citroen’s C3 WRC came to the fore this season with a brace of superb second places in Sweden and Finland - and then took a sensational victory with returning legend Sebastien Loeb in Spain
Ford Fiesta RS WRCThis is truly a car for all surfaces, as victories in Monte, Mexico, Corsica and Wales have shown through this season. Last year’s championship-winning motor has evolved into an even quicker car courtesy of engine and aero upgrades.
Ford Fiesta R5While the Skoda Fabia R5 may have dominated in WRC2, the Ford Fiesta R5 continues to be a competitive package in almost every country rallying takes place. With 300 built, the car took a third consecutive British Rally Championship title and a fourth European Rally Championship title in a row to boot.
Hyundai i20 Coupe WRCLed the manufacturers’ race for much of the season, courtesy of superb speed, durability and handling when the going gets rough and rutted. The Korean firm’s maiden win in Sweden was a high point with Thierry Neuville leading from the second stage proper in the snow.
Skoda Fabia R5In the hands of Jan Kopecky the works Skoda Fabia R5 continued to dominate the top category for the car’s formula, WRC2 - where it has won every title since it was introduced in 2016. Since the start of the 2017 season, the Skoda has taken 20 out of 24 possible event wins.
Toyota Yaris WRCA much improved Toyota Yaris has allowed Ott Tanak to fight for the World Rally Championship this year, the car producing class-leading pace on events as diverse as Finland and Germany. Improving on events where it struggled last year, like Wales Rally GB, has been a highlight for the Tommi Makinen-run squad.
Rookie of the Year
Open to professional racing drivers in their first season in their respective categories
Pierre GaslyLed the charge for the Honda-powered Toro Rosso team in his first full F1 season. A few starring results, including fourth in Bahrain, made him an obvious pick to replace Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull – and now Max Verstappen beckons in 2019
Charles LeclercBig things were expected after back-to-back GP3 and Formula 2 titles, but nobody could really have imagined Leclerc earning a Ferrari promotion in his first season. Sauber’s on the up, and Leclerc has taken full advantage.
Andre LottererTriple Le Mans winner Lotterer entered the 2017/18 Formula E season as a category rookie and got off to a tough start in Hong Kong. But he pushed team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne for the win in Santiago, finished third in Rome and was in contention for victories as the year wore on.
Lando NorrisNorris showed his class with a win on his F2 debut and though he’s not been victorious since he almost went the distance in the title fight – and earned his F1 graduation with McLaren in the process.
George RussellWilliams 2019 Formula 1 recruit Russell is on his way to emulating Charles Leclerc with back-to-back GP3 and Formula 2 titles. Racing for ART Grand Prix, the British driver has claimed six F2 wins and four poles so far his first F2 season, two and one more than any other racer.
Robert WickensWickens was the first rookie to take pole on his IndyCar debut since a certain Nigel Mansell managed it in 1993. The Schmidt Peterson Motorsports driver came close to victory twice and ran with the series' best before his accident. So much so he was linked with a Penske switch.
Rally Driver of the Year
Open to professional or semi-professional rally drivers in international events
Jan KopeckySkoda’s home grown hero has waited a long time for a clear WRC2 shot. He hasn’t wasted it. Five wins from his first five rallies, including Sardinia and Turkey – which should finally nail any nonsense about him being an asphalt specialist, took him to the title.
Jari-Matti LatvalaFour podiums for the experienced Finn have helped keep his Toyota Gazoo Racing squad in the hunt for the World Rally Championship’s manufacturers’ award this year. What feels like a more sensible approach, without scrubbing off speed, has meant fewer driver errors and more strong results. Bonus points for rallying a Group A Toyota Celica in Finland in his spare time too.
Thierry NeuvilleA much-improved season has left Thierry Neuville in pole position for the World Rally Championship title that he could have won last year with fewer mistakes. He hasn’t won more events this year, but has shown similar consistency to his five-time title rival Sebastien Ogier in his bid for this year’s crown.
Sebastien OgierDemonstrated the same speed, guile and bravery as ever to keep a fifth World Rally Championship title defense firmly on track, having started the season in almost the best possible fashion with three wins from the first four rounds.
Carlos Sainz Sr.The two-time World Rally champion backed up his 2010 Dakar win with another sublime South American victory in January. Driving Peugeot’s 3008 DKR Maxi, Sainz tamed some of the toughest conditions imaginable through Peru, Argentina and Bolivia.
Ott TanakThe Estonian showed signs of becoming a superstar last year with M-Sport, but a switch to Toyota with the much-improved Yaris has created a formidable combination. While there were reliability issues in the first half of the season, Tanak has done his best to maximize every opportunity, winning on gravel and asphalt. A worthy title contender.
National Driver of the Year
Open to drivers racing in the BTCC, British GT or at FIA F3/GP3 level
Jonny AdamStatistically, Adam is now the most successful British GT driver after taking a third title with a third different team and co-driver this year. Further cemented his place as the driver with the most wins in the category in another strong season.
Tom IngramShowed incredible speed in the British Touring Car Championship this season, producing a number of stunning recovery drives from the back of the grid. The 25-year-old continued to improve and ended the year as Colin Turkington's closest rival.
Phil KeenYet another year where the unfortunate Keen ended the season as British GT runner-up, the third time in a row. But it was another impressive campaign for which he has been rewarded with a factory Lamborghini contract.
Ash SuttonThe reigning British Touring Car champion showed remarkable form again this year, taking the most wins of anyone (six). Ultimately finished third in the points despite having a very difficult start to the year with his troublesome Subaru Levorg.
Dan TicktumLast year's McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner has impressed in his first full season in European Formula 3 and took the title fight against Mick Schumacher to the final round.
Colin TurkingtonClaimed a third British Touring Car Championship title but admitted this was his toughest yet. He only took one victory all season but it was his remarkable consistency that told, rewarding him with an emotional triumph.
Racing Car of the Year
Open to cars competing in any class of circuit racing
Audi e-tron FE04An inverter issue meant the Abt-run Audi Formula E team had a disastrous start to 2017-18. Once that was sorted, the cars flew. Lucas di Grassi ended up series runner-up, and Audi won the teams’ championship.
Dallara IR18The manufacturer aero kits were gone, and the revamped IndyCar Series contender proved a hit both visually and on the racetrack. Hell, they could even overtake on road courses this season.
Ferrari SF71HIt’s only a few races ago that Mercedes was wondering what it could do to stop Sebastian Vettel taking the world title. As quick as the Merc as often as not, only its recent form has let the Ferrari down.
Mercedes F1 W09 HybridThe latest Silver Arrow was born a bit of a diva, like its predecessor. But a mid-season turnaround set Lewis Hamilton firmly on the road towards his fifth Formula 1 crown.
Toyota TS050 HYBRIDIn truth, Toyota has only had itself to beat this year in the World Endurance Championship. Alonso, Buemi and Nakajima lead the points. Oh yes, and they ended Toyota’s Le Mans jinx.
Volkswagen I.D. R Pikes PeakUsing the monocoque from the Norma prototype driven last year by Romain Dumas, the Frenchman won the Colorado ‘Race to the Clouds’ in VW’s electric car. And he smashed the all-time record by 16 seconds.
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