Well, that’s it. We’ve reached the last page on the calendar. While many people will be gearing up for the new year and all the promise that comes with it, we’ll be looking back on everything that has occurred over the past 12 months.
Throughout December, the Speedhunters team will sift through every image from every shoot to choose our Photos of the Year.
These hand selected images not only represent our best of the best…
…But they also act as a summary of everything that we’ve covered in 2011.
Our Photos of the Year are snapshots of the past 12 months; postcards of the various adventures that you joined us on.
There are so many events, races, museums, garages and cars that have slipped our minds.
So many clicks of the shutter, so many frozen moments, that have faded into distant memories.
Compiling the images for this editorial made them all come flooding back. It made me realise how much we, as a community, have experienced this year.
Together we’ve been enthralled by magical races…
…Peeked behind closed doors…
…And realised that we have peers in every corner of the world that share the same, undying passion for cars.
We’ve witnessed drivers accomplish lifelong ambitions…
…And seen them at their most trying times.
There were the instances where we held our collective breath.
2011 has, most certainly, been a journey worth reflecting on.
And before we can welcome in the new year, there’s the small matter of the annual Speedhunters Awards. Covering multiple categories, these awards are our way of recognising the standouts of 2011. Of course, what makes the Speedhunters Awards unique is that all of the winners are determined by you, the reader.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be asking you to decide on the defining Moment of the Year…
What was your Event of the Year? Perhaps it was Bonneville…
…Or the Nurburgring 24HR?
Last year, the World Time Attack Challenge tied for 1st place. Will it be able to repeat the feat?
Out of all the various motor racing champions, who is your Champion of the Year?
We’ve picked a variety of influential people for our Personality of the Year award, ranging from drivers to car builders to TV personalities.
Often, just a few tenths of a second separate the best race cars from the rest. Our Race Car of the Year award spans multiple disciplines, covering everything from Formula 1 to GT to WRC.
For the past few years, production cars have become bloated, sterile and more of an appliance aimed at families with 2.2 children. Manufacturers had abandoned us enthusiasts as they chased the mass. However, rays of light have poked out from those ominous clouds, and this year’s New Car of the Year nominees give us plenty of hope.
We’ve seen some amazing, forward-thinking concept cars this year; many of which have us performance gearheads in their sights. It will be intriguing to find out which of these will be voted our Concept Car of the Year.
Over the past 12 months we’ve featured street drifters from all over the world. We’ve nominated the best examples for Street Drift Car of the Year.
At the other end of the drift spectrum are the purpose-built competition drift cars. The decision on which car wins Pro Drift Car of the Year will be in your hands.
The sport of Time Attack is continually evolving as it matures.
And this year in particular has seen a dramatic shift in car development.
Both the sport’s veterans and newcomers alike have engaged in a veritable arms race; a one-upmanship of more power, more downforce and more mechanical grip.
All across the world these brutal TA machines are designed to be the fastest across a single lap. So after an absence last year, the Time Attack Car of the Year award returns with a mouth-watering selection of nominees.
One of the awards that will be hotly contested is Street Car of the Year.
Over the past week we’ve been deliberating over the nominees, coming up with a short list that, well, isn’t very short.
So many of the street cars we’ve featured tick all the right boxes to be the winner. No doubt you guys will have some debating to do, and I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if it comes down to a handful of votes.
In my opinion, one of our most important awards is the Reader Car of the Year. With voting done by their peers, the winner is the people’s champion.
Last year’s Reader Car of the Year was won by Antoine Cardaillac’s 280Z. If you think your car has what it takes, keep an eye out for our call-out for final submissions.
We’ve also assembled a collection of serious contenders for Demo Car of the Year, an award for 2011’s most ground-breaking shop and tuner creations.
Over the past two years, one of the crowd favourites has been Retro Machine of the Year. 2011 will see one of the strongest ever line-ups with a few dark horses also in the mix.
And finally at the pinnacle of this year’s Speedhunters Awards, is one final category.
The Speedhunters Car of the Year. This award will see the winners of each car category pooled together for one final round of voting, where one car will be unveiled as the best of 2011.
Last year Mike Burrough’s controversial ‘Rusty’ BMW was voted the winner ahead of the Team Need for Speed RTR-X and Drift Union Legacy. Who will be the best of 2011? We’ll know in just four weeks time.
We also have a diverse range of articles that will be coming your way throughout December. We’ll take you inside the Minichamps museum for a fascinating look at their most desirable and rare models.
Jeroen has only scratched the surface of the Essen Motor Show. Over the next few days, he’ll be taking a closer look at the star cars. He’ll spotlight these two Brabus SLSs…
…Along with some rally cars of yesteryear.
Meanwhile, Rod will be taking a look at the show’s hot rods.
Adding to our eclectic selection is Mike’s look at Spectre’s double dually…
…Casey’s feature on an SR20-powered Datsun 1600…
…And Linhbergh’s tour of Mike Fennel Restorations.
It’s also time for us to immortalise the RTR-X with a full feature.
Cars & Coffee has become a regular haunt of ours…
…And Mike will be on hand once again to provide the coverage.
One event that’s marked in our diaries with a big red circle is the Mooneyes Xmas Party.
This massive Show-N-Drag event descends on Irwindale and we’ll be deploying both Mike and Linhbergh to capture the action.
On the other side of the Pacific Ocean, Dino will be documenting the Yokohama Mooneyes Show.
In spite of the 5500 miles that separates the two events, it’s amazing to see how the vibe, atmosphere and passion aren’t lost in translation.
As I write this editorial, Dino will be busy shooting at the press days for the Tokyo Motor Show.
Every December, Dino ends up spending more time in his car than at home as he jumps from event to event…
…Which means fans of Japan’s car culture will be well catered for this month.
In addition to Mooneyes and the Tokyo Motor Show, he will be covering the mega event that is the Nismo Festival.
The world’s eyes are currently on the new car to bear the 86 name, but it’s the original that will be celebrated at the Hachiroku Festival.
The AE86 Matsuri shows that the passion for the hachi is still as strong as ever.
We will, of course, continue bringing you the very latest on the new FR-S, 86 and BRZ. We hope you’ve been enjoying our constant updates, so continue to check back for the latest.
Time Attack fans will be paying particular attention to the Super Lap Battle.
Held at Tsukuba, the fabled birthplace of Time Attack, this is one of the sport’s most important events.
It wasn’t that long ago that breaking the 1min barrier was unheard of. Now, the laptimes are in the low 50s. How much quicker will they be this year?
So there you have it. While most people will be winding down, going on holidays or enjoying the celebrations, it will be business as usual for Speedhunters as we look to end the year on a high.
If you need your fix of cars during the festive period, you know where to find us. Drive safe.
– Charles Kha