Next up in the Speedhunters Awards for 2012 is the opportunity to vote for your favourite competition car of the year. We have a selection of old and new to choose from which are competing around the globe, though all are pushing the boundaries of their respective series. The fastest, the meanest, the most revolutionary or just the plain winningest? It’s up to you to choose who deserves the award. Here are the nominees:
With Peugeot pulling out on the eve of the World Endurance Championship, it fell to Toyota to put together a full factory assault in double-quick time, both to save the nascent championship and to provide some opposition to the expected Audi dominance. Toyota did all that and more: after a Herculean effort they delivered at the highest level at the Le Mans 24 Hours before going on to win races on outright pace following the big day in France. It was a phenomenal effort by the Cologne-based TMG team; 2013 promises to be even more impressive. Audi have some serious work to do over the winter.
Racing has always been the perfect platform to develop new technologies and to showcase manufacturer R&D muscle, and in recent years it’s been sportscar racing that has forged ahead at the cutting edge of alternative power. Audi’s futuristic R18 from last year was reintroduced in new, hybridised form for 2012 as the e-tron quattro: its hybrid energy recovery system powers the front wheels, providing all-wheel drive performance that was virtually unbeatable in changeable conditions – until that blue and white machine from Cologne appeared.
Fredric Aasbø heads up our first nomination for a competition variant of the ZN6 with his 86-X drifter. Initial renders had everyone gasping: surely the finished product couldn’t live up to the promise? But the 86-X has more than done that, not only winning with looks but also with performance – and this a project that was completed in just four weeks. The car is fearsomely wide, with its Rocket Bunny kit muscling-up the already lithe shape of the 86. Slot in Aasbø behind the wheel, put it sideways, add smoke: stand back and admire.
The GT300 category of the Japanese GT Championship features a dizzying number of different makes: there are few series with such an eclectic mix of racers. The BRZ/GT86 has already been introduced into drifting, touring cars and GT racing, and in Japan the ZC6 has been further muscled up for GT300 – with this the impressive result. Laden with downforce and sitting on huge BBS rims, the BRZ oozes aggression: the perfect GT racer?
For a third take on the ZC6/ZN6, there’s the awesome Evasive FR-S. Its bespoke aero kit features all kind of details that you’d otherwise only see on DTM or LMP machinery, but it still retains all the spirit of the base FR-S. Time Attack and Pikes Peak are on the agenda for the FR-S next year; if the rule that a fast car is beautiful is true, then the Evasive FR-S could be in for a lot of silverware in 2013.
Honda’s new-generation Civic tourer was developed by the British Team Dynamics outfit, and was a winner from the opening round of the season. After a hard-fought year, the new-for-2012 NGTC-specification, wide-body Civic came out on top, with the Team Honda pairing of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal taking first and second in the standings and Pirtek’s Andrew Jordan winning the Independent’s trophy. Next year a JAS-developed version will also compete in the WTCC, representing Honda at the global level.
DTM racers are brutal looking cars, and none more so than Bruno Spengler’s flat-black BMW M3, in which he took the 2012 title. After a break of almost 20 years, this was BMW’s first season back in the premier German touring car series, taking on the established might of Mercedes-Benz and Audi, but it was like they’d never been away. The M3 was immediately on the pace, but the battle for the championship went down to the wire before BMW took a clean sweep of all the available trophies. Notice has been served.
There was little competition to Citroën’s DS3 rally car in 2012 – at least when it was pedalled by Sébastien Loeb. The DS3 has been hoovering up wins for the past couple of years: the 1.6-litre turbo packs a surprising punch, and seeing one crackle through a forest or hurtling over a blind crest is not something you’ll forget in a hurry.
The only thing that could get near the DS3 WRC was Ford’s M-Sport-developed Fiesta. But the Fiesta was in its element when unleashed in rallycross spec (where it was also often up against the DS3). Rallycross also showed just how strong they make them, as Fiestas were bashed and smashed around the rallycross world. On both sides of the Atlantic, fearsomely fast Fiestas thrashed around tracks in the hands of hooning drivers like Ken Block and Tanner Foust.
Lock Adrian Newey and his team in a room and ask them to come up with a racing car, and in all likelihood a championship winner will be the result. The RB8 wasn’t always the fastest, but it had the special edge that Newey magically instills in cars: speed for sure, but also unbelievable packaging and aero efficiency plus an ability to survive battle damage – at least when Vettel was at the wheel.
McLaren’s 2012 challenger was arguably the fastest car of the year, but a series of failures – for both the team and the car – set their challenge back. Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button still won seven times out, and the MP4-27 was easily the most attractive of the 2012-generation cars, having taken a different aesthetic route and eschewed the stepped nose that the majority of the grid utilised.
There are many things that seemingly don’t go together. Long shorts. Airline food. Military intelligence. And Mini Quattro. On the outside, it still looks like a Mini despite being draped in a Z-Cars wide-body kit. Underneath, it’s a Tardis of power and drive-train: the 1.8-litre turbo from an A3 cranked up to 450hp plus all-wheel drive, in a car weighing less than a sneaker. The wing and diffuser are not for show: it drives like a slot car: blink and it’s gone, disappearing into the distance.
How many horses does a man need? If you’re Daigo Saito, it’s not about need – it’s about want. And 1,200 is the answer. The turbocharged 2JZ-powered SC430 Formula D car carried Daigo to the 2012 title in the US, adding to his already impressive roster of championship wins. Taking an open-topped luxury roadster and crossing it with a very angry dragon, the SC430 was an individual work of smoking art.
The unofficial representative of the world’s privateers, ‘Under’ Suzuki’s every-evolving S15 project continues to find tenths of a second every time it takes to the track, chasing records in Revspeed Super Battle. The alchemist of Japanese Time Attack, by day Suzuki-san works in a pharmacy before heading off to his lab in the evening to concoct more insane mods in his decade-long love affair with the Nissan. The Silvia’s power is now edging towards 800hp, with the weight dipping to 1,000kg. Pro teams beware: this S15 is gunning for you…
The technology under a racing car’s skin is exciting, but what about a radical reinvention of the entire racing car concept? The Nissan Deltawing was exactly that. Originally planned as a replacement for the ageing Indycar single-seater, the Deltawing was converted to sportscar spec and ran in the ’56th Garage’ spot at the Le Mans 24 Hours, reserved for entries that are pushing the boundaries. The Deltawing is lightweight and fast, and a more than capable racer. An unfortunate accident put the car out at Le Mans, but it put in a strong run at the Petit Le Mans race at Road Atlanta and more races are planned for 2013. A brave, revolutionary project that deserves nothing but praise and support.
I have to vote for the Saito-san's FD Lexus SC430. The fact that the car was salvaged from the Fukushima area after being flooded, rebuilt, and then to win the Formula D championship, I'm sorry, but can a car have a bigger comeback story.
BMW M3 DTM simply for the fact that they had an epic return to DTM after a long absence. Then the Deltawing for making such a huge impact in its first year on the circuit. Can't wait to see how it evolves in the coming racing season!
I've gone for the Deltawing. It might not have "competed" properly in some peoples eyes. But for me it took part in competition, ergo its a competition car. It deserves the win, an outlandish design that helps to push the boundaries is fundamental to all forms of motorsport and always has been.
The Honda BTCC cars also deserve a good result for taking an undeveloped car and turning it in to a season winner and also providing great racing all season.
I do have to question why the Mclaren and the Evasive are in the poll though. A car that proved to be not good enough (on performance, reliability or team management) and a car where the only picture thats been put up of it is parked outside a warehouse seem like odd choices. But that's just my feedback as a reader :).
I think the problem was in setting expectations, for example calling this "Competition Car of the Year" instead of "Dopest Rides 2012". Were it the latter I could have skipped reading it.
I'm a 43 year old father of two who used to read print automotive publications. Recently I was feeling good about the site, it seemed to have become more of a mainstream automotive enthusiast site. I liked the way things had been going. You guys have the potential to be the center of everything automotive on the web. If that is what you want to achieve some day, please do yourself a favor and grow up. I think your audience will as well.
what a joke. Seriously you put the Evasive in, but then leave out cars which actually won races. Much as I like the GT86 (and have one on order) your choices other than SuperGT Subaru are mad. What about cars like the Corvette which took a title this year with YOUR OWN DRIVER.
No wonder SH is a bit of a laughing stock in the paddocks or circuit racing.....
Kudos for putting the DeltaWing in though. Impressive performance at LM and PLM, even if it was running slightly relaxed regs. Looked awesome in the flesh.... Now thats a Competition Car Feature you should have, something with real depth, like the early days of Speedhunters.
Why not reset this poll with proper cars in there. If its about underdogs, shouldn't Sauber be in there instead of a five year old S15? I love jap time attack and Suzuki S15 but come on now. Sauber had a shoestring compared to other f1 teams. How is the Unreliable McLaren in there in place of Sauber which punched above its weight? Perhaps because McLaren let you drive their cars in America...
I had to read the commentary 3 times to make sure I understood what was being said. Speedhunters, you decided to select under "Competition Car of the Year" a car becuase you wrote a story on it and it was 6th in the line for the number of hits on cars? Seriously? That is your way of determining if a car is suitable to be Competition Car of the Year. You at least got one thing correct. It was 6th. Similar to what it finished in its actually racing. I am with everyone else here. Pick cars that we can vote on that actually did something in Competition that made them special. Yah, I agree with most other people NEMO should have a least been give an opportunity for us to vote on, so should probably Ryhs Millens Hyundai. Both cars did some phenomenal stuff this year, and they actually did it in Competition. Just for a Laugh I googled "Nemo Racing Evo". It came back with 52,500 hits. I did the same for the "Evasive FR-S". It came back with 17,700 hits. I guess Evasive came in 6th there as well. Guys think you need to listen to your readers, particularly about running a competition.
There are 2 drift cars here, but only 1 time attack car. Seriously, not having Nemo in COMPETITITION car of the year is something I don't understand. It absoultey destroyed the opposition, including Under's car by 3 SECONDS. Not 3-100s. Not 3-10ths. 3 seconds. And it did it out of the box. The story behind Under shouldnt influence that. It's performance in COMPETITION should be the deciding factor.
I will never agree with using pageviews to decide which cars get selected. Its COMPETITION car of the year not POPULARITY car of the year. Evasiv being in this category over Nemo based on webhits... crazy.
I didn't t like the Delta wing way back when it was a concept for IRL, but after seeing it race at Le Man and then at Petit, I fell in love. It's so different and awkward, but yet still quick and full of technology. Plus it's Nissan!
All these cars are dull except for the Deltawing - so it gets my vote. I don't even like it that much.
Would've gone for the McLaren if not for the reliability issues that plagued it during the season, here's hoping they make it work next year for Perez! Only one sensible alternative; Deltawing
Funny. It's the "Competition" car of the year poll and the Delatwing is ahead? It hasn't done anything, it just looks funky.
I would think the Audi e-tron, which dominated Le Mans; the DTM M3, which dominated in it's long awaited return to DTM competition; or the Redbull F1, for obvious reasons, would be way ahead in the polls. Key word being "Competition" no bonus' for "Style points". Many companies have designed "innovative" and questionable race cars, that doesn't necessarily make them competitive.
A lovely looking FRS that's done nothing in competition but plans to do things vs Redbull Racing f1 car that has won the pinnacle of motor sports 3 years in a row. The car is a product of a team with 500+ employees which has a quarter of a billion euro budget. Bit of a strange poll to be honest the difference between them two alone is crazy.
Some nice nominees in general but I am curious... after the RML Chevy Cruz team dominated the series with all 3 cars swapping top spots on the podium all year long...how can you ignore the RML CRUZ!!!
I am not a massive fan of Time Attack but read your commentary of WTAC this year with alot of interest.
I am with everyone else how did Nemo not even rate for inclusion on the list? Common let us mere readers know how you picked some of these cars?
From your own reporting Nemo is the Worlds Most Adventurous Time Attack Car? Just for the ingenuity shown it deserved to rate up along with the Delta, the RB8 or the TS030. But I bet it was a mere fraction of their budgets.
Why so many FT86s??? Speedhunters are starting to give me the impression of being FT/BRZ biast. Every second or third event coverage or spotlight in the past six months has an FT/BRZ in it....
Don't get me wrong I also love the car and would own one as a daily (not that it would be my numero uno choice), but come on guys!!!
I also totally agree that the Nemo Racing evo should have been on here!
Oh yeah my vote goes to that delta wingy thingy, looks like the something out of Batman (jks)...
I'm behind the Delta Wing on this one. After watching Chris Harris drive the car and interview the designer, I became fascinated with the machine and what its trying to achieve.
@ToneDiez Man, ypu have to really think about it when you let words out of your mouth?Style? Really? Do you think that "style" has influence on racecar design? Racecars are a huge amount of numbers before they see the light of the sun, there is no sketch, no render, no colour: they are pure function. The Nissan Deltawing is the FUTURE of motorsport, it's a completely new and different approach at laws of physics. Only because of the immense engineering work the car carries on the racetrack it should be the only possible answer. Competition is a big and loud word, and it is not related to win or loss, but to CHALLENGE and the Deltawing is the greatest challenge ever undertaken in motorsport in the past 20 years.
@ToneDiez You can't deny that it didn't 'compete' in competitions though...
@ToneDiez Started 43rd and finished 5th? in its second race ever, against cars with double the horsepower, and had the 2nd fastest lap, behind a rebellion racing monster with 640hp. Id say thats a pretty good start to a program if you ask me.
@MatsNorway Gatebil has races.
@DomoKun part of our criteria this year was to take the top "competition" car features from the year and include a few of them in this poll. While we focused mostly on cars which achieved on the racetrack, we thought it would also be strange to exclude the car features which were widely read this year.
The Evasive car in particular was the number 6 most read car feature this year on Speedhunters, which is why it's on the list. When you dig into the stats about what articles the Speedhunters audience reads, the results are often surprising and not completely obvious :)
@Robert Sothmann It was shortlisted. In previous years when we did these polls we had a lot more cars on the list, but this year we culled to maximum 15 entries to try and keep things more focused.
We gravitated more to newer builds on the list as the Cruz has been around for a while now.
btw...some of these cars haven't won shit and are not really innovative either. Let's not try to compare real wheel to wheel competition cars with brand new time attack cars or drift cars in terms of 'COMPETITION'. Whether it's DTM, F-1, WTCC etc, your list leaves much to be desired. I picked Deltawing from a daring design perspective...and a close second would be the Toyota Hybrid racer. Really though...who makes the list? Which of these FT86 cars really has the right to be on here?
@neblar760 given the reaction you guys are having perhaps yes it should have made it. The car was shortlisted, but for Time Attack we ended up going with Suzuki's S15. For us, him setting a new Revspeed record as a privateer, single person team was a massive achievement. It's his story as the underdog which made us choose his car over Nemo.
@Waltizzle It's a fair point! As I have said in a few comments: the inclusion of those cars was based on stats: how many pageviews those articles got.
@FrancescoDiGiuseppe Keyword in everything you said was "FUTURE". This award is for "Competition Car of 2012". The Deltawing entered 2 races and didn't win either of them.
Meanwhile, The R18 E-tron's got 1st and 2nd in 24-hours of LeMans and won the Manufacturers Championship; and the BMW M3, with their return to DTM; swept the Manufacturer's, teams, and Driver awards in it's first season back since 1993.
I think these 2 accomplishments are MUCH LARGER testament to Competition Cars of 2012 than the Deltawing. Maybe NEXT year the Deltawing will get the award after it's entered more races and gotten some podiums.
Just because a design is innovative and defies everything the preceded it, doesn't mean in will necessarily be successful. We'll see what it does in the "FUTURE".
@FrancescoDiGiuseppe Ok Sherlock! You REALLY think other motorsport teams are stupid? If the Deltawing was SO revolutionary like you stated, other teams would have jumped on the bandwagon!
Sure the car started well (and to tell you the truth I like it too), but on this poll there are far better cars that deserve "the car of the year".
@RodChong LOL.....think about what you just said....putting the Mini against F1 cars and LeManns cars, LOL.
@RodChong Okay I get why the Evasive FR-S is here. I'm guilty of reading the article, but my mindset was really "hey look, a cool FR-S with aero and te37 sl's... I shall read on." Couldn't tell you what competition its built for nor do I care, unless it were to win. My (and others) criteria differs slightly from what you guys used to decide which cars are on the list. I'm not going to start arguing over that as I'm already unproductive enough here at work by visiting this site. I regret nothing.
@RodChong @DomoKun Then perhaps the competition name should be changed then? Its not really about the Competition Car of the Year. Its about which car had a story written about it and received the higher number of hits. Not anything about if it actually was a great Competition Car this year. That is fairly lame. I dont think anyone is suggesting Under's car shouldnt be here. But you selected a Time Attack car that has done absolutely nothing in the sport yet but a few photo shoots. Oh sorry and a story on Speedhunters that got some hits.
it would be interesting to see those stats if readers were able to get a look at them. stuff like daily site traffic to story views and overall traffic for a given period and stuff like that.
@Robert Sothmann Regarding the ZN6-ZC6 cars, again this was based on raw stats. We put a few cars on the list which were popular with the Speedhunters audience.
Most of the nominee cars you will see in the coming weeks are there purely based on stats: how many pageviews the articles got. For this category we mixed this... some features were popular cars but most are based on on-track achievements.
@ToneDiez @FrancescoDiGiuseppe I get what you are saying, and in the end the Deltawing was racing "unclassified" at Le Mans (Garage 57) and Petit. Interestingly, the car is based on the least successful LMP1 of the recent decade (Aston Martin) and a rather simple concept that halving the weight and the power is less consumptive. The Deltawing is evolutionary and very interestingly designed, but let's not get carried away. I'd love to see a 500kg class with fairly open regs to continue enticing new designs and different approaches. Nissan threw money and a motor at it, but it is NOT a Nissan...
I disagree with you about the M3 DTM because it is a spec car. Every DTM is a Dallara chassis with spec suspension and a standardized engine. How many people know there are only two engine manufacturers in the DTM?
Good thoughts, you make a sound argument throughout and do so respectfully. Cheers.
I understand that the design of the Deltawing is revolutionary and makes serious waves in the racing world, but like I said, it's one for the future. Just because this was its debut year doesn't make it the best competition car of the year, especially when it only entered 2 races.
It's like Tom Brady playing the 2 best games of the season at the beginning of the year, and then getting injured for the rest of the season...you wouldn't make him the NFL MVP based on 2 performances. (I don't really watch American football though.)
My point is, there were other cars that did much more as far as competing in entire seasons and winning them emphatically. And like many others said, I have no idea why the NEMO Evo isn't on here.
These Speedhunter polls have gone the way of the Oscars and Grammys, everyone knows it's basically just a popularity contest with very loose connections to actual performance/talent of the nominees.
@JDMized @ToneDiez it was never going to win. It was not designed to win. It was a road car based (loosely) engine. Rules driven by the ACO. It was roughly an LMP2 class car and in that context it did bloody well despite being attacked by Porsche and a Toyota. Does make you realise, where is the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in this though.....
@ToneDiez Well said.
@RodChong You are comparing apple and oranges, and maybe you find it appropriate, after all you run the orchestra.
On the other hand, very few people take you seriously, and this poll's results show you that.
While most of the cars you posted deserve to be mentioned (because particular and exciting in their own way) most of them do not belong in the same category.
@JDMized That's the spirit of Speedhunters :> We mix and merge the underground and the mainstream. Events, car features you name it.
@RodChong @Brisevo @DomoKun if it is so successful at standing out (it obviously is not arguing that) put it in as a tuner or demo car, because as a car in "competition" it flounders, there was an 86 dino just shot under the 1 minute barrier at tsukuba already, more developed, faster and a far side more competitive than the fr-s in question.
now as i have mentioned i see no problem in catering to your audience, but so far that audience thinks that the inclusion of that same car that was so popular in mere page views has no place on this list
@Brisevo @DomoKun Like I said it was a mix of elements. For us these awards are also (but not completely) about reflecting cars which were popular with the audience this year. When you look through most of the categories you will mostly see cars which were big hits this year.
So we wanted to include a few machines yes. The Evasive car was a simple build yes, but we also though it was original and well executed for what it was. Having seen the car in person, it stands out amongst all the ZN6-ZC6 builds which have been done this year.