As we start proceedings here on Speedhunters for 2013, here’s a final round-up of our 2012 Awards with a resumé of all the winners across the awards categories. Looking at the results, it’s the perfect summary of the year: your pick of the best of Speedhunters during 2012, which includes styles, disciplines and events from around the world. Less something for everyone and more, we hope, everything for you, the Speedhunters reader.
It seems appropriate to kick off proceedings with the picture you voted as Photo Of The Year here on Speedhunters. Larry Chen’s axle-level remote work produced this stunning shot of MadMike’s smoking’ rotary Mazda powering around Gatebil’s Summer home at Rudskogen Motorsenter – a place that featured strongly across a number of the polls.
Overall, Retro Car was one of the most evenly spread categories in terms of voting, with almost all the cars getting a healthy number of votes – showing just how many great classics were on show in the category. And it was a very tough choice: Porsches, BMW racers, old school rally cars, classic Japanese metal… What to choose? Surprisingly, there was one car that just edged away. Unsurprisingly, that car was the phenomenal 1,000hp E21 Street Sweeper. Another Gatebil special, once again proving just what a special place Norway is. The BMW then went on to challenge the winners of all our other car categories for the overall Car Of The Year award and again emerged triumphant, just edging the Rocket Bunny FR-S.
We had kicked off our 2012 Awards with the vote for the New Car Of The Year: a swathe of cars that have either just been released, are on general sale or are now into their first full year of manufacturer. As usual this included a wide range of options to choose from: would it be an exclusive supercar, a mass-market hot hatch or a manufacturer’s range-topper? Okay, perhaps it was only ever going to be the ZN6/ZC6, the rear-wheel drive sportscar for the modern-era masses.
In Oldtimer Car Of The Year, cars of the ’70s and earlier went head to head: an amazing collection of new takes on old forms, out-there dragster reinventions and classic customs. Three cars emerged head and shoulders above the others. The carbon-fibre Rocky Auto S30 and Magnus Walker’s 911 Outlaw hoovered up 30 percent of the total vote between them, but it was another reinterpretation of Weissach’s finest that you voted as number one: the effortless style of the Singer 911. There’s obviously plenty of life left in this timeless classic Oldtimer, whose lines just get better and better as the years pass – especially if given the smallest of styling tweaks.
Street Car also highlighted a hugely eclectic mix of styles, with everything from Euro and hot hatch to JDM and rust available to choose from. The Late Night carbon-fibre Audi R8 was third, and Jon Sibal’s awesome Dodge Challenger second, but the Canyon-Carving Lotus picked up one in five of your votes to end up in the top spot. This heavily modified, no-compromise Elise is as light as a feather but packs more power than the Death Star.
This was always going to be a hard-fought category: a cabal of crazy cars that we came across during 2012 representing some of the most extreme builds on the planet. Four cars edged away from the others: Kenneth Alms’s all-sideways-all-the-time Audi A4, the Rat Drag Nova and a second Gatebil machine, the Black Smoke Mercedes Drift Wagon, all proved popular. But up front? The utterly crazy street-legal Porsche 962: a Group C prototype sportscar that somehow manages to be just about legal for the road – in Japan at least.
What an amazing selection of cars we had in this category, displaying the cream of the high-end global tuning scene: every one was a stunning machine. The beautiful Liberty Walk Ferrari F40 was naturally a popular choice, garnering 20 per cent of the vote. In the top spot though was the Rocket Bunny FR-S, showing what CAD-powered know-how and race-bred aero could do to the ZN6. Is Miura-san’s wide-body, wild-looking street racer the ultimate expression of how a ZN6 is supposed to look?
Our new readers’ rides programme, #FeatureThis, has been going from strength to strength, and has turned the spotlight on some of your cars from around the world. Romas’ G-nosed Datsun S30 is an immaculate Z based in Lithuania – and a car appreciated by all of you out there, with one in four votes going the way of this Baltic beauty.
Where #FeatureThis puts your cars in the spotlight, #IATS positions your photography front and centre. You held up Jordan Adkins’ street shot of this RWB Porsche as the pick of a great bunch. Keep those submissions rolling in – and next year it could be your shot here!
The Competition Car award comprised some of the fastest, most innovative and most smoking cars on the planet, and provided a battle in the voting as tough as any on track. A massive discussion in the comments showed the passion and knowledge of the Speedhunters audience: did the drift cars deserve to be put against the might of F1 and Le Mans winners? Why wasn’t car X included? Why was car Y included?! Was the Deltawing showing racing’s future or just a dead-end technical exercise? It’s one of those conversations that we actually love having in real life: many Speedhunting evenings have been spent discussing the various merits of cars. Looking at the votes you cast is the best way to resolve this, and we’re very pleased to see that the Deltawing did come out on top – and then held its own in the battle for Car Of The Year as well.
This vote caused an explosion in the comments, just like Competition Car. Impassioned and articulate discussions in the comments continued throughout the voting period, but in the end it would only ever be the numbers that would count. Tanner Foust fans got behind their man, perhaps to the dismay of the traditionalists, but in the end the epically talented Sebastian Loeb took a narrow victory with just – deep intake of breath – 20 more votes than Foust. It was that close. Daigo Saito represented the drifters in third, with the F1 guys also strongly represented in your voting.
Moving over to where those guys compete, it was that forest in the Ardennes that focussed your support for Motorsports Event Of The Year. The Nürburgring 24 Hours is perhaps the most challenging, most unbelievable race on the planet. Too many cars, too narrow a track, too little light. But also too much awesome. It’s no wonder that it strikes a chord with you as much as it does the Speedhunters crew. Add in the other top-rated events – Pikes Peak, World Time Attack Challenge, F1 in Brazil and Formula D Irwindale – and as far as racing events go you have five perfect weekends to add to your must-see bucket list.
Tokyo Auto Salon and Essen featured well in this vote, but SEMA was the winner by a clear margin. Vegas’ SEMA show is an overwhelming feast for the eyes: the ultimate collection of tuned, custom and general automotive insanity.
Put together cars on the edge of traction, a racing track and thousands of passionate car fans and you’re always in for a treat. Be it the old-school charm of the Silverstone Classic or the mind-boggling overload of the Goodwood Festival Of Speed, there’s no better environment for watching cars than in their natural outdoor environment. Throw in Norwegian hospitality and friendliness, many thousands of horsepower and an achingly beautiful location and you have Gatebil. Perhaps the definition of what a car festival should be.
On a regular day car parks don’t normally provide a lot of excitement. But unleash the car clubs and they transform into little patches of automotive concrete heaven. Previously impromptu club gatherings have now achieved global status, with meets like 7s Day, DUMPd and Players gaining worldwide kudos. The voting was very evenly spread across all the entries in Meets Of The Year, but SoCal’s stunning Cars & Coffee meet pushed ahead.
This category attracted twice as many votes as any other award this year: Hungary’s Nino Karotta story on the ground-up restoration of his Datsun S30 was the project that resonated the most with you, winning almost 30 percent of the vote. Who wouldn’t want this car? The only one to come close was Nigel Petrie’s out-there Toyota Hilux build, though all the representatives were impressive.
This was another poll where there was a little bit of apples and oranges going on, making it a difficult selection to vote on – but again, it’s the only realistic option to take without splitting polls up into dozens of unmanageable sub-categories. The specialism of Option, the hardcore tech of Racecar Engineering or perennial crowd-pleaser Top Gear? In the end TG was knocked back to third by the supporters of NZ Performance Car, with the purist art of Rodder’s Journal taking the majority of votes.
Ken Block got in on the act here, but in the end it was the underground who pushed KDF back to the top of the vote, overtaking Gymnkhana 5. It’s a simple message, and one we can all understand: Keep Drifting Fun. Will Roegge and Joshua Herron captured the essence of grassroots drifting in the States, a half-hour object lesson in the reckless and awesome. It’s the perfect way to ease in the new year.