2012 Speedhunters Awards: The Winners

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.

Photo Of The Year

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.

Retro Car Of The Year and the Speedhunters Car Of The Year 2012

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.

New Car Of The Year

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.

Oldtimer Car Of The Year

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 Of The Year

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.

Mentalist Car Of The Year

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.

Show Demo Car Of The Year

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?

#FeatureThis Car of The Year

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!

Competition Car Of The Year

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.

Driver Of The Year

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.

Motorsports Event Of The Year

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.

Show Of The Year

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.

Festival Of The Year

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.

Meet Of The Year

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.

Builder Of The Year

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.

Magazine Of The Year

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.

Video Of The Year

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.
Jonathan Moore

Speedhunters Awards 2012



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Congrats to all the winners, and the nominees as well!


Good ! Nice to see Loeb had the title "Driver of the year". And I don't say that because I'm French (Btw, I didn't vote for him ^^), but because I think he just represents the passion of racing. He stopped rally when he was not enjoying it as much as he did, instead of trying to continue for money or whatever other reason (Like many F1 drivers do and eventually lose a bit of their honor). He will stay a legend for years and now moves on to something else, still doing what he loves.
Great way to go, Mr Loeb ! :p


Love how KDF beat the commercial giant that is Ken Block - shows the power of the underground community


This is the only competition, the deltawing will ever win :D


@JoeWhaler because NOS energy drinks are not a commercial giant, right...?


2012 was fantastic on Speedhunters, it was always a pleasure to read your stories/shootings/events... Happy 2013 to the SH Team!


Many thanks from the SEMA team - our fantastic industry comes together to make the show great each year. Everyone can share in this recognition!


So what racecar does the FR-S bodykit resemble? Cause to me it just looks like standard Japanese bolt on bodykit styling. Stop hyping it.


@Option13 Once again, compare with pictures from the stock 86, there's been a lot of work on this. Stop pretending you could obtain the same result by tinkering with bolts. It's just more than this.


Read my comment again and tell me what your response had to do with it. The bodykit doesn't resemble any racecar.


@Option13 "Cause to me it just looks like standard Japanese bolt on bodykit styling. Stop hyping it."
To me at first reading, it sounds much like you were thinking that this is some basic customization. And I strongly disagree with that. But by the way, why should it resemble any racecar ? It's said "Street racer", not "Street-legal racecar".


@wtfdriftfanboyz  @JoeWhaler Isn't hating on Ken Block getting a little old now? Give it a rest.


@Option13 the way that the bottom part of the tires are left open is a design queue you see on many GT and Touring cars today.
The design of the kit is relavively 'new' actually. More traditional body kit design would have a 'skirting board' running around the bottom of the car. The TRA Kyoto designs have done away with this. It's a fresh take on kit design.


@Aisakey "...showing what CAD-powered know-how and race-bred aero could do to the ZN6"


@PeterMacGillivray thank you Peter. Can you drop me an email: Rod at Speedhunters.com. We will have a winners package to send to the SEMA team.


@Aisakey  @Option13 Because it is just basic customization. It's a body kit. That's all it is. The fact that it was designed in CAD means absolutely nothing. Everything is designed in CAD nowadays; I'd be surprised if he hadn't used CAD to design it.


@Aisakey Missing the point. "race-bred aero". It's not race bred. There might be some design cues, but implying that any real race team would run a kit where function follows form is ridiculous.


@RodChong  @Option13 Plenty touring cars have cutouts around the fenders. Just not in front of the tires. Or such ridiculous little kicks at the end of the splitter and skirts. It's not race bred. Some may like it but race bred it is not.


Congrats Larry - fantastic shot!


@Dekro  @wtfdriftfanboyz  @JoeWhaler We'll stop hating when he starts winning rallies.


@wtfdriftfanboyz  @JoeWhaler 
last time i checked, nos hadn't posted anything about KDF. Ken block was plugging his video EVERYWHERE. Do you think NOS paid for Josh and Will's camerawork, gas, food, and time? Because i'll tell you right now that they didnt. KDF was the work of two guys with a passion and some cameras. GK5 was a high budget film backed by some of the biggest sponsors present in motorsports (monster, dc)


@cq_ Thank you :D


The Lotus is/was an exige shame what happened to it http://i.ytimg.com/vi/W1Sy7AeUSQk/0.jpg


@Yossarian I hate that you're probably right.


@schultzvia13  @wtfdriftfanboyz  @JoeWhaler ... and why do you think all these people helped out Mr. Block?  Is there not something to be said about the commercial success that is merely a byproduct of his hard work to begin with?


@schultzvia13  @wtfdriftfanboyz  @JoeWhaler ... and why do you think all these people helped out Mr. Block?  Is there not something to be said about the commercial success he's become... that this success and backing is merely a byproduct of his hard work to begin with?


How can someone win the builder of the year title without turning a single bolt? This prize is worthless from now on...Next year probably Jeremy Clarcson gonna win with his factory AMG Mercedes because he has more fans?


@Option13 fair enough. 'Race inspired' would have been more accurate.


@Visitor16 So Paul Bracq should not take credit for the E21 or the W100, since he only drew the shape, but didn't actually build'em? Ok, the analogy may be a bit far fetched, as in this story, it was only some guy digging out an old Z from the backyard... but I'm afraid you may have missed the effort Nino put into designing the Aardvark, the measuring, the calculations, spending night after night with millimeters, degrees, gramms...and I can vouch for Nino turning at least one bolt.


So happy that Keep Drifting Fun edged out Gymkhana 5! KDF had so much feel, so much obvious love poured into it, and such an awesome message...


BUILDER of the year!


@kicsmocs BUILDER of the year!




@Visitor16 My apologies, but I don't see your point.


@kicsmocs  @Visitor16   It's BUILDER of the year, not designer of the year.  Nigel spent lots of time with "the measuring, the calculations, spending night after night with millimeters, degrees, grams..."  plus he did ALL the welding and most of the other actual work as well.  THAT is a builder.  Don't get me wrong--I love Nino's car (actually more than Nigel's truck), and Nino was very involved in the build--but not enough to have won this category.


wish people would either start putting holes in the backs of their cars to mount these wings straight to the chassis, or just stop mounting them on the back face of the car. imagine a C6 corvette with a huge wing just bolted to the rear fascia, a fascia that you can bend with your hand and a few pounds of force. I bet that would be super helpful, having your wing flop around because all you care about is looking cool and not having the wing above the rear deck but behind it instead


@ComJive if you're referring to the GTR and FRS wings, they  attach to the rear bumper, which is attached to the chassis. doesn't get much less flop than that...


@AceAndrew2  @wtfdriftfanboyz  @JoeWhaler oh no, he's a huge success. I personally thing he's a pretty good driver and a generally awesome dude. But that's not what this contest was about. it was about the best video of the year. Will and Josh made an intensive, meaningful, high quality movie. Ken block did some donuts around some stuff in san francisco. i'm willing to bet that the large majority of people who voted for ken block's video didn't even watch the others, let alone a 30 minute film about drifting.


Congrats to the winers! :)


Congrats to the winers! :)


It was a h*ll of a year.


@ComJive did you forget the corvette uses fiber glass body panels...? Theres your "flop" for you.


@ComJive did you forget the corvette uses fiber glass body panels...? Theres your "flop" for you.


@ComJive did you forget the corvette uses fiber glass body panels...? Theres your "flop" for you.


@ComJive did you forget the corvette uses fiber glass body panels...? Theres your "flop" for you.