If you’ve read Part One of the EngageSportMode Awards you’ll be ready for Part Two. Well, here it is. Whilst the first instalment concentrated on the metal that made us take notice in 2013, this section concentrates on the people who we feel deserve recognition from their efforts in the last year.
Man of the Year – Sebastian Vettel and Sébastien Ogier
Motorsport in 2013 was dominated by a tale of two Sebastians (or variations thereof) with both of the top FIA titles going to such named people.
Vettel stamped his name in the Formula 1 history books with an exceptionally crushing Championship drive, breaking and rewriting various records on the way. His run of nine straight victories from Belgium to Brazil cemented his position as one of the greatest drivers ever.
Detractors will point to the “Multi 21” incident in Malaysia, which saw Vettel disobey team orders to pass Mark Webber for the lead of the race, as a smear on his character. The tension in the Red Bull garage festered all season from thereon, and was only alleviated by the announcement that Webber would be leaving to race sportscars for Porsche in 2014. Such an overwhelming display of dominance by Vettel led some to question whether his success was making the sport boring, with some fans turning to booing him on the podium in later races. As to whether Vettel’s wins make the sport boring probably depends on how partisan a fan you may be. Whatever your view, you cannot overlook his achievements, and in becoming a four time World Champion Vettel’s talent is unquestionable. Whether he enjoys such an easy ride in 2014 with new regulations and engines remains to be seen, but only a fool would write him out of contention for a fifth straight title though.
Whilst Vettel romped to his fourth title in a media frenzy, Sébastien Ogier was very quietly getting on with the business of picking up where Mr Loeb left off. The result was a Frenchman called Sébastien taking the World Rally Championship for the tenth year in a row.
Ogier had the supremely well-developed Volkswagen Polo R WRC car to drive him to victory, which was the machine to beat despite being in only its first full year of competition.
With only Citroën remaining as the other full-factory team for 2013, some may argue that Volkswagen and Ogier had the title in the bag from day one. But both team and driver still needed to survive the thousands of miles in competitive stages across the season to emerge victorious.
Hyundai’s entry for 2014 may prove to be the biggest challenge to Ogier and Volkswagen taking another championship, providing the i20 WRC proves quick out of the box. But after his stunning victory in last weekend’s Monte-Carlo Rally, he seems a fairly decent bet for a second title on the trot.
Vettel, Ogier, we salute you both for incredible and dominant wins in your respective disciplines in 2013.
EngageSportMode’s BTCC Driver of the Year – Adam Morgan
This award was, of course, picked by our very own BTCC Correspondent.
The 2013 season saw many notable performances and I find myself suffering the old cliché of ‘hard to pick a winner.’ I’m sure there will be many of you out there who believe the driver of the season is Andrew Jordan. It is hard to argue against you; he won the Drivers’ Championship for the first time ever, as well as the Independent Drivers’ Trophy. People often say that over the course of a season, the best man or team wins and this year it was Jordan. I also think that Colin Turkington deserves a special mention. He came back to the BTCC after 4 years away and did a sterling job in a new BMW to finish second in the Independents’ Trophy and fifth overall.
However, my driver of the 2013 BTCC season is Adam Morgan. He raced with fantastic skill, desire and enterprise throughout the season and finished a highly credible seventh in the overall standings, as well as taking third in the Independents’ Trophy. Another reason for choosing Morgan is that he made a fantastic improvement on his 2012 efforts. In 2012, Morgan’s best finish was 8th on one occasion and in the first six races of this season he didn’t even finish outside the top six.
Morgan’s seventh place finish in the standings saw him finish with 233 points, compared to 50 points and 19th place the previous season. Every time Morgan finished a race this season, 26 times out of 30, he finished 12th or higher and therefore in the points. Admittedly, Morgan’s performances dropped off slightly after Knockhill, but for me there is little doubt, he is my ESM BTCC Driver of the Season.
Tweeter of the Year – Multiple Winners
If you follow EngageSportMode on Twitter you’ll know we like to tweet and retweet a wide range of Twitterers. If you’re not following us, well, now’s the perfect time to go do so! We’ve also met a wide range of great people on there, who really put the social into social media and help make the motoring news world a bit more human.
Unlike last year when it was impossible not to pick Taki Inoue, this time was a lot tougher. So, in short, we couldn’t pick. Instead, we’d just like to say a massive thank you to all our friends and followers on Twitter. You know who you all are, and you’re all awesome! As a reward, here’s a very sleep whippet:
Blog of the Year – Alex Thomson http://alelbuth.com
There is an absolute wealth of bloggers and writers out there who provide well-written insight and opinion on all types of motoring and motorsport. So many of them don’t get the recognition they undoubtedly deserve, and ESM could spend hours listing them right here.
But Alex’s blog stood out for a few simple reasons; in-depth commentary and coverage, along with a sprinkling of notable puns, makes engaging reading for F1 novices and experts alike. Add in a design that places focus squarely on the written content, and you have an immensely readable blog that offers a real alternative to mainstream F1 content If EngageSportMode.com made millions in revenue, we’d be offering Alex a dealt to be our dedicated F1 correspondent.
On a completely different theme, perhaps the most important blog in 2013 was this one written by our Editor’s Father about his life after a major stroke. For anyone who wants a first hand account of what a massive impact such an illness can have, I cannot recommend it more. It might not be motoring, but sometimes there are bigger things to recognise.
ESM Contributor of the Year – Hieldsy, BTCC Correspondent
Put simply, despite having received his new born daughter into the world only a few days beforehand, Hieldsy still made time to watch Round 9 of the BTCC from Silverstone to deliver his trademark race weekend review. His level of commitment to BTCC reporting is, quite frankly, epic and his dedication is what makes touring cars such a big part of what ESM does.
But there’s also a massive thank you to everyone else who wrote words to be included on this site in the past twelve months. Without those contributions, this would just be the realm of one man ranting about cars. Instead, it’s a whole bunch of people ranting about cars and motorsport!
Driving Song of the Year – Lana Del Rey vs Cedric Gervais ‘Summertime Sadness’
I challenge you to listen to it and not have even a slight pang of wanting to jump into a convertible Ford Mustang and cruise the Californian coast. One song alway guaranteed to result in the volume getting cranked just that little bit louder.
And that is it for ESM’s 2013 awards. With just over 11 months of 2014 left we best get busy writing about the cars and people in with contention of taking a top prize in next year’s ceremony!