International Racing Driver of the Year presented by Pirelli
Open to professional racing drivers competing at an international level
In a championship as competitive as IndyCar, it was remarkable that Dixon managed to secure his sixth crown in 2020. Winning the first three races was crucial as Penske’s double champion Josef Newgarden put on a late charge, but the Chip Ganassi Racing star held firm to take the title by 16 points.
The Portuguese arrived at DS Techeetah with double champion Jean-Eric Vergne as his team-mate. But rather than settle in second place, da Costa was a phenomenon. A hat-trick of pole positions and race wins mid-season earned him a brilliant Formula E title.
It was another remarkable season for Formula 1’s benchmark driver. First he matched and then broke Michael Schumacher’s all-time wins record, then he helped Mercedes to a seventh consecutive constructors’ crown before continuing his march towards his seventh drivers’ title.
That F1 races in 2020 were often three-way fights between the two Mercedes drivers and Verstappen showed just how brilliant the Red Bull ace was. The Dutchman was miles ahead of the rest and was already clearly ready for a championship challenge…
International Racing Car of the Year
Open to racing cars competing in any class of circuit racing
In the final year of the DTM’s Class 1, Audi dominated. BMW managed just two wins from 18 races as Abt and Rosberg-run RS5s set the pace. Five wins from the last six races brought Rene Rast his third crown, over early pacesetter Nico Muller.
Such was the speed of the black-and-gold cars that DS Techeetah brushed the opposition aside. Four wins from 11 races meant the team wrapped up a second successive constructors’ title, doing so with a 77-point advantage over Nissan e.dams.
Many figures in the Formula 1 paddock believed the W11 was the team’s best car yet. It started the season with a pace advantage not seen since the 1990s, and clinched the constructors’ title with four rounds to spare.
It wasn’t exactly a new design, but the TS050 secured its Le Mans 24 Hours hat-trick in 2020. Not only that, but it also remained the car to beat in the World Endurance Championship despite success penalties designed to help the rival privateer teams.
International Rally Driver of the Year
Open to professional or semi-professional rally drivers in international events
Alongside six-time World Rally champion Sebastien Ogier at Toyota, Evans was incredibly consistent in 2020. He finished in the top four in six of the seven rallies, and only on the last did his bid to become the first British WRC champion since 2001 fall short.
The perennial WRC bridesmaid, Neuville started the season well with a victory on the Monte Carlo Rally. Things got away from the Belgian after that, but second places in Turkey and Italy kept Neuville – winner of more 2020 stages than anyone else – in mathematical title contention until the finale.
Having finally lost his crown in 2019, Ogier made the switch to Toyota to take the slot vacated by world champion Ott Tanak. Predictably, Ogier was immediately a factor at the front, winning round three in Mexico, and then a dramatic Monza finale to claim the title back.
As World Rally champion, he made a bold move in leaving Toyota and heading to Hyundai for 2020. Things did not start well, with an enormous accident on the Monte Carlo Rally in January. But Tanak bounced back and won his home event in Estonia as the truncated season restarted.
Rally Car of the Year
Open to cars competing in rallying from international to national level
It was always going to be tough for the M-Sport squad to take on the manufacturer teams of Hyundai and Toyota, but the Fiesta remained a solid performer. A highlight of the season was Teemu Suninen’s third place in Mexico.
The i20 won rallies with three different drivers – Thierry Neuville, Ott Tanak and Dani Sordo – in 2020. That was enough to clinch the South Korean marque the manufacturers’ title by five points, despite Toyota’s Sebastien Ogier winning the drivers’ crown.
Rally raids are among the most gruelling events, and the Mini Buggy had been a standout over the past couple of seasons. Carlos Sainz and Stephane Peterhansel took a Mini 1-3 on the Dakar Rally, split only by Nasser Al-Attiyah’s Toyota.
Toyota lost the manufacturers’ title to Hyundai, but edged out its rival on rally wins: four to three. Its quartet was split evenly between Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans, who ended up 1-2 in the drivers’ table at the end of the season.
British Competition Driver of the Year
Open to British drivers competing categories at international level
One of Toyota’s leading World Endurance drivers for several seasons, Conway again impressed during 2020. Sharing with Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, Conway probably should have won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but did get some consolation by securing the last LMP1 WEC title.
Norris continued his rise in 2020, increasing his profile in Esports during racing’s hiatus, then impressing with McLaren. He and Ferrari-bound team-mate Carlos Sainz were once again evenly matched and helped the squad narrowly win the fight for third place in the constructors’ standings.
The nuances of Formula E can be tricky to master, especially for someone with a flat-out nature, but Rowland won a race in his second full season and finished fifth in the standings. He was only one point behind Nissan e.dams team-mate and 2015-16 champion Sebastien Buemi.
Improvements from Williams for 2020 allowed Russell to get involved in more midfield battles than in his first F1 campaign. There were some stellar drives, and then came that eye-opening outing for Mercedes at the Sakhir Grand Prix, which he so nearly won.
Rider of the Year
Open to riders competing in any of MotoGP’s three categories or equivalent
In the absence of six-time champion Marc Marquez, Suzuki rider Mir was the most consistent campaigner in his sophomore year. The Spaniard’s haul of six podiums and European Grand Prix victory put him in command of the championship and he claimed the crown with a round to go.
Morbidelli was arguably the biggest surprise of 2020. Though his talent was never in doubt, his run of three victories on 2019-spec machinery vaulted him to lead Yamaha rider late in the season. With a bit more luck, the Italian could well have challenged harder for the world title.
The king of World Superbikes fended off a stiff challenge from series debutant Scott Redding on the Ducati to claim his sixth world title. A further 11 wins added to his tally put him one away from a century of WSBK victories, cementing him as the greatest Superbike rider ever.
Overcame an early-season shoulder injury to storm back into title contention late on with victory at Motorland Aragon, as well as three other podiums. Perhaps Rins would have been Suzuki’s first champion in 20 years without his early-season woes, but he more than proved that he is a frontrunning MotoGP rider.
Richard Mille Rookie of the Year
Open to professional drivers in their first season in their respective categories
It may have seemed strange to describe an ex-DTM champ and the veteran of 59 grands prix as a rookie, yet di Resta counted as just that in the 2019-20 World Endurance Championship. The Scot impressed in his first full season in LMP2, and took the title together with Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque.
This Australian had combined fantastic racecraft with pace to win the 2019 Formula Renault Eurocup crown, and he needed all those racing smarts in his rookie FIA F3 season in 2020. Piastri won a three-way final-race fight for the crown with Prema despite never qualifying on the front row.
Son of 2001 Rally Sweden winner Harri Rovanpera, the 2019 WRC2 Pro champion underlined his rising star status in his first full season in World Rally Car machinery. The Finn, who turned 20 in October, joined Sebastien Ogier and Elfyn Evans at Toyota and took his first podium and stage wins.
In 2020, Carlin got its cheerful, humble, maximum-attack Japanese successor to Takuma Sato. Red Bull and Honda protege Tsunoda was an utter star in his rookie F2 season, with four poles, three wins… and a graduation to F1 for 2021 with AlphaTauri.
National Driver of the Year
Open to drivers racing in the BTCC, British GT or UK drivers at FIA F3 level or equivalent
Keen missed out on the British GT title again, but remained the championship’s star performer in 2020. Despite an influx of young talent, the 37-year-old remained the benchmark. As well as his two wins alongside Adam Balon, Keen also set fastest lap in seven of the nine races in a Barwell-run Lamborghini.
Twelve wins from 16 races, 13 fastest laps, unbeaten in qualifying until the finale and a driving style that wrung every bit of performance – and more – out of the Porsche Carrera Cup GB machine. King was spectacular to watch and enjoyed incredible success in 2020, winning the title at a canter.
With the old BMR Subaru BTCC team effectively folding at the end of 2019, it was a risk for Sutton and mentor Warren Scott to transfer the BMR Engineering staff to Laser Tools Racing’s new Infiniti project. But Sutton drove the wheels off it, was the BTCC’s master overtaker, and was a deserving champion.
The old Turkington/WSR/BMW combination remained the one to beat in the BTCC, and the Northern Irishman only narrowly missed out on a fifth crown in 2020. As usual, he was the king of maximising the points while on heavy success ballast. He remained the classiest performer in the series.
Esports Driver of the Year presented by Motorsport Games
Open to competitors in top-level virtual motorsport competition
The 20-year-old British Red Bull competitor was crowned world champion in the Porsche Esports Supercup in 2020. Battling off some of the world’s top drivers on the iRacing platform, his victory was made even more impressive by the margin over 2019 champion Josh Rogers.
Dutch ex-real-life Formula 4 ace Opmeer won the 2020 F1 Esports title with several dominant performances. He also crossed over into other platforms, most notably as part of the Veloce Esports entry that finished fifth in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual.
Despite conceding his Porsche title, the Australian Coanda Simsport driver had another impressive year. Rogers was part of the winning GT class line-up in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual. He also had impressive performances in Formula E’s Race at Home challenge and narrowly lost the Supercars Eseries.
It was a huge year for Williams Esports, and Wisniewski was a pivotal figure in the team’s success. Overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans Virtual – with team-mates Louis Deletraz, Raffaele Marciello and Kuba Brzezinski – was probably the highlight of an impressive 2020.
Moment of the Year presented by Marelli
The best of the standout moments from international motorsport
The 2020 MotoGP season was full of shocks, and any number of moments could easily have been contenders. But rookie Brad Binder’s sensational run to give KTM its first series victory in just his third race in the Czech Grand Prix was our pick.
Despite being overlooked for a Formula 1 drive and then landing in backmarker Formula E machinery, when Antonio Felix da Costa crushed his electric rivals in Berlin, he thanked everyone who had played a part in his career.
Modern F1 teams and cars are so reliable that shock results are now few and far between. But drama, notably Lewis Hamilton’s penalty for coming in when the pitlane was closed, gave Pierre Gasly a chance he took brilliantly at Monza.
Hamilton had been closing on Michael Schumacher’s various F1 records in recent years, and in the Portuguese GP he took one of the most important. Hamilton’s victory was the Briton’s 92nd win, breaking the record set by Schuey in 2006.