The Year in Racing 2016

John Schommer
Monday, December 26, 2016

In case you missed the weekly racing highlights brought to through Rear View Mirror every Monday, now is your chance to get caught up in one fell swoop. The Year In Racing is our annual wrap up of who won, who lost, and how it all went down.

 

This is going to take a while, so let’s do this!

 

Forza Racing Championship Season 1

It started out as what seemed like a sure win for Laige. The Frenchman had dominated the series thus far, and with many previous championships under his belt, he was a warrantable favorite to win the top prize of the Ford Focus RS.

 

However, the final race in the Grand Finals was anything but expected and turned out to not even be the final race. When b0x took the final win, with Laige just behind him, it set up a 1v1 shootout between Lightning and Laige that was an ending so perfect it could not even have been planned.

 

Laige would take the victory, but Lightning proved that nothing was written in stone about the FRC. In third place b0x could be seen as the most influential driver in the first season of the Forza Racing Championship.

 

 

Forza Racing Championship Season 2

Again after weeks of qualifying and weekly showdowns, the top drivers faced off for cash and prizes in the second season of the #ForzaRC. Throughout the second season we saw some new Gamertags in the mix and the final 16 included a couple of them. We also saw new tracks enter the mix, keeping racers on their proverbial toes.

 

If there are two things you can count on in the FRC, it’s Laige being at or near the top, and the importance of qualifying well for the showdown races. If you’re not at the front of the pack, working through a field of the best Forza drivers in the world is a high bar.

 

The final race pitted Lightning against Laige with the championship up in the air until the final lap. Lightning led the race doing all he could to earn the win, while Laige had to battle his way to finish fourth to maintain the points lead. Each did their part for a virtual replay of the season one podium this time with DaveySkills on the third step.

 

 

Formula 1

Even if you don’t follow Formula One you probably know of the Mercedes-Benz dominance over the year. Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg faced off with little love for each other and their fight for the championship went right down to the wire. Along the way, they hardly said more than a few words to each other, and even took each other out of one race.

 

Records of all kinds were broken by Mercedes, by Hamilton, and by the young Red Bull Driver Max Verstappen. Rosberg would edge out Hamilton for the 2016 crown, and then shortly after, surprisingly announced his retirement. Verstappen would be the youngest driver to ever win in F1 and make his presence known with 78 total overtakes. That’s more than any other driver in 2016.

 

This recap of the 2016 F1 season in 8-bit style has got to be seen and tells the story of the season with more depth.

 

 

NASCAR

So many races in a NASCAR season and it all comes down to the Chase. Who makes the top 16, who gets whittled down to the round of twelve, then eight, then four, then one lone champion among a heap of disappointed competitors. The final four to face off after getting a win and enough points to qualify to the end were Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Jimmie Johnson, and Joey Logano.

 

It takes more than just a good driver, it takes more than luck, it takes a coordinated effort with every team member getting it right to win. Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports obviously have what it takes, and when Johnson took his seventh Sprint Cup Championship this year, it was one for the record books. Johnson is now in an elite group with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most championships ever.

 

If the round and round racing of NASCAR doesn’t do it for you, this season recap that has the drivers doing anything but driving should give you more details on how the series went as well as a few laughs.

 

 

IndyCar

Penske racing celebrated 50 years of racing in 2016, and part of the celebration was a showdown of their top two drivers facing off at the final race of the season in Sonoma. Simon Pagenaud had a strong season and entered the final race with a significant lead, but with double points on the line, teammate Will Power was within reach to take it away.

 

The 2016 season started off rough for Power, but with four wins under his belt, he climbed within striking distance. When the Sonoma race started the top four spots were held by Penske drivers with Power and Pagenaud only a row apart.

 

The race went Pagenaud’s way, as Power languished many laps back. Pagenaud adds an IndyCar championship to his long resume of winning in nearly every type of race car he has set foot in.

 

 

V8 Supercars

Racing in Australia is intense. The fans are voracious and the rivalry between Holden and Ford is fiercely contested. Whether it’s on the city courses or the tracks of Australia and New Zealand, these V8 Supercars are aptly named and the drivers are heroes throughout the land Down Under.

 

Wherever Red Bull Racing gets involved, success soon follows and this year in the championship series it was no different. Shane Van Gisbergan topped the charts with eight wins that would carry him to victory in 2016, his first. Right behind him, is teammate and multi-year champion Jamie Whincup who had seven wins.

 

Holden’s captured the top four spots in the championship followed by Scott McLaughlin in his Volvo S60.

 

Take a look at some of the greatest crashes of 2016 in this compilation video.

 

 

Formula Drift

Proving that consistency is more important than winning, Chris Forsberg was crowned the winner of the 2016 Formula Drift season. Forsberg didn’t win a single event this year on his way to what would be his third FD Championship.

 

At the “House of Drift” in Irwindale, the home of the season finale event “The O’Reilly Auto Parts “Title Fight” sponsored by Gumout at the Formula DRIFT Championship presented by BlackVue Dash Cameras” might possibly be the longest event name in motorsport history. Forsberg would finish ninth. Matt Field, Dai Yoshihara and Ryan Tuerck stood on the podium.

 

Toyota won the manufacturers title, and Falken won in the tire championship, showing just how many drivers are successful behind the wheels of those cars and the rubber that gets the most punishment.

 

Take a look at Pacific Northwest video master LORENinHD’s season compilation video.

 

 

IMSA

For this racing writer, sports car racing is at the heart of what drives my love of racing. Multi-class events make for constant passing. Top drivers mix it up with top amateurs, and cars that you can actually buy in production form, face off on the historic tracks of America. Plus endurance events that put not only the cars and drivers to the test but your ability as a fan to follow races as long as 24-hours.

 

This year Honda opened the year with back to back wins at Daytona and Sebring and finished second at the Petit Le Mans. It was enough for the manufacturers championship for the Honda Ligier JS P2.

 

In GT Le Mans, Corvette Racing earned a consecutive victory in the GTLM class. Last year it was the #3 Corvette’s turn, this year it was the #4 driven by Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin.

 

Proving how competitive the GT Daytona class is, the top honors were shared by Audi, Magnus Racing, and Team Seattle/Alex Job Racing.

 

In Prototype Challenge it was PR1/Mathiason Motorsports who won. All these classes are difficult to follow but the racing is the most exciting, if you ask me, and worth the effort.

 

Take a look at the newcomers hitting the series in 2017. Things just got really interesting.

 

 

WEC

The World Endurance Championship takes sports car racing a notch higher and of course includes the 24-Hours of Le Mans. Few would argue that the battle for pride among the best drivers in the world and the right to racing provenance among manufacturers is found in this series.

 

Porsche, the winningest brand in racing history, proved itself again in 2016 by winning its second WEC series since returning to the motorsport. The battle between Porsche, Audi, and Toyota had turns in every team’s direction over the season. Audi took a dramatic 1-2 finish at Bahrain that stole second place from Toyota in the end.

 

Sadly, Audi said good-bye to this era of the WEC with the end of the 2016 season.

 

 

WRC

Whether it was the driving prowess of Sébastien Ogier, the keen co-driving of teammate Julien Ingrassia or the dominance of the Volkswagen Polo WRC, VW takes their fourth manufacturers title, and Ogier his fourth as a driver. The latter was set in stone with two events remaining in the season.

 

The Volkswagen works team leaves the WRC in 2016 as Toyota re-enters. Ogier moved to M-Sport to drive a Ford and we will see if his success can cross brands. Hyundai made a mark in 2016 and there is still the possibility of a privately funded VW team. It will all flesh out soon before the first race of 2017 in Monte Carlo.

 

Get a look at how the WRC has evolved since 1973 is this awesome video.

 

 

DTM

The battles between European drivers and car makers in the fastest racing second to Formula One, delivered highlight reels from BMW, Mercedes, and manufacturer title winner, Audi. Driver’s from each marque made their mark on the series, but it was Marco Wittman and his BMW that took the driver’s championship in 2016, by no more than four points.

 

With five wins, Edoardo Mortara and his Audi contributed to the manufacturer title win for Audi and nearly won the driver’s championship to boot. The driver’s championship was decided in the final event at Hockenheimring where Mortara dominated on Saturday to get three of his five season wins. Sunday’s drive by Wittman is what took home the title though.

 

Take a look at the top ten moments of DTM in 2016.

 

 

And that my Forza friends and racing fans is the year in racing. In 2017 Rear View Mirror is going to try and follow World Rally Cross as well as Red Bull Global Rally Cross. If you have other ideas about what RVM should cover to feed your racing need to know, post about it in the RVM Thread.

 

Now I get to say that cliché yet eternally applicable “See you next year!” I can’t wait to share it with you.