With the 2016 motorsport season well and truly winding down, we take a look at 12 of the most dramatic and exciting moments of the year.
Hail at the Nordschleife
This year’s Nurburgring 24 Hours was brought to a standstill after just 40 minutes of racing after a heavy rainstorm caused multiple crashes at the Aremberg section of the track.
The rain soon turned into a hailstorm, making the track so slippery that some of the cars couldn’t even move on the icy marbles that now covered the surface. Unsurprisingly the race was red-flagged and didn’t get going again for nearly four hours, but it made for an astonishing sight.
Safety Car Drifting at Le Mans
Qualifying for this years Le Mans 24 Hours was wet. Really wet. Safety car driver and four-time Le Mans winner Yannick Dalmas found out just how slippery the track was during a reconnaissance lap with this big sideways moment.
Eriksson’s ridiculous overtake
Arguably the overtake of the year, World Rallycross driver Kevin Eriksson left jaws on the floor around the world with this absolutely sensational overtake at the start in Germany. He went on to win the race, his first in WorldRX. Not bad!
Last lap heartbreak for Toyota
Toyota had already finished second at Le Mans on four occasions without a win, and after surviving an epic three-way dogfight for the lead looked set to finally break their duck in 2016. Then came the unthinkable: a breakdown on the last lap.
It set the scene for one of the most emotional finishes to a motor race there’s ever likely to be, and the displays of sportsmanship up and down the pit lane showed just why the WEC is such a popular championship.
Verstappen’s overtakes at Interlagos
It’s pretty much impossible to describe Verstappen’s performance in the Brazilian Grand Prix without resorting to some sort of cliché. That’s kind of a good thing though, because this onboard footage of his overtakes pretty much speaks for itself.
Final laps at Texas in IndyCar
The 100th Indy 500 got all the headlines and whilst it had a thrilling and unexpected finish, it perhaps lacked the out-and-out balls-out battle many were hoping for. That was left to the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway later in the year.
Rain meant the race was stopped after 71 laps was postponed for several weeks, but it was worth the wait. The final laps saw a four-way fight for the win between James Hinchcliffe, Graham Rahal, Tony Kanaan and Simon Pagenaud, who gave us one of the closest and most exciting conclusions to a race all year.
Sirotkin vs Giovinazzi in Malaysia, GP2
Awesome racing is pretty much guaranteed to happen in GP2, the main feeder series to F1. In the Malaysian feature race title contender Antonio Giovinazzi put an incredible move on Sergey Sirotkin to take the lead in a thrilling battle. It’s made all the better by the commentary of 2012 GP2 champion Davide Valsecchi, who you just can’t fail to love.
Norris vs Defourny at the Red Bull Ring, FR2.0 Eurocup
A little further down the ladder is the Formula Renault 2.0 Eurocup. At the Red Bull Ring Lando Norris and Max Defourny had an enormous scrap for the lead which, unusually for a junior series, was incredibly clean and fair.
Onboard a Ford GT40 at Spa
Racing in 2016 isn’t just restricted to modern cars – historic motorsport is booming in popularity at the moment, and the Spa 6 Hours is one of the most prestigious. Richard Meaden’s pole lap in a Ford GT40 features all the things you want from historic racing – incredible noise, lots of oversteer, and plenty of commitment. There’s also a couple of bum-clenching moments with traffic in there for good measure.
Lotus 79 visor cam at Laguna Seca
It’d be wrong to mention historic racing without an F1 clip, so here it is. Mario Andretti’s title winning Lotus 79 was given a good thrashing around the epic Laguna Seca circuit by historic racer Duncan Dayton at the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion event. Crank the volume up and enjoy this incredible visor cam video, made all the better by all the other old F1 cars on the track too. Heavenly.
Crazy NASCAR trucks finish at Mosport
Crazy stuff always happens in NASCAR, no matter which category it is, but this finish to a truck race at Mosport in Canada is one of the most incredible. It has everything: close finish? Check. Contact? Check. A post-race fight? You betcha.
Audi vs Porsche at the Nurburgring, WEC
The WEC has become known for its close racing and incredible battles, and this scrap between Audi’s André Lotterer and Porsche’s Neel Jani is a classic. No wonder Porsche snapped up Lotterer when Audi left the sport!