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PMW AWARDS: The 2017 winners are in!

The results of the 2017 Professional MotorSport World Expo awards are in! This year’s event saw a fantastically wide variety of motorsport achievements celebrated in style.

UK-based World Rally team M-Sport were the evening’s biggest winner, picking up the Race Car of the Year and Motorsport Engineer of the Year accolades. The awards were collected by Gary Chandler, test engineer at M-Sport. Another bumper year for new race car debuts, M-Sport’s 2017 Fiesta WRC fought off extremely stiff competition in the Race Car of the Year category from the multi-race winning Audi RS3 LMS TCR, the IMSA dominating Cadillac DPI-V.R., Porsche’s all-new 911 RSR and the Lexus LS500 GT500.

The WRC car crafted by M-Sport found favour with the judges due to the small Cumbrian teams independence from factory support, in addition to the incredibly strong, consistent performances of the car, out on some of the most challenging stages on the planet.

In addition to the incredibly strong car, the team snagged the services of four-time WRC champion Sebastian Ogier. Alongside talented youngsters Ott Tanak and factory-backed privateer Elfyn Evans, the Fiesta WRC has claimed four outright victories, several podiums and multiple points scoring finishes to give M-Sport the 2017 WRC Drivers and Teams titles, beating the Citroën, Hyundai and Toyota factory efforts.

M-Sport’s second award came in the Motorsport Engineer of the Year category, with its head of rally Engineering, Chris Williams taking top honours ahead of Ludo Lacroix, competition director of Virgin Australia Supercars front-runners DJR Team Penske. Abt Sportsline’s technical director Franco Chiocchetti, Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser vice president of Motorsport and GT cars Porsche, Carl Faux, lead engineer at Team B.M.R, and the designer of the unique NGTC Subaru Levorg, which took Ash Sutton to the 2017 BTCC driver’s title.

The 23-strong judging panel were more than impressed with the way that Williams's design took on manufacturers with considerably more budget than that of the independent team. Williams oversaw every aspect of the car's development by M-Sport, from the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine, co-developed with Ford, to the transmission and to the completely in-house fabricated shell. 

Strong performances from a number of teams, in a diverse range of championships in 2017 meant that the Motorsport Team of the Year category once again served up a shortlist that was anything but short. With over twenty entries on the list’s first draft, it was the heroes of the 2017 running of Le Mans, Jackie Chan DC Racing, who emerged victorious ahead of DJR Team Penske, Abt Sportsline, J.A.S. Motorsport, Renault e.Dams, and PSRX Volkswagen Sweden.

Jackie Chan DC Racing’s achieved several firsts at the WEC’s flagship event. Taking full advantage of a diminished LMP1 entry, and its partnership with Britain’s Jota Sport, the team became the first LMP2 team to lead laps at Le Mans, and despite losing the lead with a little over one hour left, Jackie Chan DC Racing became the first Chinese team to win its class at Le Mans. Co-owned between Asian Le Mans Champion David Cheng and actor Jackie Chan, the team has also taken (to date) two further victories at Spa and the Nurburgring to amass a comfortable lead in both Endurance Trophy championships for team, and driver.

The German supplier Bosch took top honours in the bumper-sized Motorsport Technology of the Year for its all-new CAS-M3 Collision Avoidance System. With a number of crash protection orientated devices entered for 2017, such as Motordrive’s MD-10 seat, DJR Team Penske’s leg protection tray, as well as Toyota and the FIA’s jointly-developed THUMS project, there was a strong driver safety theme. Other entries in to the category included ZF’s Formula 1 dampers, BMW’s Topometric 3D digitization cell, and Stratasys’ FDM Nylon 12CF material; as used on the McLaren MCL32 this season. However, it was Bosch who emerged victorious. Its device provides real time visualization and warns the driver about approaching or overtaking cars via intuitive marking of the cars on the display. It helps preventing the most common causes of collisions and gives drivers the chance to focus on the track.

In other categories, the Race Series of Year title went to the all-electric Formula E championship, in a line-up featuring global heavyweights such as the SRO Group’s Blancpain Endurance Series, America’s IMSA Weathertech United Sports Cars, Australia’s Virgin Supercars, the FIA’s World Rallycross Championship and the immensely popular TCR International Series.

The Powertrain Innovation of the Year award went to Mercedes-Benz AMG Petronas team, for its W08 EQ Power+ 2017 Formula 1 power unit. Mercedes-AMG units have truly dominated the hybrid era but nevertheless, the team has continued to work on and refine the engine and has now recorded a thermal efficiency in excess of 50%, essentially meaning the unit makes more power than waste energy. The W08 took on complete engines from Cadillac and ECR in America’s IMSA series, Gibson Technology in LMP2, KTM in MotoGP, and Mahindra and Magnetti Marelli in Formula E. Rohm Semiconductor’s SiC diode, also used in Formula E, rounded out the categories entries.

California’s Thermal Club took top honours in the Motorsport Facility of the Year, whilst a dramatic running of the 2017 Singapore GP, saw Marina Bay run the Palm Springs facility very close in the voting. Other entries in the category included China’s Speedpark Ningbo, the recently rejuvenated Martinsville NASCAR facility, Portugal’s Circuito Internacional de Villa Real, and the new for 2017 Red Hook street circuit in Brooklyn.

The now familiar Young Rally Driver of the Year award was collected by Ewan Tindall. Highly praised by the judges for displaying a maturity and approachability, both in and out of the car, that singled Tindall out as a real future prospect for the sport of Rallying. Not only consistent, but also very quick, Tindall has taken the crown in both the 2017 J1000 Ecosse and 2017 Kick Energy Formula 1000 rally championships.

Introduced for 2016, and back once again, is the Outstanding Contribution to Motorsport category, which was won by last year’s runner-up, birthday boy, charismatic owner and namesake of Dallara; Giampaolo Dallara. One of the most prominent figures in global motorsport, the Dallara name is known across the world for its participation in a staggering long list of disciplines including Formula 1, Formula 2 and 3, Indycar, Indy Lights, Formula E, LMP2, IMSA DPI, World Series 3.5, Super Formula and more. As a result, Dallara has built a reputation for building and supplying some of the finest single-seaters available. Sadly, for us, Dallara was not only celebrating his 81st birthday on the day of Awards ceremony, but also launching the first ever Dallara road car and as a result, was unable to attend. Collecting the honour on behalf of Giampaolo was Andrea Burzoni, design manager at Dallara.

John O’Brien, editor of Professional MotorSport World was chair of the judging panel: “In the short time that I’ve been organising these awards, I’ve never been so uncertain of the results as the individual votes came in. Following the multiple regulations changes throughout the industry, 2017 has, for me, been one of the best in recent time. Yes, there have been some sad losses in certain championships, but on balance, there’s been much, much more to celebrate. Malcom Wilson’s M-Sport, and its truly superb performance in the WRC against factory-supported teams shows that with the right regulations in place, budget will always come second to clever engineering. Formula E’s victory also proves that green motorsport was no passing fad, and will only go from strength to strength.

The close fight for Race Series of the Year proves that despite what is written in mainstream press, motorsport is not in a bad shape globally, and when you look at the viewing figures of these championships it proves that people still watch motorsport in abundance. Whilst it’s easy to point out what ‘needs’ to be improved without solution, we prefer to celebrate the achievements of what makes this industry so great. The breadth and depth of the nominations in all the categories this year shows that there’s an awful lot to be proud of.”

The winners of the 2017 Professional MotorSport World Expo Awards:

Race Car of the Year
Winner: M-Sport Ford Fiesta WRC

Audi Sport RS3 LMS
Cadillac DPI- V.R
Porsche 911 RSR
Lexus LS500 GT500

A high-resolution image gallery of all the finalists in this category can be found on the PMW Expo Facebook page.

Motorsport Team of the Year
Winner: Jackie Chan DC Racing

DJR Team Penske
ABT Sportsline
J.A.S. Motorsport
Renault e.Dams
PSRX Volkswagen Sweden

A high-resolution image gallery of all the finalists in this category can be found on the PMW Expo Facebook page.

Powertrain Innovation of the Year
Winner: Mercedes-AMG M08 EQ Power+ 1.6-liter V6

Gibson Technology GK428
ECR/ Cadillac LT-R 6.2-liter V8
Rohm Semiconductor’s SiC diode
KTM ‘Big Bang’ V4
Mahindra Racing M3Electro

A high-resolution image gallery of all the finalists in this category can be found on the PMW Expo Facebook page.

Engineer of the Year
Winner: Chris Williams, head of rally engineering, M-Sport

Ludo Lacroix, competition director, DJR Team Penske
Franco Chiocchetti, technical director, Abt Sportsline
Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser vice president of Motorsport and GT cars Porsche
Carl Faux, lead engineer, Team B.M.R.

A high-resolution image gallery of all the finalists in this category can be found on the PMW Expo Facebook page.

Motorsport Facility of the Year
Winner: Thermal Club, Palm Springs

SpeedPark Ningbo, China
Martinsville, USA
Marina Bay GP circuit, Singapore
Circuito Internacional de Vila Real, Portugal
Red Hook, Brooklyn street circuit, USA

A high-resolution image gallery of all the finalists in this category can be found on the PMW Expo Facebook page.

Motorsport Technology of the Year
Winner: Bosch CAS-M3 Collision Avoidance System

Michelin Pilot Sport EV Formula E season three tire
ZF Motorsport Formula 1 damper
Stratsys FDM Nylon 12CF material
DJR Team Penske Supercars leg protection
Toyota & FIA THUMS project
BMW M/ Topometric 3D digitzation and serial measurement cell

A high-resolution image gallery of all the finalists in this category can be found on the PMW Expo Facebook page.

Race Series of the Year
Winner: Formula E

TCR International
IMSA Weathertech United Sports Cars
Blancpain Endurance Series
Virgin Australia Supercars
FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy

A high-resolution image gallery of all the finalists in this category can be found on the PMW Expo Facebook page.

UK Young Rally Driver of the Year
Winner: Ewan Tindall

Sam Adams
Eddie Lewis
Tom Llewellin
Elliot Payne
Robert Wilson

Outstanding Contribution to Motorsport
Returning for 2017, the Outstanding Contribution to Motorsport Award honours those who have gone above and beyond what is required in this industry - often at great personal expense.
Winner: Giampaolo Dallara, Dallara

David Richards, Prodrive
Alejandro Agag – Formula E
Stephane Ratel, SRO Group

A high-resolution image gallery of all the finalists in this category can be found on the PMW Expo Facebook page.


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