Editor-in-Chief's Note: It has been another spectacular year of racing. I would like to thank all of the behind-the-scenes people at the tracks who help make these racing events happen, and of course I would like to thank the corner workers for their tireless efforts, because without their dedication and perseverance, the racing wouldn't happen at all. We'll see you back here in January. - PMD
By Peter M. De Lorenzo
Detroit. Judging drivers at the end of a season of racing seems silly, because strapping oneself into or sitting astride a racing machine at the top levels of the sport is an enormously challenging undertaking fraught with peril and challenges most of us will never really appreciate. It's an endeavor that requires levels of concentration that are simply staggering to contemplate, and a degree of commitment that goes beyond just about anything we can even imagine.
There were plenty of incredibly talented drivers at work this year who delivered superlative efforts. Lewis Hamilton, the 2014 Formula 1 World Champion, is certainly one of them. Hamilton, now the most successful British driver in F1 history, simply wanted it more than the others, and he came away with his second F1 championship for his efforts. There were plenty of other driving stars as well, but I'm not going to bother listing them here, because there was one racer who was so clearly head and shoulders above the rest that the rest don't even merit a mention.
Marc Marquez, the 21-year-old Spaniard and the star of stars of the MotoGP series, was simply racing at another level this year, achieving his second championship in a row in a virtuoso display of skill and talent that hasn't been seen in years. And some observers of the sport have gone as far as saying that we have never seen the sheer talent that Marquez brings to the track every race weekend.
In my estimation MotoGP racing is the most breathtaking and exciting form of motorsport in the world. Supremely gifted riders balancing their immensely powerful machines on a miniscule contact patch of rubber accelerating out of a corner, or sliding their machines through sweeping bends in a wondrous display of control and speed that defies description, there's simply nothing like it.
And Marquez is the most gifted racer of them all. In two seasons racing in the top class of the sport, Marquez has two championships and nineteen race wins (out of a total of 36 races entered). He won ten races in a row this year, matching an achievement delivered by Mick Doohan and Giacomo Agostini, two enduring legends of the sport.
Marquez is rapidly achieving legendary status in a sport that rewards sheer talent and ability like no other form of motorsport. Where does he go from here? I wouldn't pretend to know, other than the fact that he is a threat to win every race he enters for as long as he chooses to ride.
Simply in a league of his own, I'm pleased to say that Marc Marquez is The Autoextremist Racer of the Year.
(Photos courtesy of MotoGP)
Esteve Rabat, Marc Marquez and Alex Marquez at the 2014 FIM Gala Ceremony.
Publisher's Note: As part of our continuing series celebrating the "Glory Days" of racing, we're proud to present another noteworthy image from the Ford Racing Archives. - PMD
(Photo by Dave Friedman, courtesy of the Ford Racing Archives)
Indianapolis, Indiana, 1963. Dan Gurney heads out for a practice run at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in his Lotus-Ford. Lotus mastermind Colin Chapman can be seen behind the car (in dark clothes with sunglasses on), walking away. Gurney was responsible for bringing Ford and Lotus together for the onslaught on the Indianapolis 500, one of the many highlights of his illustrious racing career.
Publisher's Note: Like these Ford racing photos? Check out www.fordimages.com. Be forewarned, however, because you won't be able to go there and not order something. - PMD