CGR Wins RACER Team of the Year Award
Congratulations to Chip Ganassi Racing and the brain trust behind the 2010 Formula 1 World Championship-dominating Red Bull RB6. Both are big winners in the Editors' Choice section of RACER of the Year XVI, presented by Mobil 1.
Reader votes determine the winners of four RACER of the Year categories – overall RACER of the Year, plus Road, Oval and Drag Racer of the Year – but RACER's editors choose several supporting awards, including Team of the Year and Car of the Year.
Although the 2010 racing season provided several strong candidates for each award, Chip Ganassi Racing's incredible year across NASCAR, the IZOD IndyCar Series and Grand-Am made it the unanimous choice for Team of the Year, while the on-track success and in-car innovations of the Adrian Newey-inspired Red Bull RB6 put it ahead of the pack as Car of the Year.
Team of the Year – Chip Ganassi Racing
For sheer breadth of achievement – and yes, we're taking liberties to describe it all as one team – no one came close to matching the Chip Ganassi Racing organization in 2010.
There was the IZOD IndyCar Series title and Indy 500, thanks to Dario Franchitti. There were nine wins out of 12 in the Grand-Am Rolex Series, courtesy of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (although, for once, the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team didn't make it to Victory Lane in the Rolex 24 at Daytona). In NASCAR, meanwhile, Ganassi had the opposite “problem,” where neither Juan Montoya nor Jamie McMurray were able to get Earnhardt Ganassi Racing into the Chase for the Sprint Cup, yet McMurray scooped the two biggest prizes on the calendar – the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 – and Montoya finally nailed another win, taking victory at Watkins Glen.
That last triumph came on the same weekend that Pruett/Rojas won the supporting Rolex Series race, and Franchitti won at Mid-Ohio for a unique triple. Like we said, Chip's team was the obvious choice for us.
Car of the Year – Red Bull RB6 (Formula 1)
Red Bull Racing design genius Adrian Newey, the RB6 finally finished what he'd started in 1988. For his competition, it was an impressive reminder that original thinking, even in the straitjacketed world of modern Formula 1, is alive and thriving in his planet-sized brain.
The Renault-powered RB6 was Newey's ultimate proof that an independent team could beat F1's giants with an elusive blend of aerodynamic-led innovation and evolution, plus a lightning-fast ability to adopt and adapt when necessary.
Sure, RBR's independent status hardly comes with a meager budget, but RB6's 2010 successes, including a constructors' championship, a drivers' championship for Sebastian Vettel, nine wins between Vettel and Mark Webber, and 15 poles, brought closure on Newey's desire to beat the very establishment he'd been a part of for most of his storied F1 career.
His underpowered March-Judd 881 sailed a similar course more than two decades before, using radical aero thinking to battle the mighty turbos, but it was let down in the execution by a tiny team stretched beyond capacity.
RB6, too, was loaded with innovation, including a pullrod rear suspension layout that allowed for stupendous rear over-body airflow and an incredibly effective exhaust-gas energized rear diffuser.
As a package, RB6 was majestic at many tracks and never merely ordinary at any, leaving Ferrari and McLaren worrying not so much about how they make up the deficit to that car, but how much further Newey's next design – the RB7 – might push the envelope again.
Other Editors' Choice Awards
Race of the Year – ALMS at Road America (Aug. 22, 2010)
Comeback of the Year – Will Power (IndyCar Series)
Raising the bar yet again award – Chad Knaus and the Lowe's 48 team
• For more in-depth coverage and analysis of the RACER of the Year XV, presented by Mobil 1, including reaction from all of our big winners, make sure you check out the March issue of RACER magazine.
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