TCF Picks: Race of the year 2016


Ginetta Juniors, Thruxton

The Ginetta Juniors have become renowned for producing sensational racing and this year was certainly no exception, with the visit to Thruxton in May standing out in particular as the fearless racers produced two sensational races around the ‘fastest circuit in the UK’. The opening encounter saw Stuart Middleton and Will Tregurtha engage in one of the best battles for victory in recent series history, with some incredible high-speed, side-by-side racing resulting in the race lead changing hands almost every lap on the way to a narrow Middleton victory.

With the tow around the back of the circuit lending itself to intense pack racing, no less than seven cars would spectacularly fight nose-to-tail for the podium positions in the second race, with Dave Wooder emerging victorious for his maiden series win. That action wasn’t just restricted to the front of the field either, with superb battles going on throughout the field to produce a memorable spectacle for the trackside crowd and live television viewers. You can watch the second Ginetta Junior race from Thruxton here.  – Simon Paice

Credit: Nick Smith

British GT Donington Park

Isn’t it always the way that the championship finale is the most exciting race of the season? With championships on the line and bragging rights to be dished out in time for 2017, the British GT Championship descended on the East Midlands circuit with both the GT3 and GT4 titles to be decided.

What a hum-dinger it turned out to be, in the GT3 class it was a series of thrills and spills starting with Jon Minshaw who speared his Lamborghini into the gravel at the Old Hairpin trying a robust overtaking move allowing Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston the opportunity to play it cool and cruise it home to claim Adam’s second title in a row and Johnston’s first British GT title.

In GT4 it was also action packed, as the fight between Beechdean’s Ross Gunn and Jack Bartholomew and PMW World Expo Racing’s Mike Robinson and Graham Johnson was a straight fight – whoever finishes ahead wins the title. With the reliability of the Ginetta’s brakes giving them an edge over the Aston Martin crew, Robinson and Johnson managed to keep their noses clean and claim a well-deserved title.

However, it is also worth a shout out for Ciaran Haggerty, who won the race using just one hand after he severed a tendon in his wrist in a workplace accident in the week leading up to the final round. – Joe Hudson

Norris’ battle with Defourny in Austria was fantastic to watch – Credit: Francois Flamand / DPPI

Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 Race One – Red Bull Ring

This was the standout battle of the season, with two of the most promising young drivers fighting tooth and nail until the chequered flag. 2016 could be the year that a rivalry between Lando Norris vs Max Defourny really took off, with the Briton and Belgian often finding themselves fighting for the same part of the race track. It was more apparent in Austria when the duo battled for the lead, with Norris ultimately coming out on top. The two switched positions quite a few times, with their moves often being completed with millimetres to spare, and sometimes at corners where overtaking is not commonplace. It was quite a race with two drivers heading for the very top. – Paul Hensby

2016 24 Hours of Le Mans

Picture it; you’ve raced your heart out for almost 24 hours straight at a circuit as unforgiving as the Circuit de la Sarthe, you’re holding a comfortable lead with enough laps remaining to count on one hand and then, suddenly, victory is snatched from your grasp. That gut-wrenching thought became reality from Toyota in the diamond endurance racing event that was the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Fans and teams alike were left silenced at what they were witnessing, as the #5 TS050 HYBRID of Kazuki Nakajima ground to a halt on the penultimate lap heading past the pits due to a ‘defect on the air line between the turbo and the intercooler’. Scenes from rival garages sympathised with the Japanese manufacturer, as victory was only minutes away before being handed on a plate to the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid shared by Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas. – Dan Mason

WEC: 6 Hours of Fuji

Not only was this the closest racing finish in WEC history, but also one of the few occasions in 2016 when all three LMP1 manufacturers had a competitive car running until the end. For Toyota, it was a fair payback for the heartbreak of losing Le Mans a few months prior, and a welcome return to the winners circle following a two year absence.

Stephane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi didn’t put a foot wrong in a contest that was only decided by a clever strategy call by the Toyota mechanics at the final round of pit stops. Clearly happy with Kobayashi’s performance behind the wheel, Toyota opted to double stint its tyres at the end of the race to give the ex-Formula 1 driver a track position advantage over the #8 Audi R18 driven by Jarvis – who at the time was the fastest man on track.

Under intense pressure from Jarvis, Kobayashi held his final stint together to claim victory by just 1.439 seconds: a margin only bettered in the WEC by two orchestrated safety car finishes. Porsche wasn’t far behind on the day either, with the #1 919 Hybrid finishing just 17 seconds down on the winner. It was, quite simply, one of the best endurance races in recent memory and a visual testament to the competitiveness of the LMP1 formula in the WEC. – Daniel Lloyd

MotoGP: Dutch TT

Not only was this the most dramatic race of 2016 but it also provided the year’s biggest upset. As is so often the case, wet weather descended on Assen for the Dutch TT and Yonny Hernandez looked set to spring a major shock early on, storming into the lead. The Colombian saw his dream turn into a nightmare as the rain intensified, crashing out, but the downpour soon became too much for everybody, bringing out the red flags.

When the conditions improved, a twelve lap spring race commenced and Valentino Rossi, so often the master in the wet, threw away an almost certain victory by tumbling on lap two. With Andrea Dovizioso and Cal Crutchlow also sliding out of the leading group, the path was left clear for Jack Miller, a 1000-1 shot before the weekend started, to claim his maiden MotoGP victory and the first for an independent team in ten years. – Louis Suddaby

MotoGP: Mugello

This goes to the Moto GP race at Mugello – even though Valentino Rossi was forced out of the race with an engine blow-out! With Rossi out of the way a battle ensued between Jorge Lorenzo and Marc Marquez for victory. The pair swapped places on a number of occasions and it looked like Marquez was going to win coming out of the final corner…. Only for the Yamaha power to take over and allow Lorenzo to win by just 0.019s. – Josh Close

Credit: Sam Bloxham/FIA Formula E/LAT

FIA Formula E – Buenos Aires ePrix (season two)

Sebastien Buemi started at the back of the grid after a spin in qualifying, but was making solid progress through the field before a safety car was brought out to recover Antonio Felix da Costa’s stricken Aguri. This gave Buemi the platform to push for the win, and after scything through the rest of the field he was soon on the tail of Sam Bird, who until then had been on his own out front. The last few laps were brilliant drama, with Buemi having the better pace, but Bird having more available energy, which he used expertly to take what would be his only win of the season by just seven tenths of a second. – Scott Douglas

World RX of Hockenheim: Semi-Final Two

This question is always so hard to choose for!! For me, the race of the year has to be this one. An action packed race where Johan Kristoffersson tried to hold on despite a failing rear tyre, defending from Petter Solberg, Ken Block, Janis Baumanis and Liam Doran. Doran would go on to take the race win in the BMW Mini with a 1.6 litre engine, showing he can work past any deficit. – Phil Kinch

Antonio Giovinazzi – Credit: Sam Bloxham/GP2 Series Media Service

GP2 Series – Baku: Race Two

It was a tough choice for me… between race one and race two. The entire Baku weekend became something to behold as Antonio Giovinazzi took a double win. The second events various incidents became a far greater spectacle to behold as the plucky Italian came from nineteenth to second in just 10 laps, revolutionising the championship. The contact on safety car getaways proved just how desperate all the drivers were for the points. Nobuharu Matsushita‘s restarts and eventual retirement completed a troubled weekend for the Japanese driver. The race also featured the rise and fall of MP Motorsport, as Pierre Gasly rose from eighteenth to second. Confusion over the location of the safety car line also resulted in the field concertina on the pit straight. A final lap showdown, resulted in Giovinazzi forcing Gasly into a mistake, taking the lead without DRS and joining the greats of double winners, surely F1 should be calling.  – Connor Jackson

Virgin Australia Supercars – Race Eight: Perth SuperSprint

Craig Lowndes turned a 30 second deficit to a storming victory in the dying laps of this short V8 supercar race. A strategy call bordering on wizardary worthy of Albus Dumbledore from engineer Ludo Lacroix was partnered by the most astounding display of masterful driving from Lowndes. All involved thought the ‘Team Vortex’ side of Triple Eight Racing Australia had lost the plot when Lowndes pitted for tyres at around the halfway point of the race. He was in fourth place and dropped further back with the stop but stormed through the field to head a Triple Eight 1-2-3 at Barbagallo Raceway. The race is on YouTube, I highly recommend you all watch it. – Nick Smith

Formula 1 2016 – Brazilian Grand Prix

In what started as a fairly slow burner of a race, which saw a number of red flag periods as well as safety cars but once it got going the Brazilian Grand Prix was a thriller and one that will not be forgotten quickly. There was drama before the race had even started when Romain Grosjean aqua-planed on the way to grid and crashed meaning he was unable to take part, at one of the restarts Kimi Raikkonen suffered a crash on the main straight and a number of cars were very lucky to have missed the Finn.

The star of the show though was Max Verstappen, during the final safety car period the young Dutchman realised he was on the wrong tyres and switched from his intermediates to the full wets – when he returned to track he had to pass the likes of Daniel Ricciardo, Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz, Sebastian Vettel and Sergio Perez to find himself standing on the podium. – Chloe Hewitt

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Max Verstappen’s overtaking was pure genius and entertainment, as well as Hamilton’s dominance at the front. It was a race with thrills and spills, with some of the best drivers (i.e. Kimi Raikkonen) struggling with the conditions. Not only that, but Felipe Massa’s send off made it a race to remember – although now it seems that his guard of honour was a little premature. – Megan Cantle

Felipe Massa – Credit: Andrew Hone/Williams

The 2016 season had been crying out for a rain hit race and it came in bucket loads in Brazil. The treacherous conditions made for an exciting, action packed grand prix, with a dazzling performance from Max Verstappen who seemed to make the RB12 dance in the wet whilst others struggled. There was also an emotional farewell for Felipe Massa to pull at the heart strings. – Rachel Hack

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With bad weather conditions, the Brazilian Grand Prix was red flagged twice, after two separate incidents. Drivers were retiring left, right and centre because of the conditions. This allowed Sauber F1 Team to score their first points of the season, it made for some interesting racing. – Gemma Bray

Formula 1 2016 – Spanish Grand Prix

The 2016 Spanish Grand Prix had just about everything you could expect from a Formula 1 contest. Whilst the early collision between the warring Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton was the focus of many a motorsport highlights real, it was the fascinating Red Bull/Ferrari tussle that played out in the Barcelona sunshine that kept the fans all around the world glued to the action. Then you add the fairytale of Max Verstappen’s first Formula 1 victory in his first Red Bull race. A race that will go down as one of the most significant in motor sport history…– Lee Bonham

We hope you have enjoyed our picks of the 2016 season, check back tomorrow for our picks for what to look forward to in the 2017 season!