TCF PICKS 2017: Race of the year


With the Competitor of the year and Team of the year picks already out of the way, we move our focus to the races of the year, as picked by our team of writers.


2017 FIA Formula 1 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Credit: Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

We can barely recall how Daniel Ricciardo managed to win the race. So much happened, with Hamilton and Vettel coming together whilst under the safety car, Raikkonen and Bottas hitting each other early on, with Bottas still able to get to the podium by the end of the race; and Lance Stroll taking his first podium after a shaky start to his F1 career. It was simply mad.

– Jordan Groves, James Eagles, Craig Venn, Megan Cantle, Aaron Gillard, Chloe Hewitt


Turkington Produces Finale Heroics At Brands Hatch

Photo: BTCC Media

Colin Turkington headed into the penultimate round of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with his title challenge all but over. He needed a miracle to keep his hopes of a third crown alive, and that’s exactly what he delivered!

From fifteenth on the grid, Turkington would truly be a man on a mission as he picked his way through the field in his West Surrey Racing BMW, quickly climbing into the top ten before dispatching his title rival Ashley Sutton at mid-distance.

Sensational grip allowed Turkington to make bold overtaking moves lap after lap and eventually a ‘kiss’ on the rear of Aiden Moffat gave him the lead, competing a sensational drive to victory that provided a truly thrilling spectacle for everyone in attendance and watching on live on television.

While an unfortunate, early race three retirement would put an bring an anti-climatic end to what could have been a nail-biting season finale, Turkington’s performance one race prior would show a world class touring driver performing at his very best.

If you missed Turkington’s supreme drive, you can watch it back here.

– Simon Paice, Dan Mason


2017 Macau Grand Prix

Daniel Ticktum crosses the line for the biggest win of his career so far in Macau – Credit: Paul Bradshaw/The Red Agency

The field may have been the smallest in many years around Macau, but the race had all of the excitement you could hope for with tremendous overtakes, great defending and a chaotic last lap with an unexpected winner!

Sergio Sette Cámara and Ferdinand Habsburg were gunning for victory, and battled for the lead throughout the final lap, only for both to crash out at the final turn, gifting Daniel Ticktum the win.

However, Ticktum himself pulled off an excellent move that was deserving of the victory, as he came out on top of a four-wide battle with Lando Norris, Maximilian Günther and Ralf Aron heading into Lisboa, with the Red Bull-backed Briton executing the move to perfection.

Callum Ilott had won the Qualifying race the day before from Joel Eriksson, but they were eliminated early on due to a collision, with left Sette Cámara in the lead from Günther, before Habsburg made his way through into second. The Austrian managed his tyres superbly and was on Sette Cámara’s tail heading into the final lap, and the duo ran side by side through Mandarin, one of the fastest corners on the track. The Motopark driver held onto to the lead into Lisboa, but could not shake off the Carlin driver throughout the lap, mainly due to his tyres fading, but Habsburg edged ahead with a move around the outside of the final turn, only for both to hit the barrier and gift the victory to Ticktum.

It was a crazy ending to a tremendous race.

– Paul Hensby, Connor Jackson, Steven Batey


2017 24 Hours of Le Mans

Credit: Craig Robertson

The 2017 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will go down in history as one of the great races of all time. The self destruction in LMP1 followed by a hard fought fight through the field for the eventual winners was just one of the story threads sown through an epic motor race.

An LMP2 car, where everyone worried about longevity, nearly won outright, the LM GTE Pro race was decided on the final lap in a battle between two of endurance racing’s great names.

Then there was the fairy tale story for JMW Motorsport who won the race in a car they had never raced before, just weeks after sending off the old car with an ELMS win to boot.

– Nick Smith, Vince Pettit


 

2017 FIA Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix

Scuderia Ferrari – Singapore GP 2017. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Sebastian Vettel spectacularly taking out Max Verstappen, himself and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen at the start of the race, and single-handedly destroying his own and Ferrari’s chances of winning a title in 2017 – a joyous moment (for me anyway!)

– Rachel Hack


2017 TCR International Series, Race 2 at Oschersleben

Credit: TCR Series

Despite the startline crash that eliminated several high profile drivers from re-starting (and also saw Roberto Colciago missing a weekend of action to recover from his injuries) this was arguably the best race of the yeat for the TCR International Series.

What should have been the scene of the first win for the DG Sport Competition Opel Astra TCR at the hands of Mato Homola ultimately ended up being a much needed win for Gianni Morbidelli in the WestCoast Racing VW Golf. However its the fact that Homola, Morbidelli, eventual Champion Jean-Karl Vernay and former BTCC driver Dan Lloyd fought for the lead for fourteen of the fifteen lap race!

Almost unheard of in Motorsport today, especially as the cars were nose to tail for almost the entire length of the race. Morbidelli’s penultimat corner move won the race but this was a cracker!

– Phil Kinch


2017 NeroGiardini Motorrad Grand Prix von Österreich

Andrea Dovizioso battles with Marc Marquez (Photo Credit: Ducati)

A race-long battle between the two title challengers, the Austrian Grand Prix was exciting throughout. Everybody had expected the Ducati duo of Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso to clear off into the distance… but a certain Marc Marquez had other ideas.

The Spaniard beat the Ducati pair to pole position on Saturday and managed to stay with them in the early stages of the race. Lorenzo eventually dropped off, leaving Dovi and Marquez to battle for the victory. The contrasting styles between the two was great to watch… Dovi looking comfortable and smooth, with Marquez looking like he was in a real fight to stay on the Honda.

Dovi had the advantage for the majority of the final lap but Marquez couldn’t resist a last minute lunge at the final corner. Dovi saw it coming though and went slightly wide and Marquez went in too deep. The Italian was able to cut back and unleash the power of the Ducati, glancing round at his rival as he stormed to victory.

– Josh Close


2017 Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix

Marc Marquez – Photo Credit: Michelin

History shows that Phillip Island very rarely produces a disappointing motorcycle race but this one might well be the best of the lot. While Andrea Dovizioso fought tooth-and-nail in the midfield to try and keep his championship hopes alive, his chief rival Marc Marquez was in the thick of an all-out war up front.

Together with Valentino Rossi, Maverick Vinales, Johann Zarco and Andrea Iannone, Marquez was involved in an absolute classic with the lead changing virtually corner-by-corner. By the time it was all said and done, Rossi was left with tyre rubber from Marquez’s Michelin on his shoulder while contact from Zarco had bitten a hole in the tail of Marquez’s Honda. Crucially though, Marc also emerged with 25 points and the victory that probably swung the title race his way.

– Louis Suddaby


2017 Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana

Marc Marquez (Photo Credit: MotoGP.com)

Packed full of action, twists and turns and a triumphant victory for Marquez.

– Emily Macbeth


2017 Mexico ePrix

Credit: Abt

When Lucas di Grassi damaged his rear wing on the opening lap of the Mexico ePrix he had every right to think that his race was over – but following a drama packed ePrix he would end up coming from last to take the win. Every lap was enthralling as di Grassi managed his energy superbly while chaos was happening in front of him.

Oliver Turvey suffered a technical glitch and retired from the lead, Jose Maria Lopez then spun while attempting to catch di Grassi towards the end, and Nico Prost triggered a multi-car pile-up in the stadium section after tagging Nick Heidfeld.

Monumentally Sebastien Buemi spun out and finished outside of the points – a mistake that would lead to him losing the title.

– Scott Douglas


2017 Indianapolis 500

Takuma Sato took his first Indy 500 victory – Credit: Matt Fraver / IndyCar

I’d have to go with the Indy 500 because it’s such a big race that it’s difficult not to be infected by the enthusiasm.

– Tim Lumb