editors have come together to compile a list of what we think is the definitive Top 100 riders and
drivers in motorsport this year.
Over the coming days we will be counting down to our #1, but in the meantime check out who we have placed 100 to 76...
100. Jann Mardenborough
9th in GP3 Series
5th in Le Mans 24 Hours (LMP2)
Dubbed the 'game boy racer' by virtue of his unusual path into premier motorsport, GT Academy winner Jann Mardenborough began to make a return on his significant investment in 2014. Though stepping up to GP3 may have looked premature based on an indifferent European F3 campaign, Mardenborough was a regular point-scorer by mid-season, taking a fine win at Hockenheim en route to ninth overall. Furthermore, he anchored OAK Racing and Ligier's bid for LMP2 glory at Le Mans, the youngster – alongside Alex Brundle and fellow GT Academy winner Mark Schulzitskiy – leading almost the entire way before late technical issues consigned the trio to fifth at the finish
99. Marvin Kirchhofer
3rd in GP3 Series
Marvin Kirchhofer firmed his status as a driver to watch for the future as his swift rise up the motorsport ladder saw him claim an impressive third overall in the GP3 Series. Formel Masters champion in 2012, German F3 champion in 2013 and now a race winner in GP3, the 20-year-old has wasted no time in catching the eye on the international stage in 2014.
98. Sergey Sirotkin
5th in Formula Renault 3.5
Thrust into the limelight after being linked to a potential Sauber F1 drive in 2013, whilst it may have been true at the time that the little-known Sergey Sirotkin was too inexperienced for the upper echelons of the sport, he went a long way to proving he needn't be dismissed as simply having more money than talent. Fifth overall in a competitive FR3.5 field, including a dominant win on home soil in Moscow, saw him finish ahead of at least one eventual F1 driver, Will Stevens.
97. Nicolas Lapierre
6th in World Endurance Championship
3rd at Le Mans 24 Hours
Having begun the year as one-third of the team that would go on to win the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship, Nicolas Lapierre would be forced to watch as Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson celebrated without him. Dropped mid-season after costly crashes at Le Mans and COTA, Lapierre nonetheless still played his part in anchoring the team to wins at Silverstone and Spa.
96. Marc Gene
2nd in the Le Mans 24 Hours
Though he spent much of his season on the sidelines, ex-F1 driver Marc Gene proved once again what an adept sportscar driver he is when he received an eleventh hour call up to join Audi for the Le Mans 24 Hours and helped the #1 crew to a second place finish. Drafted in to replace Loic Duval following his monster shunt in practice, despite a lack of mileage in the R18 e-tron, Gene proved just as – if not faster than – team-mates Lucas di Grassi and Tom Kristensen.
95. Adam Morgan
10th in British Touring Car Championship
Having turned a few heads in the Toyota Avensis in 2013, Adam Morgan and his Ciceley Racing team picked up plenty of off-season exposure in deciding to bring the Mercedes marque to the BTCC for the first time. Under the WIX Racing banner, the distinctive A-Class showed pace, if not reliability. Nonetheless, Morgan powered on and kept the points ticking over until a big push towards the end of the season yielded a fine maiden win and big plans for 2015.
94. Lucas di Grassi
4th in World Endurance Championship
1st in Formula E Championship (ongoing)
After some brief outings with the manufacturer in 2013, Lucas di Grassi was rewarded with a full-time World Endurance Championship drive with Audi this season and settled into the title-winning #1 outfit alongside Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval with ease. Though it wasn't the most successful of seasons for the defending champions, di Grassi was a four-time podium winner, while he also became the first driver to win a Formula E race when the season got underway in September.
93. Roberto Merhi
3rd in Formula Renault 3.5 Championship
From single-seaters to DTM and back to single-seaters, Roberto Merhi was a surprise addition to the Formula Renault 3.5 ranks in 2014, with his experience alongside 'greener' competition shining through as he launched a late assault on the title against countryman Carlos Sainz. Touted for an F1 move with Caterham, Merhi was a three-time race winner with relative minnows Zeta Corse, but his title bid would eventually fall short.
92. Romano Fenati
5th in the Moto3 World Championship
There was a point in the Moto3 season where it seemed Romano Fenati was the rider to beat on the Valentino Rossi-endorsed Sky Racing VR46 KTM, with three wins from four races early on elevating him to a lofty status. Indifferent form would ultimately see Fenati drift away from the championship battle, but one more win at Aragon lifted him to fifth overall and enhance his reputation as one of Italy's rising talents.
91. Thierry Neuville
6th in the World Rally Championship
After his breakout campaign in 2013 driving a Ford Fiesta, Thierry Neuville was always the natural choice to lead Hyundai's factory return to World Rally competition in 2014. Inevitable niggling problems with the i20 WRC aside, the car was a match for Citroen and Ford in Neuville's hands at least this year, while he had the honour of scoring Hyundai's surprise first win in Germany, in turn breaking VW's dominance on their home soil.
90. Elfyn Evans
8th in the World Rally Championship
His first full season in the World Rally Championship, Crash.net
columnist Elfyn Evans proved that a consistent, methodical approach to learning your trade reaped far more dividends in 2014 than attempting to show blistering speed to detrimental effect (see Robert Kubica). Being a rookie in the WRC is probably harder than in any other series, but as a learning year, Evans was impressive, finishing all but one rally – most of which were new to him – and filtering in enough to speed to finish fourth in Germany and Mexico.
89. Brendon Hartley
9th in World Endurance Championship
The attention may have been on his high-profile team-mate Mark Webber, but Brendon Hartley arrived in the World Endurance Championship with something to prove as well. Landing a high-profile drive with Porsche despite relatively limited prototype experience, Hartley proved quick in the 919 Hybrid from the off and brought some impressive new blood to the top class.
88. Brad Binder
11th in the Moto3 World Championship
He may not have been the most obvious candidate to notch up Mahindra's best result as a Moto3 constructor, but Brad Binder came of age in 2014 and flew the flag for South Africa. A second place finish at the Sachsenring was followed by another podium at Motegi, raising his stock as one of the sport's relatively few rising stars not from Spain.
87. Daniil Kvyat
15th in the F1 World Championship
There are a lot of influential people who rate Daniil Kvyat highly, so it is no coincidence that he has landed a plum Red Bull Racing drive for 2015. Statistically speaking, the young Russian only scored eight points – well adrift of Jean-Eric Vergne's 22 -, in his first F1 season but Kvyat made a splash beyond the results in his rookie year with impressive qualifying efforts, notably his fifth on the grid in Russia, while Toro Rosso's patchy reliability skews other likely top ten finishes. Next year will be the true test, but pressure only seemed to spur Kvyat on in 2014 so hopes are high.
86. Johann Zarco
6th in the Moto2 World Championship
One of Moto2's liveliest riders, Johann Zarco shook off a dismal start to the season with the new – but ultimately shortlived – AirAsia Caterham team, to establish himself as a regular front runner by the end of the year. Lifting himself to sixth overall, four podiums came the Frenchman's way and he was top four in six of the final seven races, establishing him as a potential title contender for 2015 on the Ajo Kalex…
85. Dominique Aegerter
5th in the Moto2 World Championship
A fifth season in the Moto2 World Championship yielded Dominique Aegerter's a long-awaited maiden win in Germany. The highlight of another strong year for the Swiss rider, two podiums in the United States and regular top five results assured him a similar result in the overall standings, even if he stood to do even better had his trademark flawless finishing record – which stretched back to 2011 – not been broken in the very first round.
84. Marco Melandri
4th in the World Superbike Championship
The move many had been waiting for, Marco Melandri on Aprilia machinery was tipped to be the formidable force in World Superbikes for 2014. Indeed, when he was on form, Melandri was remarkably tough to beat on the RSV4, as represented by his six comprehensive wins. However, these all came in the latter half of the year, with his initial discomfort on the bike during the early rounds ultimately scuppering his title hopes before they had really started.
83. Carlos Munoz
8th in the IndyCar Series
After capturing the headlines by finishing second on his first outing at the Indy 500, Carlos Munoz was rightly granted a full-season deal with Andretti Autosport in the IndyCar Series for 2014. Getting reacquainted with the podium again by round two, Munoz made three appearances on the rostrum over the course of the year en route to eighth overall – well clear of his other rookie rivals.
82. Felipe Nasr
3rd in the GP2 Series
His third season at GP2 level and seemingly knocking on the door of F1 after securing a test driver deal with Williams, Felipe Nasr had to mount a title challenge in 2014. Sticking with Carlin, Nasr embarked on a season-long tussle with Jolyon Palmer, but whilst his long awaited first wins would match his rival's haul, it would be offset by the British driver's better consistency. Despite being overhauled by rookie Stoffel Vandoorne for the runners-up spot, Nasr will nonetheless race in F1 next season with Sauber.
81. Andrea Iannone
10th in the MotoGP World Championship
An official Ducati factory rider, albeit in Pramac colours, Andrea Iannone developed into a rider worthy of his elevated status in 2014. Though unable to match the ultra-consistent Andrea Dovizioso and often flattering to deceive in qualifying compared with the races on the softer-shod GP14, but for some better luck in some races he'd have been in the fight for sixth overall.
80. David Heinemeier-Hansson
1st in the World Endurance Championship (GTE Am)
1st in the Le Mans 24 Hours (GTE Am)
The multi-talented David Heinemeier-Hansson (he is a successful web programmer 'by day') switched to the GT class with Aston Martin Racing after a successful stint as a 'gentleman' racer in LMP2 and played his role in dominating the category in 2014. Paired with professionals Kristian Poulsen and Nicki Thiim, the all Danish-combination picked up a formidable Le Mans 24 Hours victory and four WEC GTE Am wins.
79. Mark Webber
9th in the World Endurance Championship
Following his high-profile switch from F1 to the World Endurance Championship with the returning Porsche, Mark Webber eased himself back into racing with a closed-cockpit seamlessly. Though the 919 Hybrid didn't quite have the longevity to match its Toyota and Audi rivals initially, by the end of the season the car – and Webber – had evolved into a formidable combination. A victory challenge at the Le Mans 24 Hours was cruelly dashed late on, while his efforts in Brazil came to an abrupt end, but the popular Aussie did his bit to attract attention to WEC in 2014… and many liked what they saw.
78. Sergey Zlobin
1st in the World Endurance Championship (LMP2)
As a driver with no discernibly strong results during his career at any level, the fact Sergey Zlobin is now a world champion proved a surprise outcome for 2014. Driving the Russian-based SMP Racing Oreca, though it wasn't always the quickest LMP2 machine out there, it was the most reliable and capitalised on points dropped by the G-Drive and KCMG cars. A driver line-up split between its two entries for Le Mans ultimately paid dividends as Zlobin was the only WEC LMP2 entry still running at the finish, thus earning maximum points and contributing to him being classified as the sole champion.
77. Ma Qing Hua
13th in the World Touring Car Championship
Enlisted as part of Citroen's plan to push its brand in the all-important Chinese market, Ma Qing Hua's below-par results in single-seater competition over the years meant his addition to the grid in Russia was met with little more than a murmur of interest. A shock win on that debut quickly prompted people to take notice as Hua, in the brief handful of races he competed in, proved more than adept in WTCC competition. Certainly a surprise revelation of the 2014 season.
76. Jules Bianchi
17th in the F1 World Championship
For many, Jules Bianchi's run to ninth place in the Monaco Grand Prix, thus achieving Marussia's first-ever points in F1, will be considered one of the year's most heartening moments. A validating result for a Frenchman who has long been tipped for the upper echelons of the discipline, his subsequent horrific accident in the Japanese Grand Prix simultaneously dealt F1 one of its darkest days #JB17