editors have come together to compile a list of what we think is the definitive Top 100 riders and
drivers in motorsport this year.
we will reveal our #1, but in the meantime check out who we have placed 25 to 11...
Click here for 100 - 76 countdown
Click here for 75 - 51 countdown
Click here for 50 - 26 countdown
25. Fernando Alonso
6th in the F1 World Championship
Another year, another disappointment from Ferrari, but Fernando Alonso's reputation remains relatively intact. Having often been considered as out-performing his machinery, 2014 proved little different, Alonso comfortably faster than Kimi Raikkonen and proving his race craft time and again when qualifying often failed to deliver. Just two podiums would come his way in 2014, but performances as the one in Hungary showed what Ferrari may well be missing next year…
24. Aleix Espargaro
7th in the MotoGP World Championship
When Aleix Espargaro pushed hard to leave Aspar – the team with which he had secured two comfortable CRT titles – in favour of Forward Racing once learning of its plan to use Yamaha machinery, few realised how much of a savvy move it would prove. Dominating the Open class out of the box to the extent that he would regularly find himself in the overall upper echelons, Espargaro did himself and the category a huge service in 2014 by securing a historic pole position, standing on the podium and producing regular bar-to-bar races with the full-spec satellite riders.
23. Carlos Sainz Jr.
1st in the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship
Following the success of Kevin Magnussen, the FR3.5 Championship would see another 'straight to F1' story in 2014 as Carlos Sainz Jr overcame high expectations and an understandable mid-season lull to claim the title in comprehensive fashion. Despite the odd 'off-day', Sainz was a seven-time race winner in 2014 for DAMS, fending off the renewed attentions of Roberto Merhi – directly after he was initially overlooked for a Toro Rosso F1 drive – to end the season well enough to claim the title by a sizeable margin… and a Toro Rosso drive after all.
22. Colin Turkington
1st in the British Touring Car Championship
The fact that Colin Turkington all-but-dominated the BTCC in a series where measures are in place to prevent such a thing – success ballast, reverse grids… -, is testament to his accomplished season. The WSR BMW man won eight races – five of which came in just six races -, but it was his overwhelming consistency that made the difference as he very nearly became the first man since 1997 to wrap up the title a round early. Qualms were made about his RWD 'advantage', but if that was the case then Turkington was the only driver to make full use of it…
21. Will Power
1st in the IndyCar Series
Having come close on many an occasions, Will Power finally wrapped up an IndyCar Series title in 2014, his unwavering consistency, peppered with bursts of race winning speed, keeping him in control all the way to the final round. A much deserved title for a man who has finished runner-up on three occasions previously, his task is to now defend his crown…
20. Alex Marquez
1st in the Moto3 World Championship
Living in the shadow of your famous brother is one thing, but trying to do your bit for history is another. Despite fierce competition from Jack Miller, Marquez rose above the publicity and the occasional mind games to hold his nerve in a tense finale and clinch a famous title. Conclusive proof, if it was needed, that he is destined to join Marc in MotoGP, Marquez must now see if he can make his impression on Moto2 the way his brother did en route to the top.
19. Michael van der Mark
1st in the World Supersport Championship
After an encouraging first season that showed plenty of promise – but yielded no wins -, Michael van der Mark went into 2014 aiming to break his duck and go from there. He achieved that feat in perfect surroundings at Assen… and from there he was unstoppable. Whether he was climbing through the order or leading from the front, van der Mark showed race craft beyond his years, never finishing a race lower than second, winning five times and wrapping up the title with two races to spare.
18. Jonathan Rea
3rd in the World Superbike Championship
Jonathan Rea entered his sixth season with the Ten Kate Honda squad in 2014 – somewhat against the wishes of his supporters who wanted him to move onto different machinery – and proved naysayers wrong with his best season in World Superbikes. Injury-free and more consistent than ever, Rea notched up four wins – most notably a dominant double in Imola – and although the bike probably did prevent him from mounting a title battle, third overall was a fitting farewell as he is about to show what he can do on a Kawasaki in 2015.
17. Jolyon Palmer
1st in the GP2 Series
His fourth season in the category, Jolyon Palmer knew full well 2014 had to be the year that he clinched the GP2 Series title if he is ever to progress to his dream drive in F1. Not only did he achieve his aim, but he did so in very comprehensive fashion. The DNA of the GP2 Series is to ensure close racing, but few drivers have formed such a heady mix of consistency from their title bids, Palmer scoring in all-but-two races over the course of the season. Though his win count was fairly meagre at four, 12 podiums told you all you need to know about his championship challenge.
16. Felipe Massa
7th in the F1 World Championship
While a move from Ferrari to Williams may have had all the hallmarks of a career winding down based on the team's recent form, Felipe Massa enjoyed something of a revival in 2014. A huge upturn in pace from the Williams squad saw Massa mixing it with Mercedes on occasion and though he was dealt the lion's share of the bad luck – some innocent, some self-inflicted – three podiums arguably made this his best season in F1 since 2010.
15. Shane Byrne
1st in the British Superbike Championship
Shane Byrne made history in 2014 by becoming the first rider in British Superbike Championship history to notch up a fourth world title. He did it in style too, his run of six wins in the first eight races laid down the gauntlet and though the Title Showdown neutered whatever advantage he had built up, he still found his form when it mattered to fend off the resurgent Ryuichi Kiyonari.
14. Ryuichi Kiyonari
2nd in the British Superbike Championship
Though he finished second to Shane Byrne in the end, it is the manner in which Ryuichi Kiyonari formed a title bid from unlikely beginnings that gets plaudits here. Seemingly heading for the wilderness after severing long-held ties with Honda, Kiyonari turned up on BMW machinery and proved a revelation. Taking the manufacturer to its first podiums and wins, such was the momentum of his form that he launched himself into a title challenging position (thanks to the Title Showdown) and was certainly a rival to Byrne before fate intervened and he injured himself at the final round. Nonetheless, as a career-180, it was quite the turnaround.
13. Sylvain Guintoli
1st in the World Superbike Championship
We may have not seen him atop the podium that often in 2014, but when Sylvain Guintoli reeled off wins three and four at the Qatar season finale, he made sure he timed it to perfection. Two marvellous wins that would see him overhaul Tom Sykes and snatch the WSBK crown, Guintoli's campaign may have been formed more from consistency than race-winning speed, but it was a potent combination that would secure the biggest prize of all.
12. Esteve Rabat
1st in the Moto2 World Championship
Much like the aforementioned Jolyon Palmer, Esteve Rabat came into the 2014 Moto2 season knowing this was his best chance to secure an elusive title having teamed up with Marc VDS. Third overall in 2013, the dominant champion of 2014, Rabat won seven races and finished lower than fourth on just one single occasion…
11. Anthony Davidson
1st in the FIA World Endurance Championship
It was the year for British world champions, with Anthony Davidson doing his bit for Blighty by pairing with Sebastien Buemi (and initially Nicolas Lapierre) to take Toyota to a much-desired World Endurance Championship win, in turn breaking Audi's stranglehold on the series. Four wins in the opening six races put the pair out of reach of its rivals, Davidson in turn securing his first title since – remarkably – the 1999 British Formula Ford Winter Series!