editors have come together to compile a list of what we think is the definitive Top 50 riders and
drivers in motorsport this year.
Over the last few days we have singled out 40 drivers and riders that have performed exceptionally at times or throughout the motorsport season, but now is the moment to see who we consider to be the ten best-performing racers of 2015.
Let us know what you think!
Click to see the riders and drivers we ranked 50 - 41
Click to see the riders and drivers we ranked 40 - 31
Click to see the riders and drivers we ranked 30 - 21
Click to see the riders and drivers we ranked 20 - 11
10 – Oliver Rowland
1st in the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship
Whereas traditional motorsport-loving nations like Australia, Brazil and Germany might be wondering where their next F1 superstar is coming from, Great Britain is positively teeming with potential candidates at the moment, none more so than Formula Renault 3.5 Champion Oliver Rowland. Save for the single-race Monaco event, Rowland was a race winner at every other double-header round and not only was he never outside the points in 2015, he finished off the podium in just four of the 17 races. The most dominant champion in FR3.5 history – in its final year with Renault-backing -, given that roll-call includes the likes of Carlos Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, Robert Kubica, Jean-Eric Vergne, Kevin Magnussen and Stoffel Vandoorne, this surely bodes well for his future prospects
9 – Josh Brookes
1st in the British Superbike Championship
'Bridesmaid' has never been a term of endearment for anyone in motorsport, but especially for Josh Brookes, who has come close but never close enough in every British Superbike campaign since his debut in 2009. Initially it seemed it would be silver and bronze in 2015 too as he steadily found the sweet spot of the new Yamaha R1. However, once he did, Brookes was unstoppable, the instantaneous turn of pace seamlessly blending with an ease that had even the most composed of rivals over-riding to keep up. Though it took him until round six to win for the first time in 2015, he would win 15 of the next 17 to finally become champion – or 'bride' – at last.
8 – Johann Zarco
1st in in the Moto2 World Championship
Unusual as it may seem, the Moto2 World Championship emerged as the more clear-cut series than MotoGP in 2015, but this year there would be only one rider to place your money on. After three seasons of steadily adding a layer of consistency to his turn of pace on a bike, everything fell into place for Johann Zarco on the Ajo Kalex. Victory during round three in Argentina would mark Zarco's long-awaited maiden Moto2 win… but it wouldn't be his last. In a series with such a high-level of competitiveness, Zarco reeled off eight wins and six further podiums to emerge triumphant by a mammoth 118 points. A MotoGP future awaits, but first we must see whether he can make it back-to-back titles next year.
7 – Sebastien Ogier
1st World Rally Championship
Another year, another World Rally Championship title for Sebastien Ogier. His third in a row for the Volkswagen team, each of those titles deserve admiration for the high standard of their metronomic consistency. A trio of wins in the opening three rallies ultimately placed the benchmark well out reach for rivals, his eventual eight success from the twelve events marking yet another accomplished and largely error-free year. With WRC now very much experiencing the 'era of Ogier', in succession of retired countryman Sebastien Loeb, his rivals may get close on occasion but not a single one appears capable – yet – of rivalling him on speed and consistency at the same time.
6 – Stoffel Vandoorne
1st in the GP2 Series
Talk to people in the know and they would have told you there was always something special about Stoffel Vandoorne. Runner-up to F1-bound Kevin Magnussen in his first season of FR3.5, then runner-up in his maiden year of GP2 (despite winning the most races), Vandoorne may have been favourite for the same title in 2015 but the way it was achieved still blew everyone away. In a hugely competitive field, Vandoorne's title win was never in doubt, his seven wins arguably made all the more impressive by the way he'd follow them with reverse grid 'eighth-to-podium' successes. Save for an iffy race at Silverstone, he scored well in every race and led runner-up Alexander Ross by 160 points at the close.
5 – Lewis Hamilton
1st in the Formula 1 World Championship
Compared with his occasionally arduous run to the 2014 title, Lewis Hamilton made it look relatively easy in 2015. Granted he had another dominant car beneath him and when it came to on-track battles he only ever saw Nico Rosberg and occasionally Sebastian Vettel in his mirrors, but Hamilton was in control this year. His wins from pole position during the first two-thirds of the year set him on a course for a title that was never in question. The odd misstep aside – namely Hungary -, Hamilton grew mentally in 2015 and seemed all the more relaxed for it. The final trio of races may raise some questions over the winter, but do little to overshadow his accomplishments before that.
4 – Jorge Lorenzo
1st in the MotoGP World Championship
He may have spent much of the season chasing Valentino Rossi, but Jorge Lorenzo was ahead when it mattered as he reeled off his third MotoGP World Championship title. His rivalry with Rossi may have been the backbone of the championship, but it was his team-mate's clash with Marc Marquez that arguably overshadowed the eventual outcome. Credit remains due to Lorenzo though – he was the most successful rider in terms of race wins and the blemish of his one DNF at Misano was the only reason he didn't win more comfortably. He wasn't the 'people's champion' so to speak, but given the mental blocks that afflicted him in 2014, title number three is arguably his most deserving.
3 – Valentino Rossi
2nd in the MotoGP World Championship
The return to prominence by Valentino Rossi in 2014 proved to be one of motorsport's big stories last year, but it was merely a prelude to the proper 'comeback tour' in 2015. With the Honda camp floundering as Dani Pedrosa battled injury and Marc Marquez battled his bike, Rossi emerged as the rider to beat in the early rounds. At his flamboyant and spectacular best, Rossi harked back to the days that made him legend and proved skill never ages. Argument will forever rage about 'that' incident with Marquez and whether it cost him the crown, but forgetting that for a moment, Rossi's performance in 2015 after so many years out of the title race, was one to behold... for that reason we give him the smallest of nods over his team-mate here.
2 – Sebastian Vettel
3rd in the F1 World Championship
Ferrari may have made a big step forward over the winter, but it was Sebastian Vettel that took the team the extra mile as he marked his debut with the Scuderia
in spectacular style. A vindicating season for anyone that may have doubted his quality after four title wins, Vettel was more than a niggling thorn in the side of the Mercedes' and at times made it a three-horse race in what should have been a two-man walkover. His three wins in 2015 were as dominant and accomplished as you'll see in F1, making him far more than simply 'best of the rest'
1st – Jonathan Rea
1st in the World Superbike Championship
Rapid, skilled and loyal, few could doubt Jonathan Rea of being anything less, but it is arguably that latter trait that has prevented him from fully capitalising on the former two… that is, until 2015. Though many have always suspected Rea was destined for a greater reward than he could conjure on the Honda machinery he persevered with for 6 seasons, his move to Kawasaki finally exposed him as one of World Superbikes' greatest performers with a truly dominant title turn. The statistics make for impressive reading – 26 races, 14 wins and 9 podiums. Even the three remaining were two fourths and a technical DNF whilst leading! Enjoying an immediate rapport with the ZX-10R – itself not a bike in the first flush of youth -, Rea was composed, unruffled and utterly faultless from start to finish. No rider has worked harder in their World Superbike career, so while Rea's dominance may have frustrated rivals, there were few – if any – who would begrudge him his long awaited moment in the sun. And that respects is shared here, which is why Jonathan Rea is granted Crash.net's motorsport star of 2015