Crash is unveiling its top 100 from across the motorsport globe from 2017 with a countdown on each day until New Year’s Eve! Check back tomorrow for the top 80-61 entries and let us know if we’ve made the right choices.

Check out Crash's Top 100 for 2017: Part 1 (100-81) here

80. Leon Camier – World Superbike championship, 8th

The sole MV Agusta rider in World Superbikes once again showed how to extract the maximum out of a package struggling for punch against the bigger manufacturers at the sharp end of the grid. A pair of fourth places at Portimao and Magny-Cours saw the British rider narrowly miss out on the rostrum but his unwavering consistency enabled Camier to match his 2016 results down to the championship points – in 2016 and 2017 Camier finished eighth in the riders’ championship with 168 points.

79. Dane Cameron - IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, 2nd

Dane Cameron stood out as one of the IMSA series’ most talented drivers through 2017, leading Action Express Racing’s charge against the rival Taylor family team. While he was unable to retain his title alongside Eric Curran, taking just a single victory at Mosport, Cameron was strong throughout the season as proven by his quintet of additional podium finishes that kept him in the title hunt until late in the season.

Cameron will step up to a drive with the Penske-Acura team in 2018, and despite its line-up being stacked with talent including Ricky Taylor, Helio Castroneves and Juan Pablo Montoya, he could prove to be the key figure from the outset.

78. Pietro Fittipaldi - World Series Formula V8 3.5, champion

The World Series Formula V8 3.5 may have enjoyed its final hurrah in 2017, but Pietro Fittipaldi was able to sign off in style as the final champion of the series that has produced big F1 names such as Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz Jr. and Kevin Magnussen.

Fittipaldi’s second year in the category was an impressive one as he took six wins, eight poles and four podium finishes en route to the title that was wrapped up with one race to spare in Bahrain.

The Brazilian was rewarded with a test in the Porsche 919 Hybrid sports car just two days after his title victory, and is now eyeing a move into Formula 2 for next season.

77. Felipe Massa – F1, 11th

A retirement U-turn at the start of 2017 makes Massa’s inclusion on this list somewhat unexpected but his lead role at Williams ensured the British team finished a vital fifth in the F1 world constructors’ championship. The Brazilian’s best results of the whole season came inside his opening three races with a pair of sixth places but as a consistent top ten points scorer Massa matched his 2016 effort of 11th place in the F1 drivers’ standings and beat rookie team-mate Lance Stroll by three points before retiring - for good this time.

76. Thomas Luthi – Moto2 World Championship, 2nd

The experienced Moto2 campaign ended 2017 in a second consecutive runner-up spot in the riders’ world championship but conceded the title fight over the Asia flyaway races with two poor results in Japan and Australia before a season-ending injury in Malaysia. Despite the poor end to the year, Luthi impressed throughout 2017 with podium finishes in seven out of the opening eight rounds before finally reaching the top step of the rostrum in Brno and Misano. A long-awaited move up to MotoGP with Marc VDS Honda in 2018 is the reward for the Swiss rider.

75. Thomas Laurent - FIA WEC LMP2, 2nd

Every year, a so-called “dodgy silver” driver emerges in the WEC and Le Mans - and this year, it was unquestionably Thomas Laurent. The 19-year-old may have been ranked as an amateur in the driver ratings, but his talent behind the wheel of the Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca throughout the entire WEC season was undeniable.

Laurent played a key part in the team’s run to second overall at Le Mans, narrowly missing out on a famous victory, and was potent throughout the WEC campaign. Proof of his quality came at the final race in Bahrain when he was able to stay on-pace with the gold and platinum rated drivers, pulling out a gap of around 40 seconds on fellow silver Julien Canal at Rebellion in a single stint.

While Laurent missed out on the title, he was nevertheless rewarded with a Toyota LMP1 test for being the outstanding youngest in the WEC this year, and has also secured a Rebellion LMP1 drive for the 2018/19 super season. Least surprising of all? He’s been upgraded to a gold rating…

74. Takuma Sato - Indianapolis 500 winner; IndyCar, 8th

Takuma Sato’s IndyCar career was kept alive by Andretti following AJ Foyt’s move away from Honda power for 2017, yet it proved to be his most successful season to date, highlighted by a stunning victory at the Indianapolis 500.

Sato had been quick from the word go at Indy, qualifying an excellent fourth and remaining in the mix at the front of the pack throughout the race. A late duel with Max Chilton and Helio Castroneves pushed him to the limit, yet Sato was able to defend brilliantly, holding his advantage for the final four laps to become the first Japanese winner of the race.

Outside of his Indianapolis win, Sato took pole at Detroit and Pocono, as well as recording three additional top-five results, easily making 2017 the best of his eight years in IndyCar.

73. Michael van der Mark – World Superbikes (6th), Suzuka 8 Hours and MotoGP

A switch to the factory Yamaha World Superbike squad for 2017 paid off for van der Mark as he added consistency to his speed in the series with top ten finishes in 20 out of 26 races. Despite being shaded by team-mate Alex Lowes in the riders’ championship the Dutch rider led in Misano before tyre woes forced him out but a maiden Yamaha rostrum came in Portimao which was followed up with a second in Magny-Cours.

Outside of WSBK, van der Mark returned to the top step for a third time in his career at the Suzuka 8 Hours alongside Lowes and Katsuyuki Nakasuga, his first triumph with Yamaha, plus a pair of solid results as a stand-in rider for Jonas Folger at Tech 3 Yamaha in MotoGP at Sepang and Valencia.

72. Alex Lowes – World Superbikes (5th), Suzuka 8 Hours

A fourth full World Superbike campaign proved to be somewhat of a breakthrough for the British rider with his best results finishing fifth in the final riders’ championship. A memorable home rostrum at Donington Park came as fair reward after finishing in fourth place in four of the opening five races in 2017. Three further rostrums followed this season to become the consistent ‘best of the rest’ behind the dominant factory Kawasaki and Ducati riders. Lowes also successfully defended the Suzuka 8 Hours alongside Katsuyuki Nakasuga and new team-mate Michael van der Mark.

71. Jake Dixon – British Superbikes (6th) plus World Superbike and Moto2 wildcards

Bouncing back from a nasty injury which prematurely ended his 2016 campaign, Jake Dixon produced a shock maiden double victory in BSB at Knockhill to ignite a top six Showdown spot which was secured at the final race. A last to fourth charge at a wet Oulton Park will live long in the memory for the 21-year-old as he finished sixth in the riders’ championship.

A strong wildcard showing in WSBK with ninth place in race two at Donington Park cemented his quality while the British rider also enjoyed a Moto2 debut at Silverstone finishing 25th.

70. Thed Bjork – World Touring Car Championship, 1st

The multiple Scandinavian Touring Car champion stormed to the WTCC title after early championship leader Tiago Monteiro was ruled out by injury in a testing crash. Despite just two wins and five additional rostrums all season the Swede’s consistency proved vital having missed out on a points finish in just two races all season.

69. Jean-Eric Vergne - Formula E, 5th; LMP2, 10th

Jean-Eric Vergne’s decision to link up with the newly-formed Techeetah team for Formula E’s third season appeared to be a gamble, but it paid off handsomely for the ex-F1 racer as he ended a lengthy win drought dating back almost six years.

Vergne regularly featured at the front of the Formula E field in 2017, taking five podiums and one race win, coming at the season finale in Montreal, and followed it up with his fifth pole in the series for the season four opener in Hong Kong at the start of December. He’s quietly being tipped to get in the thick of the title fight through 2018.

Vergne was by far the quickest in his team in the WEC also, leading Manor’s charge and putting in some remarkably consistent and long stints at Le Mans. The team’s haul of just a single podium does little justice for his own displays.

68. Marco Melandri – World Superbikes, 4th

Absent from this list for the past two years, Marco Melandri charged back into the spotlight with the factory Ducati squad in World Superbikes. The Italian rider demonstrated he’d lost none of his speed despite two years away from the series thanks to multiple rostrums (13 in total) capped by a sole victory in race two at Misano. Despite being outperformed by team-mate Chaz Davies, Melandri produced a respectable campaign which resulted in fourth place in the riders’ championship and something to build on for 2018.

67. Joel Eriksson - FIA European Formula 3, 2nd

Joel Eriksson may have lost out to rookie Lando Norris in the fight for the FIA European Formula 3 title in 2017, but the Swede once again stood out as one of the brightest young talents in junior motorsport with a solid campaign.

Seven wins including three-on-the-bounce late in the year lifted Eriksson to second overall in the final standing, beating the highly-rated Prema duo of Max Gunther and Callum Ilott, and was in contention for victory at Macau before light contact with Ilott ended his hopes.

Eriksson will step up to DTM full-time in 2018 with BMW, and looks poised to enjoy a bright future under the German manufacturer’s wing if this season is anything to go by.

66. Josh Brookes – British Superbikes (2nd), Isle of Man TT, Suzuka 8 Hours, WSBK

After a frustrating year in World Superbikes, Brookes enjoyed an intense 2017 racing programme beginning with a privateer entry into the Phillip Island WSBK season opener. A full BSB return ended with the Australian only narrowly missing out on the riders’ title having been a contender against factory-backed Shane Byrne and Leon Haslam throughout 2017.

Brookes also made his road racing comeback on the Isle of Man TT with strong showings for Norton, plus a maiden roads victory in the Senior Classic TT, and to cap it off he was part of the Yoshimura Suzuki squad which finished seventh at the Suzuka 8 Hours.

65. Johan Kristoffersson - FIA World RX, champion

After finishing third in 2015 and second in 2016, Johan Kristoffersson completed his climb to the top of the FIA World Rallycross standings this year to clinch a maiden world title for Petter Solberg’s VW-backed team.

Kristoffersson was able to overhaul Mattias Ekstrom’s early advantage and take control of the championship with a run of five consecutive wins, starting in Hell (the track in Norway) and running to Riga. Four straight podiums preceded this run, giving him a comfortable margin of victory come the end of the season.

Outside of World RX, Kristoffersson went on a separate five-race winning streak in the Scandinavian Touring Car Championship, where despite only featuring in 12 of the 21 races he was able to finish fourth in the final standings with eight poles to his name.

64. Jonas Folger – MotoGP, 10th

The MotoGP rookie may have been outshone by fellow debutant and Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Johann Zarco, but the German rider demonstrated his talents with consistent points finishes while finding his feet in the premier class.

A storming maiden podium with second place at his home race in the wet shocked most of his rivals to set up an encouraging end to the year but a bad illness curtailed his campaign before the Asia flyaway races which saw him drop to tenth in the overall riders’ world championship standings.

63. Cal Crutchlow – MotoGP, 9th

Fresh from a breakthrough season in MotoGP with his maiden race wins, making British history in the process, Crutchlow’s best result came in his second race with third place in Argentina but a handful of top five finishes maintained his spot at the sharp end of the MotoGP order. Despite not reaching the podium again after Argentina, the British rider has been rewarded with a greater role at Honda with a HRC contract and took on the bulk of testing duties at Jerez in November for the factory squad.

62. Bruno Senna - FIA WEC LMP2, champion

It seems remarkable that Bruno Senna had gone through his entire racing career without winning a championship, yet it was not until the final lap of the WEC season that he was able to celebrate after a tense finish to the LMP2 title fight.

Senna had led Rebellion’s charge for much of the year, taking class podiums at every race but Le Mans, yet he and teammate Julien Canal looked set to lose out to Jackie Chan DC Racing in the Bahrain title decider as they trailed by 40 seconds with less than two hours to go.

Senna was able to put in a big final stint to drag the team back into contention despite the power steering failing on his car, forcing him to haul it home as a strategy blinder vaulted them into the lead. Even with Oliver Jarvis catching in the closing stages, Senna held on to take his fourth win in five races and finally become a racing champion.

61. Alexander Rossi - IndyCar, 7th

Alexander Rossi may not have repeated his shock Indianapolis 500 victory from 2016 this year, but this was unquestionably a more consistent and well-rounded IndyCar campaign from the former Manor F1 racer.

Rossi qualified an excellent third for the Indy 500 and finished up seventh, yet his best form came late in the year. His conversion of pole into victory at Watkins Glen was masterful as he defeated IndyCar veterans Scott Dixon and Helio Castroneves after close battles, and additional podiums in Toronto and Pocono proved the American is worthy of a place at IndyCar’s top table.

Rossi’s efforts were enough to secure him a place with Andretti’s full squad as of 2018, having raced under the Bryan Herta Racing umbrella for his first two years in IndyCar. He now has the chance to flourish and really emerge as a force in the series.

Crash is unveiling its top 100 from across the motorsport globe from 2017 with a countdown on each day until New Year’s Eve! Check back tomorrow for the top 80-61 entries and let us know if we’ve made the right choices.



Loading Comments...