DSC Awards 2004 – North America – Part 1

Driver of The Year
Andy Wallace was one of only two drivers to feature in the overall voting in this contest, his efforts in both ALMS for Dyson Racing and in Grand-Am with the Citgo Crawford certainly worthy of note, DSC’s Editor asking “Do DPs suit his style or what? You don’t have to have the fastest car, but if you’ve got all that crafty knowledge and speed, anything can happen.”

The winner though was the overwhelming popular choice after a dominant 2005 which brought him his first ALMS title, on the back of six race wins in the series, and a season which saw the Champion Audi driver finish on the podium of every single race he started - with some truly stunning drives to put him there.

dailysportscar.comThe 2004 DSC Driver of the Year for North American racing is JJ Lehto
“JJ Lehto finally got his championship, the first since 1988. He did it with a smile, grit, and bulldog kind of competitive spirit. He did it without any malice – except for the tuxedo part – since missing the one he deserved in 1999.” Tom Kjos

“No doubt - JJ... ‘for sure you know’, with a huge assist from the vastly underrated all-rounder Marco Werner.” Regis Lefebure

“I have to go with JJ. Why? Because I think he’s the best damn driver in the country.” Jeannie Kjos.

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Car of The Year
The Audi R8 has had a fabulous year and again attracted the attention of the voting panel. It won almost everywhere but, as at Mosport, it came an honourable second here. Bill Riley’s Daytona Prototype featured too, “not because it was the most exciting car on US sportscar tracks in ’04, but because of the margin of its superiority, when the target was supposed to be ‘equality’ "(MC).

The winning car was in its swansong season in 2004 as a frontline factory fielded car. With a revised driver squad and Michelin rubber it steamrollered all before it and, on its one European trip, got payback against its Anglo-Italian nemesis at Le Mans. The opposition will no doubt be hoping that its replacement needs a development year – don’t count on it!

dailysportscar.comThe 2004 DSC Car of the Year for North American racing is the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R
“More than once, I was told by other GTS competitors that coming into the season, they really felt that they had made great strides and expected to be right there with the Corvettes. That is until the ‘Vettes hit the track!” Gary Horrocks

“I can’t bring myself to penalize this wonderful machine in its final season just because its opposition was weak in terms of numbers.” Tom Kjos

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Team of the Year
This category was a close call between three main contenders, two established players and one newcomer: The new kids on the block was Flying Lizard Motorsports, registering podium finishes at race after race and registering real intent for 2005. Champion Racing came very, very close to the crown here, after a stellar season. The winners though were another truly world class outfit, with the strength running through the driving squad, equipment, strategy, technical nous and a seemingly ever increasing ability to engage the ordinary fan.

dailysportscar.comThe 2004 DSC Team of The Year for North American Motorsport is Corvette Racing
“Doug Fehan and Co are the epitome of World Class the American Way.” Graham Goodwin

“Yes, Corvette has the support of GM behind them, but sometimes the pressures that something like that brings can cause major problems.

"Corvette Racing was a steamroller - plain and simple.” Gary Horrocks

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Newcomer of the Year
Several differing nominations arose here, from the DBA Zytek that entertained the fans and the competitors in the closing races of the ALMS season, through the impressive form of Flying Lizards’ Lonnie Pechnik. Briton Ian James came close too, but was edged out in the final count by a team that came from nowhere to be amongst the hardest chargers in the hard fought GT class

dailysportscar.comThe 2004 DSC Newcomers of the Year for North American racing are Flying Lizard Motorsports
“Not many newcomers have made such a splash, or is that a wave, in sportscar racing. This team gave AJR all it could handle for quite some time in the earlier part of the season, plus its strategy at Daytona almost pushed the red and silver Porsche to the top in that race. If not for a few more laps there, who knows what may have happened.” Gary Horrocks

“Becoming so good so soon was a real turn up for the books. Daytona had suggested what could be done, Sebring foretold what would be done.” Malcolm Cracknell

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