dsc 2005 Awards 29 – European Spirit of Racing Award
Oddly there is a nomination here that has had little
to do with sportscar racing for a decade, the naming of Alex Zanardi
though was one with which we all agreed – Racing is the richer
for his presence.
Kazumichi Goh’s efforts to put life back into
the international aspirations of Japanese sportscar racing was another
effort that quite correctly garnered praise.
From the ranks of gentleman racers one name often
crops up as being a true embodiment of the term. Always ready with
advice, contacts, and encouragement. Mauro Caseidi gets a deserved
From the realm of national racing comes a man who
famously drives anything, and always drives it very quickly indeed.
Whether it was the F1 cars he pedaled in the BOSS series, through
a multitude of GT and sportscars he is rightly regarded as one of
the quickest (and most infectiously cheerful) men around.
The story of Martin Short’s racing career
would make a great novel – Only most readers would regard
it as a fantasy. From the club racing through one make Rover and
TVR campaigns and then into the sportscar racing ranks – A
self built TVR Cerbera, the early development of the Tuscan R and
then the Mosler project and the brave attempt to bring the Noble
marque into frontline national GT racing. Latterly of course the
brave and successful project to bring his beloved Dallaras back
to the fore, a campaign which, if things had been a little different
could have resulted in the title for his Rollcentre squad. His campaign
in 2006 with the Radical SR9 shows once again that Short defies
the obvious and the fans love him for it.
What more can be said about the team that Mike Jankowski
and Ian Bickerton brought out to play?
From the Lister Storms they battled away with in
the FIA GT Championship through to the DBA they have battled away
to develop into a race winner. With plans for an expanded campaign
still very much on the cards for 2006 their position as a fan favourite
will only be strengthened. And who would now bet against them scoring
that first win (and perhaps more!)?
The winner here though is a man that, It must be
said, has sometimes had something of a reputation for being less
than a ray of sunshine. In 2005 though he made a very brave attempt
indeed at grabbing the crown at Le Mans in what might prove to have
been a tiny window of opportunity to exploit the hybrid regulations.
It so nearly paid off and indeed netted him the LMES LMP1 crown,
but there is no doubt whatsoever that the real game was Le Mans
and not only did the lead car come close to winning the race, the
second car grabbed enormous attention through the appearance of
the World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb on the driving squad.
What impressed several of our panel most of all
was that when the race was over and the Champion Audi had won, our
winner showed himself to be the consummate sportsman. Outwardly
cheerful in defeat and talking immediately of trying again in 2006,
his throw of the dice gave us a real race long contest for the win
which was not Audi vs Audi. And, who knows, with an as yet unproven
R10 and Zyteks running to hybrid regulations for the first time
in 2006, he might just have another reasonable shot at it this year
dailysportscar.com’s 2005 European
Award for the Spirit of Racing goes to Henri Pescarolo.