The readers of RACER
magazine and Racer.com have chosen IZOD IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay as their overall RACER of the Year and Road Racer of the Year for 2012.
Now in its 18th year, the RACER of the Year Awards presented by Hawk Performance is open to racers from a wide cross-section of motorsports series and determined entirely by reader voting. It's that breadth of competition and fan-powered format that gives RACER of the Year its prestige and makes it an accolade that racers want to win.
Past winners of the overall RACER of the Year include Tony Stewart, Michael Schumacher, John Force, Lewis Hamilton and Jimmie Johnson. In joining them, Hunter-Reay becomes the first overall winner from North American open-wheel racing since Paul Tracy in 2003, the first IZOD IndyCar Series Champion and first American-born open-wheel champion to win the prestigious award.
Over the course of the season, Hunter-Reay took four victories in his Andretti Autosport Dallara-Chevrolet, more than any other driver, taking two oval wins, at Milwaukee and Iowa, and two street-course wins at Toronto and Baltimore. He clinched the title in a tense season finale at Fontana, eventually beating Will Power (Team Penske Dallara-Chevrolet) by just three points.
Once again, RACER
magazine and Racer.com readers voted in record numbers, powering Hunter-Reay to a comfortable victory in both categories. The Andretti Autosport driver beat NHRA Pro Stock star Erica Enders, Top Fuel champ Antron Brown and Formula 1 aces Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel to the overall RACER of the Year title.
In Road Racer of the Year voting, he finished ahead of two previous winners of the category, IndyCar's Will Power and three-time and reigning F1 champ Vettel.
Ryan said: “I'm honored to have been chosen as the 2012 overall RACER of the Year as well as the Road Racer of the Year. A sincere thank you to all of those fans who took the time to vote. For consideration of this honor, my name was placed among distinguished drivers I feel privileged to be associated with, let alone to be the driver chosen. As the first Indy car driver selected since 2003, I'm proud to be able to represent IndyCar, Andretti Autosport and our partners DHL, Sun Drop and Chevrolet.
“While 2012 was a hard-fought season, it was also a dream season in so many ways and it certainly would not have been possible without the unwavering support I've received from our team, sponsors, my family and of course the fans. Thank you for pushing me to limits I deemed unattainable, that's what being a RACER is all about.”
editor David Malsher commented: “Ryan's clinching of a hard-earned IZOD IndyCar Series title was just the warm-up act for his biggest achievement of all – winning RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance. Seriously, it's fantastic to see that readers of RACER
magazine and Racer.com appreciate just what Ryan achieved last year, with victories on both ovals and street courses.
“The IZOD IndyCar Series has given us some dramatic closing rounds in recent years, and the final two races of 2012 neatly summed up Ryan's strengths: brilliant, daring driving in less than ideal track conditions at Baltimore, and keeping his head while driving an imperfect car at Fontana.
Malsher added: “As the champion, Ryan will be a credit to his team, his sponsors and IndyCar, like he always has been. But by being voted RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance, he's also proven able to capture the hearts and minds of the readers. We're pleased but not surprised by this: it's well deserved.”
Malsher will personally deliver both coveted RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance trophies to Hunter-Reay at a special IZOD IndyCar Series preseason event in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Thursday, March, 21 prior to the opening race of the series on Sunday, March 24.
Other winners voted for by RACER's readers include:
Oval Racer of the Year
– 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Brad Keselowski
Drag Racer of the Year
– 2012 NHRA Top Fuel Champion Antron Brown
Rookie of the Year
– NHRA Funny Car race-winner Courtney Force.
We'll be showcasing each of them on Racer.com during the remainder of the week.
's editors also selected these 2012 winners:
Car of the year:
Toyota TS030 Hybrid WEC LMP1 Hybrid
Sebastian Loeb, 9-time FIA World Rally Champion
Paul Pfanner, Founder and Executive publisher of RACER announced that Hawk Performance is now the presenting sponsor of the annual awards that will be expanded in 2013 to also include an “Amateur Racer of the Year presented by Hawk Performance” category. Pfanner commented, “Hawk Performance is the ideal partner for our RACER of the Year awards and their commitment to excellence is reflected in their high-quality products that are used by leading amateur and professional racers.”
He added: “Hawk's devotion to racers everywhere is exemplified by their 12-year partnership with the 40,000-member Sports Car Club of America. Our company has had the honor of publishing SportsCar Magazine since 1984 and it was the Hawk team's shared passion for amateur racers that was the impetus for expanding our awards to honor their achievements.”
The Spring 2013 issue of RACER includes full coverage of RACER of the Year presented by Hawk Performance, a wide-ranging interview with Hunter-Reay and the man he replaced as IZOD IndyCar Series champion, Dario Franchitti. The issue also features previews to the 2013 IndyCar, Formula 1, NASCAR, ALMS, Grand-Am, WEC and NHRA seasons.
RACER is beginning its 21st year of publication and is offered in print and digital editions and also in iTunes, Kindle and Android apps. It is also available at national bookstore newsstands in the USA and Canada. Visit www.racer.com for all the latest racing news and subscription offers.
To learn more about Hawk Performance products visit www.hawkperformance.com
Previous winners of the RACER of the Year:
Tony Stewart, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion
John Force, NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car Champion (his 15th title)
Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion
Kyle Busch, 8 wins in Sprint Cup, 10 in Nationwide, 3 in Craftsman Trucks
Lewis Hamilton, four wins and six poles in debut F1 season
Michael Schumacher, F1's all-time winner retires after battling for 8th title
Tony Stewart, NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Daytona 500 winner + 5 more NASCAR victories
Paul Tracy, CART Champ Car Series Champion
Michael Schumacher, F1 World Champion
Michael Schumacher, F1 World Champion
Michael Schumacher, F1 World Champion
Juan Pablo Montoya, CART Fed-Ex Series Champion
Jeff Gordon, NASCAR Winston Cup Series Champion
Tommy Kendall, 11 wins in a row to claim 3rd straight SCCA Trans-Am title
Jacques Villeneuve, On pole in first F1 start, won 4 races in his rookie season
1995: Jacques Villeneuve, CART PPG IndyCar World Series / Indy 500 Champ
● THE HAWK ADVANTAGE
Hawk Performance provides unbeatable braking performance for racers.
Hawk Performance has dominated the motorsports market since 1990, offering a wide variety of highly engineered friction products with features designed to exceed the demanding environments found in nearly every type of racing, including open-wheel, sports car/GT, club, and Autocross competition.
Decades of experience in developing friction materials for aerospace, industrial, military, automotive and motorsports applications give Hawk an advantage over the competition.
In motorsports, we're committed to understanding the specific needs of the racecar, the driver and the demands of the environment in which they perform. Continuous research, development and testing assure the constant improvement of our line of brake materials and offer racers unbeatable braking performance.
Hawk is the Official Brake Pad of the Pirelli World Challenge and the Official Brake Products of the SCCA for a 12th straight year.
Learn more at hawkperformance.com or find us on Facebook at facebook.com/hawkperformance