THE CALL IT LIKE YOU SEE IT AWARD To Robby Gordon. It’s for pretty much everything he said while contesting the Dakar Rally in January. Many modern racers come across as vanilla, but not our Robby... Check out page 56.
Mobil 1, presenting partner
For more on Mobil 1 in racing,
of RACER of the Year, is once
again proud to join RACER in
celebrating the drivers, teams,
cars and events that defined the
last 12 months in motorsports.
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MOBIL 1 RACING
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR JAMES HINCHCLIFFE
Tyler Barrick/LA T
Paul di Resta impressed with Force India in Formula 1; JR Hildebrand nearly won the biggest race in the world; Trevor
Bayne did win the biggest race in NASCAR. But your pick for
Rookie of the Year is James Hinchcli;e, and we’re not surprised.
If ever a driver seemed to belong in the IZOD IndyCar Series from
the moment he made his debut, it’s“Hinch.” Qualifying eighth for
his first race showed his innate speed, but it was his work with
Newman/Haas Racing race engineer Craig Hampson, his openness
with his fast and experienced teammate Oriol Servia, and his
absorbing of technical details that ensured Hinchcli;e maintained
this momentum through the year. As Hampson said midseason,
“Compared to 15 years ago, when an IndyCar rookie would get
thousands of test miles before his first race, it’s unfair on James.
He hasn’t gotten any solid testing under his belt. Every race
weekend, we throw something new at him, but he’s unflappable.”
It’s terribly sad that an acid economy dissolved this combination
of talents, but we’re sure James will
flourish at Andretti Autosport.
The Motegi road course, new to all
IndyCar drivers, proved easy to overdrive in
qualifying; a relatively “green” racetrack
demands precision and restraint, and while
many series veterans floundered, James
delivered with fifth on the grid.
Hinch’s first IndyCar race was the second
round of 2011. But, despite missing the
opener, he was fast and consistent enough
to win IndyCar’s Rookie of the Year.
a few words from your winner... JAMES HINCHCLIFFE How cool is this? I’m shocked and honored. The rookie class through the whole of motorsports was very strong in 2011, so to come out ahead of guys like Trevor, Paul and JR is fantastic. Plus, it looks like I’m the first IndyCar driver to win this, which is an added bonus! We had such an up and down year on track, but as the season progressed we really started to find a rhythm. Running up front with guys like Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, etc., was a real education and a good feeling. A big thanks to RACER for putting this on, but even more
to the readers who voted. Some of my best memories
from 2011 are of meeting fans at the races. The IZOD
IndyCar Series really has the coolest fans! Thanks again
and I look forward to seeing everyone in 2012.
24 MARCH 2012 RACER.com