Your votes are in, we’ve counted them and the winners have been announced. Motor Sport Magazine’s annual Hall of Fame awards took place at a star-studded evening at the Royal Automobile Club’s Woodcote Park estate in Surrey, on May 31.
More than 25,000 votes were cast by you – the readers – to decide which great figures from the worlds of Formula 1, sports car racing, motorcycling, rallying and US motor sport would enter our Hall of Fame. Some of the categories were closely fought, particularly the sports car polling, but the results were clear and we are proud to announce the winners for each of the five categories below.
A full report on the evening, including exclusive interviews with key guests, will be published in next month’s magazine. For now though, here are the newest entrants to Motor Sport’s Hall of Fame.
Professor Sid Watkins
Forget winning races, Sid Watkins saved lives. The wry doctor from Liverpool was at the forefront of Formula 1 safety for more than 30 years, until his death aged 84 in 2012. He played a key role trackside in the aftermath of many accidents, but it was his insistence on a number of structural safety improvements in the sport that will be his lasting legacy.
Bell’s record speaks for itself: he won the Le Mans 24 Hours five times, the Word Sports Car Championship twice and the Daytona 24 Hours three times, having previously raced in Formula 2 and F1. Bell was a top-line star from the days of the Porsche 917 through to the McLaren F1 and was always a fan favourite, as our poll emphasised once again.
Some categories were close. This one wasn’t. The Italian maestro romped home with an overwhelming number of votes. With 113 Grand Prix wins (and counting) placing him second in the all-time list, Rossi’s mercurial talents have done much to raise the profile of his sport. As well as winning world championship titles a remarkable nine times, Rossi is the only rider ever to wear all the 125cc, 250cc, 500cc and MotoGP crowns. Saluti.
Gymnastics’ loss was motor sport’s gain. Loeb quit the parallel bars to focus on driving 20 years ago and went on to become the most successful driver in World Rally Championship history winning the title a record nine times. After a brief dalliance with touring cars, Loeb is now back doing what he does best – using the handbrake and thrilling crowds – in this season’s World Rallycross Championship.
The Californian was the only personality to feature in two Hall of Fame categories this year after also being nominated in F1. He invented the traditional champagne celebration as well as the Gurney flap, but it is his record as one of the sport’s great all-rounders that surely swung the vote his way. Indycars, NASCAR, Trans-Am, Can-Am, sports car and, yes, F1 were all part of his portfolio – and he was a winner in all of them.