Classic Cars

Unveiling the Motor Sport Magazine’s “Race Car of the Century”

Motor Sport magazine, a titan in the world of automotive journalism, is celebrating its 100th anniversary in grand style. In a popular public poll titled the “Race Car of the Century,” nearly ten thousand votes have been cast to crown the most iconic competition car of the past century. The suspense is building, and the grand reveal is scheduled for Tuesday, July 2nd, during a star-studded gala at The Dorchester in London.

Race Car of the Century Cars on the Track

Gear Up for a Legendary Announcement

To mark this momentous occasion, Motor Sport curated a shortlist of ten all-time greats, spanning a decade each of its illustrious history. This diverse selection reflects the magazine’s unwavering commitment to covering a vast spectrum of motorsport disciplines.

A Hall of Fame on Wheels

The shortlisted contenders represent the pinnacle of automotive engineering and design across various eras. From the roaring twenties to the high-octane world of modern Formula 1, the nominees hail from legendary marques like Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar, and McLaren.

Cars in the Vote for Race Car of the Century

Behind the Wheel of Greatness

These racing icons were more than just technological marvels; they were piloted by the sport’s most celebrated drivers. Names like Birkin, Caracciola, Clark, Hill, Prost, Senna, and Vettel add another layer of historical significance to the shortlisted cars.

The Public Takes the Wheel

“We wanted to celebrate Motor Sport’s centenary in a way that truly engaged our readers,” says Joe Dunn, the magazine’s editor. “The ‘Race Car of the Century’ poll has captured the public’s imagination, exceeding our expectations in terms of both participation and the sheer variety of votes cast. This reflects the magazine’s rich history and its ongoing commitment to motorsport coverage.”

Racing Cars in the Race Car of the Century

A Glimpse into the Shortlisted Contenders

  • 1920s – Bentley Speed Six:
    • The car that put British motorsport on the map.
    • Two Le Mans wins (1924 & 1930) solidified its legendary status.
    • A symbol of British dominance in endurance racing.
  • 1930s – Mercedes W154 “Silver Arrow”:
    • Pre-war Grand Prix engineering at its peak.
    • Supercharged powerhouse with unmatched performance.
    • Defined an era before the world plunged into war.
  • 1940s – Ferrari 166:
    • The car that ignited the legend of the Prancing Horse.
    • Victories at Le Mans, Targa Florio, and Mille Miglia cemented its legacy.
    • A pivotal moment in Ferrari’s rise to motorsport fame.
  • 1950s – Jaguar D-type:
    • A post-war design masterpiece that redefined aesthetics and performance.
    • Le Mans 24 Hours champion, embodying the spirit of British innovation.
    • A true “Spitfire” of the racetracks.
  • 1960s – Lotus 49:
    • A revolutionary design by Colin Chapman, featuring a chassis integral with the body and a Cosworth DFV engine.
    • Blazed a new trail for Formula 1 car design, rendering competitors obsolete.
    • A legacy of innovative engineering.
  • 1970s – Porsche 917:
    • A dominant force in endurance racing, securing Porsche’s breakthrough wins at Le Mans.
    • Feared for its raw power and nicknamed “the beast” for a reason.
    • Engineering marvel that pushed the boundaries of performance, even getting banned twice!
  • 1980s – McLaren MP4/4:
    • An era-defining Formula 1 car, boasting 15 wins out of 16 races in 1988.
    • The perfect combination of a powerful Honda engine and exceptional drivers like Prost and Senna.
    • A true testament to teamwork and technological innovation, rewriting Formula 1 history.
  • 1990s – Subaru Impreza:
    • A rally legend that transcended the sport with its iconic blue livery and gold wheels.
    • The “boxer” engine rumble and the heroics of Colin McRae cemented its place in motorsport folklore.
    • A symbol of an era, inspiring a generation of rally car enthusiasts.
  • 2000s – Audi R8 LMP:
    • A game-changer in endurance racing, known for its reliability, fuel efficiency, and ease of maintenance.
    • Designed to conquer Le Mans, achieving five victories in six attempts.
    • A perfect blend of performance and practicality, proving that endurance racing can be efficient too.
  • 2010s – Red Bull RB9:
    • A record-breaking machine in the hands of Sebastian Vettel, with 13 wins from 19 races.
    • Designed by the legendary Adrian Newey, setting the standard for modern Formula 1 car design.
    • An embodiment of cutting-edge aerodynamics and engineering excellence.
Race Car of the Century Cars on the Track

The Grand Reveal Awaits

With the anticipation building, who will be crowned the ultimate “Race Car of the Century”?  Will it be the roaring Bentley Speed Six or the technologically advanced McLaren MP4/4? 

Who Gets Your Vote?

While we wait for the official announcement, let us know in the comments below which contender you believe deserves the title of “Race Car of the Century” and why? Share your passion for motorsport and discuss the factors that make a car truly legendary.

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