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SPORTSCAR365: Top 10 Cars of 2016

Sportscar365 continues its countdown with Top 10 cars of 2016…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

The 2016 sports car racing season saw standout performances from a number of drivers and teams, but couldn’t have been achieved without the winning car underneath them.

Sportscar365 continues its end-of-year review with a look at the Top 10 cars of 2016:

10. Ligier JS P3 – Sales, and the success of the Onroak Automotive-built entry level prototype have exploded in 2016, with nearly 100 Ligier JS P3s built, and competing in various championships worldwide. United Autosports took the car to the European Le Mans Series LMP3 title, in a class that saw all-Ligiers for the majority of the season.

9. Audi R8 LMS – Class victory in the Rolex 24 at Daytona and overall honors in the Hankook 24 Hours of Dubai highlighted Audi’s successful full season of customer racing with the new-generation R8 LMS, which also included the ADAC GT Masters title.

8. Corvette DP – The final year for the tubeframed prototype was capped off with its third consecutive IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title by Action Express Racing, despite strong challenges from P2-based machinery throughout the season. The Coyote and Dallara-chassised examples are now headed to retirement, or for historic racing.

7. Ford GT – Despite BoP controversy, the Multimatic-built supercar proved to be one of the most successful cars in international sports car racing, with Ford Chip Ganassi Racing having claimed a historic class victory at Le Mans, and finishing runner-up in both the WEC and IMSA championships with numerous wins.

6. Mercedes-AMG GT3 – The German manufacturer’s new GT3 contender made a splash in 2016, with a 1-2-3-4 sweep at the Nürburgring 24, a controversial outing at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, and propelling HTP Motorsport to the overall Blancpain GT Series teams’ championship. The car also enjoyed success in other championships worldwide, having racked up 18 overall wins and 32 podium finishes.

5. McLaren 650S GT3 – The British supercar had another strong year, with victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour and numerous wins in Pirelli World Challenge and the Blancpain GT Series, en route to drivers’ titles in both, as well as the teams’ and manufacturers crowns in PWC.

4. Oreca 05 – Regularly the quickest LMP2 car in Europe, the French constructor claimed seven out of nine class victories in the WEC, with the Alpine-badged entry having also taken the LMP2 World Championship. Additionally, Oreca 05s earned four out of six wins in ELMS competition, making for a dominant season in numbers.

3. Ligier JS P2 – While not having quite the success as ORECA in the WEC or ELMS, Onroak Automotive achieved the North American trifecta of endurance race victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring with Tequila Patron ESM, and Petit Le Mans with Michael Shank Racing. It marked the first constructor to do so since Ferrari with the legendary 333SP in 1998.

2. Corvette C7.R – The Pratt & Miller-built car continued its mark on the GT racing scene this year, with four GTLM class victories, including repeat wins at Daytona and Sebring, as well as claiming Corvette Racing’s 100th win at Lime Rock. It culminated with the WeatherTech Championship title for Oliver Gavin and Tommy Milner.

1. Porsche 919 Hybrid – Porsche was again the benchmark in the WEC, with the updated 919 Hybrid claiming six wins out of nine races, including the German manufacturer’s 18th overall Le Mans crown, en route to back-to-back Manufacturers World Championships. Even though the competition had quicker cars at times, reliability issues for the Audi R18 and only occasional flashes from Toyota proved Porsche again had the most well-rounded LMP1 Hybrid in the world.

The latest news, photos and video features from the trusted Sportscar365 web staff.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Larry

    December 28, 2016 at 10:21 am

    No way that ANY DP should be in the top 10 anything except “top 10 antiquated and unsafe”.

    They were only competitive because NASCAR slowed the P2s way down to the tune of 3 seconds a lap at Daytona when the merger occurred.

    A tubeframe chassis compared to a monocoque safety wise is a joke. Wouldn’t pass an ACO crash test.

    • jason

      December 28, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Corvette DP is a great. Fast, good looking and reliable. I hated all the other DP renditions but the Corvette model was a home run

    • Hooly

      December 28, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      Gidley would be dead if he was in a P2 car when he wrecked at Daytona. Thank god they put roofs on the new ones

    • mark e lewis

      December 29, 2016 at 10:53 pm

      Sorry Larry,
      The fact is I was at the initial DP/P2 test at Daytona. After IMSA allowed the DP to have carbon brakes, equal HP and a defuser, the DP out of the box was a full TWO SECONDS faster than the fastest P2.

      I have no idea where you get your propaganda but they are either revisionists or meth heads!

  2. Helmuth

    December 28, 2016 at 10:27 am

    Audi R8 LMS had more wins in Blancpain and worldwide championships than McLaren They shared the Blancpain team endurance championship with McLaren and beat them by far in the team sprint cup not to mention their wins in the VLN championship I personally will put them ahead of the Mclaren

  3. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    December 28, 2016 at 11:15 am

    Toyota TS050 P1 and Audi R18 should be on here over the GT3 cars. Both are more innovative and had their moments where they shined.

    • N8

      December 28, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      I’ll mostly remember this R18 for it’s lack of serviceability. Pace was good, but when problems hit, it was in the garage for an eternity. That was it’s undoing at pretty much every round.

    • KW

      December 28, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Agree that at least the Toyota TS050 should be within the top 10; this car is a huge step ahead after the 2015 car, and it was on the level of Porsche and Audi with maybe 50% of the budget spent.
      When coming to the GT cars, the Ferrari 488 should be on the list – a very good machine both in drivetrain efficiency and aerodynamics efficiency, and a true money-worth package for the customers in GT3 and GTE.

    • TF110

      December 28, 2016 at 5:57 pm

      Exactly. The Toyota and Audi were great cars. The TS050 especially compared to the ’15 version of the TS040. It nearly won LM on it’s first try and took Fuji with a design that was compromised towards Le Mans. They should be up there instead of ‘Vette’ D(bo)P.

      • GTurner38

        December 29, 2016 at 8:07 pm

        Being compromised towards Le Mans is an advantage at Fuji, hence it also being a good circuit for Ford. Really, I’d have a hard time saying either the Toyota or Audi prototypes deserve to be in the top 10 given Porsche’s dominance. You have to compare them to their direct competition.

        I’d put the Ligier JS P3 higher simply because from a business standpoint, nothing has done near as well. It’s not as if other options aren’t available.

    • David Chaste

      December 28, 2016 at 6:14 pm

      Simply because the R18 and Toyota P1 are more advanced does not mean they should be above GT3 cars. It’s how well each car dominates its direct competition. In P1 hybrid the Toyota came last i believe. Meanwhile the R8 LMS, Mclaren and Mercedes GT3 are tops against their direct competition.

  4. Alex

    December 28, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Since nobody else will mention it, I will….the Callaway C7 GT3 Made a highly impressive debut this season among cars with 10 times its development budget, to not only beat them in the tough ADAC GT Series (in only its 4th ever race), but almost won the title in its first season (despite severe BOP disadvantages).

  5. Rick

    December 28, 2016 at 11:57 am

    I’m an old ALMS guy; however, I believe that the newly combined series did a good job of updating the technology and performance of the DPs thereby bringing them into the 21st century and making them a fast, reliable class of race cars. On the other hand I didn’t appreciate IMSA giving performance restrictions to the LMP2s. This not only made them less competitive, but also made the delusional old GA fans mistakenly believe that their beloved DPs were superior race cars. In spite of all this, I gained a lot of respect for the updated DPs, especially those powered by the Corvette V8 engines which made them sound even more ferocious than the GTLM Vettes. Fortunately, the new DPi cars utilize the ACO LMP2 chassis designs but with unlimited engine options, giving them superior performance characteristics than their ACO spec’ counterparts; the GTD class has gone to the very popular GT3 format; and the already great GTLM cars have been given even more performance. Sorry to see the LMPC cars go away because they gave us some highly competitive racing and brought in some talented professional and gentlemen drivers. All in all, the new IMSA Weathertech series has evolved into something much greater than many of us could have imagined.

    • jason

      December 28, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      Agreed I predict 2017 to be a great year for the series

    • Troll Me

      December 28, 2016 at 11:50 pm

      BTW, the P2s gained power and even lost weight in some cases. The only handicap was that they used DP tires.

      IMSA had the wisdom to allow the HPD DAYTONA PROTOTYPE ENGINE in the Ligier, and the DP engine in a P2 chassis was a winning combo.

      Say, what happened to that concept? Oh yeah, DPi.

      The Daytona Prototype don’t need your adoration.

      Just respect.

      • GTurner38

        December 29, 2016 at 8:11 pm

        If the only handicap is to use tires that were made for a completely different car, that can be handicap enough. Add in the fact that for the first two seasons it was quite clear that the DP had an advanatage in straight line speed while the LMP2 found its pace in the corners, it made it really hard to actually race. I’m glad they finally got the BoP right for the final season.

  6. JamieR

    December 28, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    Some of the Ford and Risi fanboys that frequently appear on comments here must be bitter to see the C7R at #2.

    • TF110

      December 28, 2016 at 6:01 pm

      Ford won Le Mans their first year back. These lists matter not to the actual manufacturers especially when you achieve what you set out to do.

  7. David Chaste

    December 28, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    So the article says the Coyote (AXR) and the Dallara Corvette (WTR) are headed for retirement or historics. So is there a different fate for the Riley Corvette that Spirit of Daytona/Visit Florida was running? I thought all the Corvette’s were being retired.

    • Nick S

      December 28, 2016 at 11:15 pm

      It may be that the fate of those chassis is know, while the Visit Florida car’s isn’t.

    • Not Troll Me

      December 28, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      Someone already bought the WTR Dallara Corvette DPs.

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