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Season Review

SPORTSCAR365: Rookie of the Year

Sportscar365 staff selects Jenson Button as its Rookie-of-the-Year for 2018…

Photo: Jenson Button FB

Following on from the top prototype and GT drivers of the year, Sportscar365’s staff has selected the standout rookie of the year in sports car racing competition worldwide.

Jenson Button

While sports car racing has seen numerous Formula One converts, this year saw none more high-profile in that of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

No doubt, the two-time F1 world champion Alonso proved to be a quick study at Toyota Gazoo Racing, winning the first three races with the Japanese manufacturer’s LMP1 hybrid, all the while the Spaniard’s former rival was making a name for himself in two completely different disciplines 

Button’s longstanding ties to Honda saw him compete in Super GT, sharing the wheel of Team Kunimitsu’s Honda NSX-GT with Naoki Yamamoto, a pairing that went all the way to the GT500 championship title, in the Englishman’s first full season in the highly competitive series.

The 2009 F1 world champion, meanwhile, made his FIA World Endurance Championship debut in the 24 Hours of Le Mans as part of SMP Racing’s BR Engineering BR1 AER lineup.

While not enjoying the same level of success as in Japan, largely due to the disparity between hybrid and non-hybrid LMP1 cars, the Englishman still managed to finish on the podium in Shanghai, while also routinely being the quickest driver within Russian squad and privater squads.

Fellow sports car rookie Alonso no doubt had more wins, although coming in a depleted field with essentially only one competitor. 

Button, meanwhile, showed his strength in two totally different platforms, and also successfully adjusting to the more laid-back approach of sports car racing, in being a readily approachable person in the paddock.

Honorable Mentions: Fernando Alonso (Le Mans winner, WEC points leader), Felipe Nasr (IMSA Prototype champion in first full season), Matt Campbell (Le Mans GTE-Am class win in GTE debut)

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

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