The 2015 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 2015:
10. McLaren 650S GT3 – The new-for-2015 mid-engined sports car put McLaren back on the map in championships around the world, with the 650S GT3 scoring a pair of Blancpain Endurance Series victories and also enjoying success in Pirelli World Challenge, where Kevin Estre scored a series-high four wins with K-PAX with Flying Lizard Motorsports.
9. Ligier JS P2 – Onroak Automotive’s new prototype proved to be the class of the field in LMP2 this year, with the Ligier JS P2 scoring five wins out of eight races in the WEC with its satellite team, G-Drive Racing. It also had strong showings with its U.S.-based customers Michael Shank Racing and Krohn Racing, although coming up winless in both IMSA and ELMS, but due to a combination of bad luck, driver combinations and tire choices.
8. Bentley Continental GT3 – The second season of the Bentley Continental GT3 delivered wins on three continents, both in the Blancpain Sprint Series and Pirelli World Challenge. Absolute Racing, meanwhile, claimed the GT Asia Teams’ Championship following numerous victories in the highly competitive championship, again showcasing the strength of the V8-powered beast.
7. Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 – “Godzilla” lived up to its reputation by taking the GT3 world by storm. The Nissan GT-R racked up wins in the Blancpain Endurance Series, Pirelli World Challenge, the Bathurst 12 Hour, while also claiming the Super GT300 championship with the Jim Gainer team and driver Andre Couto.
6. Corvette DP – Despite facing limited competition, Chevrolet’s Corvette DP dominated the IMSA Prototype class, scoring eight wins out of ten races, combined between the Coyote and Dallara-chassied models run by Action Express, VisitFlorida.com and Wayne Taylor Racing. Chevy once again took home the P class Manufacturers’ Championship for the second consecutive year.
5. Audi R8 LMS (new & ultra) – Audi continued to serve as the benchmark in GT3 competition worldwide, with both its new and previous-generation R8 LMS cars scoring numerous wins and championships. Audi Sport Team WRT’s victory in the Nurburgring 24, in the new-generation car’s 24-hour debut, came as the highlight for the German manufacturer, which is on track to sell more than 50 of the new mid-engined sports cars for 2016.
4. Corvette C7.R – With class victories at the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Twelve Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans, Pratt & Miller’s GTE contender had a standout year, although unable to deliver the IMSA GT Le Mans class title, arguably because of a series of mid-season Balance of Performance adjustments that hindered the strength of the car in the second half of the season.
3. Ferrari 458 Italia (GTE/GT3) – The Ferrari 458 Italia, in its final year of top-level competition, proved to still be a force to be reckoned with, in both GTE and GT3 form, with wins in all major series it competed in. The Prancing Horse also took SMP Racing to the WEC GTE-Am title, runner-up status in the WEC GT Manufacturers’ Cup and the IMSA GTD Manufacturers’ Championship, thanks to the success of Scuderia Corsa.
2. Porsche 911 RSR – With dominant seasons in WEC and IMSA, including a sweep of the GT class championships for both series, it’s difficult not to put the Porsche 911 RSR as the car of the year, but it certainty was the class of the field in the highly competitive GT ranks. Arguably aided by mid-season Balance of Performance adjustments, the rear-engined beast was still a top performer, with the overall win at Petit Le Mans among the highlights from a remarkable year.
1. Porsche 919 Hybrid – Porsche took on Audi and Toyota, and not only won, but blew the competition away, scoring six out of eight wins with the 919 Hybrid and winning the drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers’ world titles in only its second year in the LMP1 class. The highlight for the year came at Le Mans, where the battery-based hybrid finished 1-2, giving the German manufacturer its first overall win at La Sarthe in nearly 20 years.