It's that time of year where lists of things abound and winners are announced. To keep in step with the festive season and the requirement to look back over the year to see who has done what, here's my take on the motorsport year and a list of category winners.

After much consultation, well inside my own head really, and with tongue hovering very close to cheek, here are the 2017 notables.

Most Improved - Brendon Hartley
When you're at the bottom of the heap and have talent it's pretty easy to make big leaps up the ranks. However, if you're already a two-time world champion and Le Mans 24 Hour winner, it's damn hard to move the needle much. Hartley took a leap of faith by making a phone call, making the most of a golden opportunity and is now a full time Formula One driver. He always had the talent and now has the mental fortitude to achieve anything he wants.

Most consistent - Earl Bamber
No matter what you stick Bamber in he'll be either winning, on the podium or damn close to it. He, won his second Le Mans 24 Hours and a World Endurance Championship title in 2017. He also raced successfully in GT cars in Asia and America and also the odd stint in Europe long distance races as well as the Bathurst 12 Hour. He's now signed up as Shane van Gisbergen's co-driver for the Pirtek Enduro Cup in 2018 so expect at least one podium in Supercars in 2018.


Most Valuable - Scott Dixon
If you want to be in the hunt for a title and have a driver who never gives up, Dixon is your man. He has won at least one IndyCar race each year since 2005 and has only finished outside the top six once since 2006. Despite suffering a massive crash at the Indy 500 this year, and being taken out in the following race, Dixon still managed to finish third in the 2017 season and was in hunt for a fifth title right until the last race.

Best Battler - Hayden Paddon
No matter how much bad luck, mechanical gremlins, and at times self inflicted grief, heaped on his shoulders in one year, Paddon never let the buggers get him down. Right from the start of the season, at Monte Carlo where a spectator died, Paddon has been dogged by issues including a change of co-driver and being told he's sharing duties in 2018 with a new teammate. Hanging tough, Paddon finished the season with his head help high and a podium finish at Rally Australia.

Almost There - Scott McLaughlin
The young Kiwi had his first Supercars title in sight at the last round of the season only for it be snatched away by a myriad of reason's including his own frustration. However, over the season McLaughlin was the dominant driver notching up 16 poles and eight wins and with DJR Team Penske teammate Fabian Coulthard were the dominant team. If he can learn from the master seven-time champion Jamie Whincup that point's mean prizes he'll be a shoo-in for 2018 champion.

Series of the Year - IndyCar
With Formula One looking more and more like a driver's pre-race parade, have a gander at IndyCar to have you on the edge of your seat. There's more excitement than you can poke a stick at; 10 different winners in one season, races on two different types of ovals, road courses and street tracks. And of course you have "The greatest Spectacle in Racing" the Indianapolis 500. For the past seven years the title has been decided at the last race of the season, so the organisers have done something right.

Stuff Up of the Year - FIA
In an incredible step backwards for women in motorsport the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile have appointed Carmen Jorda to the Women in Motorsport Commission. It's not so much her lack of race achievement that has caused concern, it's her comment that women can't compete against men and should have their own women-only competition. If you step back a bit and look at it, it's not surprising considering the FIA is run by a bunch of middle-aged white men who probably think women shouldn't be racing anyway.