The RaceDepartment Awards are back and whilst there are no physical awards for the recipients, it is however a time to reflect upon and highlight the incredible achievements and contributions that the SimRacing community have made here at RaceDepartment this year. So without further ado as 2017 is less than 24 hours away, let's get on with it as we start the night with the most prestigious award of them all. Driver of the Year The Driver of the Year award is awarded to whom we believe to be the most impressive, dominant and complete driver to have taken part in the various leagues hosted on RaceDepartment throughout the year. Winning a championship requires incredible displays of skill, speed and intelligence in order to position yourself for the overall glory of RaceDepartment Champion. The nominees are: Ryan Seltzer - RaceDepartment Touring Car Champion of Season 10. Sun Levi - RaceDepartment Grand Prix Champion of Season 4. Charles Baccio - RaceDepartment IndyCar World Series Champion. Sakke Leponiemi - RaceDepartment Mazda MX5 Cup Champion. Erhan Jajovski - RaceDepartment MINI Challenge Co-Champion of Season 9. Hampus Soderberg - RaceDepartment MINI Challenge Co-Champion of Season 9. Matheus Machado - RaceDepartment Stock Car Champion of Season 4, and, Tuomas Tahtela - RaceDepartment Grand Touring Champion of Season 6. Spoiler: The 2016 RaceDepartment Driver of the Year is... Tuomas Tahtela! Taking domination of a series to a whole new level, Tuomas showed he had speed and finesse on tap as he comfortably won season 6 of the RaceDepartment GT Championship. Even though the GT Championship didn't require drivers to be present at all rounds, Tuomas took part in five of the six races, and won each one with an average margin of victory of 30 seconds. Dominance in every sense of the word. Most Improved Driver of the Year This award goes to the driver who we felt has made the largest improvement from one league season to the next. In a highly competitive environment, large scale improvements are hard to come by as the theory of diminishing returns plays a role: The more you improve, the harder it becomes to improve at the same rate. For this reason, the most improved drivers have accomplished an incredible feat even if they didn't win their respective titles as gaining places in such a highly strung and competitive field is the opposite of easy. It takes hard work and many hours of dedication to see the improvements that we have seen from the following drivers. The nominees are: Tony Binelli - RaceDepartment Stock Car Championship Season 4 Shawn Jacobs - RaceDepartment MINI Challenge Season 9 Alex Schmurtz - RaceDepartment Stock Car Championship Season 4 Gabriel Sterr - RaceDepartment Touring Car Championship Season 10 Jamie Pyatt - RaceDepartment Stock Car Championship Season 4 Charles Baccio - RaceDepartment IndyCar World Series Tobi Kederer - RaceDepartment Grand Prix Championship Season 4 Alex DiDomenicantonio - RaceDepartment MINI Challenge Season 9 Spoiler: The 2016 Most Improved Driver of the Year award goes to... Alex Schmurtz! Alex has made quick and effective progress to go from being a perpetual back-marker to a legitimate mid-field contender in just a matter of months. His consistency and ability to achieve impressive results in both the MINI Challenge and the Stock Car Championship (two virtually polar opposite vehicles) has been the hallmark of his improvement as a driver, as being able to adapt your driving style to suit different categories of racing is an essential part of competitive SimRacing. He won't tell you it because he is incredibly humble, but Alex's development this year has been so impressive that he earns our vote for Most Improved. Club Racer of the Year The RaceDepartment Clubs offer a casual, fun and friendly environment for drivers to hone their race craft and have a laugh with mates over TeamSpeak. For this reason, the Club Racer of the Year award is given to he (or she) whom we feel most embodies the spirit of Club Racing, whether that be always willing to provide helpful and friendly advice, adherence to the rules or just being generally hilarious over voice chat to help break the tension that can often envelop racing which by it's very nature is a competitive activity. However, because our clubs run over multiple timezones and geographical regions, we thought it would be unfair to elect a sole winner, and instead give out multiple winners in this instance. Spoiler: The 2016 Club Racers of the Year award goes to... Christian Moreau - European and U.S. Clubs for RaceRoom Racing Experience. A friendly, highly skilled and helpful face in the clubs, Christian brings a great attitude to the club scene and is always willing to give helpful tips to all. Steve Le Gallez - European Club for Automobilista. He may not always be battling for the lead, but you'll never find a friendlier chap to go racing with. Always a laugh and always fair, Steve is the ultimate embodiment of RD Club Racing. Bruce Joyce - European Club for RaceRoom Racing Experience. Similarly to Steve, he may not be taking many fastest laps, but that never stops him from trying hard, never giving up and remaining cheerful and friendly! Tony Binelli - Australian Club for Automobilista. Tony may well be the funniest member of RD you'll find on TeamSpeak. He's always around to help people when needed and has turned out to be pretty handy behind the wheel too as he took his APIA Racing machine to third place in this years VSCC and thereby earning himself a nomination for Most Improved. Giuseppe Iaria - European Club for Assetto Corsa. If there's one thing Guiseppe knows, it's his way around the art of setting up a vehicle. Earning himself the nickname of the "Setup Guru" in the Assetto Corsa club, Iaria provides some highly impressive settings for all to use. His ability to set a car up was evident also in this years GT Championship. Rookie of the Year The honours of Rookie of the Year goes to the driver whom has impressed us most in their first year of league racing here at RaceDepartment. It's never easy being a rookie as it takes time to develop on-track relations with other drivers, learn their tendencies and adapt your driving to accommodate their attributes. The nominees are: Shawn Jacobs - RaceDepartment MINI Challenge Season 9 Samuel Fuller - RaceDepartment GT Championship Season 6 Erhan Jajaovski - RaceDepartment MINI Challenge Season 9 & VSCC Season 4 Dan O'Neill - RaceDepartment Touring Car Championship Season 10 Spoiler: The 2016 Rookie of the Year goes to... Erhan Jajovski! Erhan has proved immediately that he has the speed to rival the best. In Season 9 of the MINI Challenge he finished the season tied for first place in the championship. Then in season four of the Stock Car Championship, Erhan had stiff competition from his Talking Door teammate, Matheus Machado, and whilst he wasn't able to match Machado over the course of a season largely due to bad luck, he put the rest of the field on notice in Goiania and Oulton Park with utterly dominant drives. Modder of the Year While RaceDepartment is a multifaceted website with community, racing and videos, a huge proportion of the userbase visits our humble domain simply for the game modifications to be had thanks to the tireless and brilliant work from many of the super talented modders whom provide extra content for games free of charge. 2016 has been an absolutely mammoth year for modding, so it's difficult to narrow down the best few when you consider the sheer volume of mods that have been submitted to our Download Manager. Keep in mind, in order to be nominated your mod had to be released in 2016. The nominees are: btk150, SalamanderSoldier, misterbeam, burrito, Ferrari64, TheJlfan and SimonTek (Assetto Corsa - Ferrari F2002). Patrick Giranthon (Automobilista - An astonishing number of refurbished tracks and the CART Series) Enduracers (rFactor 2 - Enduracers Endurance series 1.0) Darren Blythe, Rigel, Lilski and Arthur666 (Assetto Corsa - Virginia International Raceway) Lilski (Assetto Corsa - Riverside International Raceway) Fonsecker (Assetto Corsa - Sound Pack Part 2) Spoiler: The 2016 Modder of the Year goes to... btk150 and the entire team behind the astonishing Ferrari 2002! It was an incredibly tough choice given all the amazing work that modders have contributed to this community over the course of this year. However the Ferrari 2002 is a mod of such quality that very rarely does a mod come along like this one. The modelling, sounds, attention to detail and the physics all add up to form a package that is simply stunning, and in our books, it's arguably the best car in all of SimRacing, let alone just modded content. Honourable mentions have to be given to those who created the astonishing VIR, taking circuit design and psychotic attention to detail to new heights. An honourable mention should also be given to the Enduracers team for the job they have done with their multiclass endurance mod for rFactor 2. What ever your feelings are on the hotly debated mod, there's no denying that the sheer scale and volume provided by Enduracers is hugely impressive. On behalf of the entire RaceDepartment organisation crew, we would like to thank everyone for a fantastic 2016. The contributions made to our site from users who are just as passionate about SimRacing as us has been brilliant to see! Congratulations to the winners and nominees, and we hope for an even bigger and better 2017! Good health and Happy New Year to you all!