Racermetrics race-database.com

Top 200 Drivers of 2023 (Drivers 40 to 31)

by Sean Wrona

40. (93) Mikkel Jensen

The dark horse sports car star of the year, Jensen doesn't seem to get the respect he deserves even though in 2023, he had an exceptional season in both his IMSA and WEC starts. Although Jensen and his teammate Steven Thomas only finished 3rd in the IMSA LMP2 class, Jensen was pretty obviously the best driver in the class as he had an undefeated 3-0 lead change record, tied for the most wins with 2, led outright in TNL, fastest laps, and fastest races (with 2 each) and also had the fastest speed percentile at 94.17, while his teammate Thomas was the second-slowest full-time driver in the class at 27.48. The main blemish that caused them to lose the title was two DNFs that bookended the season in the marquee 24 Hours of Daytona and Petit Le Mans and admittedly both of their wins came in relatively low-prestige races at Laguna Seca and the Indy road course, but I still think his domination of this class was a better performance than anyone managed in the Hypercar class in spite of the fact that LMP2 had much shallower competition. But that was not all Jensen did as he also made his full-time debut in the WEC's Hypercar class where he drove for Peugeot's relatively slow factory operation. There too he was the fastest of the six regular drivers with a speed percentile of 40.90, which beat that of Gustavo Menezes (40.15), current Formula E driver Nico Müller (38.41), Le Mans winner/Super Formula champion Loïc Duval (33.53), former F1 driver/DTM champion/cousin of Dario Franchitti Paul di Resta (31.99), ex-F1 driver/Formula E champion Jean-Éric Vergne (26.90). Even though you can argue Thomas was no competition for him, he was faster than a lot of proven stars from other series in his WEC races, so he was arguably even more impressive there, especially when you consider Vergne was the slowest driver on the team yet he beat the defending Formula E champion Stoffel Vandoorne by about a 2-1 margin in points. But that's not all! Although his team ended up losing the race on strategy, Jensen made an on-track pass for the lead on Mike Conway at the WEC Monza race despite having a below-average car while the Toyota team Conway drove for was still fastest. Jensen had the slowest speed percentile for a driver to make a pass for the lead, and since there were no more passes for the lead in that race, that gave him a TNL and an entire lead share meaning he ended up tying for 3rd in lead shares in the premier Hypercar class despite ranking 32nd in speed, and obviously the lack of speed wasn't his fault as he was the fastest driver for a stacked team. I'm not gonna say Jensen was the best sports car driver of the year, but he was without question the most underrated. He's only not a major sports car star now because he hasn't driven for a top-tier team in a top-tier class yet, but I think that day will come pretty soon for him.

39. (16) Tom Ingram

The defending British Touring Car Championship finished second in 2023 and surprisingly only finished 46 points behind the champion Ashley Sutton despite Sutton's gargantuan twelve-win season while Ingram only won twice. He still delivered top-notch performance as he tied Jake Hill for the best lead change record in the series at 3-1 and actually only narrowly lost to Sutton in speed (90.81-89.18) but the fact that he was so close on speed yet so far behind on performance is why I ranked him significantly slower than I did in 2022. Despite ranking 2nd in speed, Ingram ranked much lower in most of the other categories I track: tied for 4th in natural races led (3), 5th in wins, TNL, and lead shares (2 each), 5th in CRL (1.86), 4th in races with the most laps led (3), tied for 2nd in fastest laps (5), and tied for 5th in fastest races (1). His consistency I think was the only think keeping him even that close to Sutton in points as they tied for the most top fives in the BTCC last year with 22, and Ingram led the way with 28 top tens in 30 starts. The fact that both his consistency and speed were better than his dominance is usually a sign of an overrated season to me. Granted, not that overrated - I'm still ranking him 39th - but Hill beat him in almost all categories except for speed and the actual points standings so I'm definitely ranking him higher as well as Sutton. It doesn't help that one of Ingram's wins came in a reverse grid race either, although to be fair he did win the first Knockhill race on track before he was disqualified for failing to meet the ride height requirement. Since that ended up handing Hill the win and the pole for the second race in that round (which he also won) it's easy to imagine Ingram winning both of those races if he hadn't cheated which might lead me to rank him a lot higher, but I'm not going to reward cheating. Ingram had a strong season in my teammate model as well (naturally since it is largely based on equipment strength), but notably despite finishing 2nd in the championship, he only ranked 3rd in my model and 26th overall at .265, again behind Hill. Ingram did absolutely pummel his teammates as he basically always does. His career touring car record after the 2023 season is a mindboggling 280-33 (better than Sutton's 320-59 even though Sutton has him beat 4-1 on championships) and last year he beat Max Chilton's brother Tom 24-2, Ronan Pearson 25-1, and Nick Halstead 25-1. That might not be saying much since Pearson was a rookie and Halstead is a fifty-something amateur businessman, but Tom Chilton is another matter as he is (was?) a good driver and much better than his brother with 15 career BTCC wins including his first win since 2019, which in my opinion is another strike against Ingram. Even though Ingram is unfathomably more talented than his fellow Tom, he only beat him 2-1 in wins and shockingly, Chilton's win did not come in a reverse-grid race despite the fact that he only finished 14th in points, which means they both ended up tying 1-1 in wins in races where the starting grid was determined by speed, which is more than I would typically expect from a defending champion against a driver who peaked over a decade ago. That doesn't mean he didn't have a substantially better season than Chilton (the 24-2 alone makes that abundantly clear), but the fact that he seemed to underachieve in both wins and performance relative to his consistency and speed did keep him out of my top elite tier this time - Sutton and Hill both wowed me way more. He remains one of the best and most underrated touring car drivers in the world regardless.

38. (26) Ott Tänak

Tänak finished fourth in the World Rally Championship after switching from Hyundai to Ford, but he still delivered two wins for a Ford team that has fallen on hard times since the perennial champion Sébastien Ogier left them in 2018. Although Sébastien Loeb did win the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally for Ford in 2022, Tänak was the first full-timer to win for Ford in all that time as well as the only driver to win multiple times (he won both Rally Sweden and Rally Chile) and the best points finisher. I might be underrating him a little here when considering my ignorance about rally racing since he did drastically outperform his teammates Pierre-Louis Loubet and Adrien Fourmaux, who finished 12th and 20th in the championship and earned a combined 37 points while Tänak himself scored 174. I definitely thought he was better than both Elfyn Evans and Thierry Neuville last year even though they beat him in points because he was still relatively close to them in what seemed to be a much slower car, but to more properly quantify this, I'm going to need to finish a teammate model for rally cars and I will probably try to do that at some point in 2024.

37. (56) Leonel Pernía

The best of the Argentinean touring car drivers in 2023, Pernía won the TC2000 championship by 107 points in a big blowout over Julián Santero, who also finished second the other Argentinean major league Turismo Carretera. He did this in spite of missing both races in the Rosario round due to injury and missing the opening round at San Nicolás due to a disqualification. In the other 18 races, he finished 7th or better in every event, earning seven wins and fifteen podiums. It was a tough decision whether to rank the TC2000 champion Pernía or the Turismo Carretera champion Mariano Werner higher. Werner won his championship by a larger margin with Santero scoring 66.2% of his points there while he scored 71.1% of Santero's total in TC2000, but when you consider the three missed races, I think Pernía's performance was slightly more impressive. While Werner is not eligible for my touring car model because he never made a major league touring car start, Pernía is eligible because he made a couple World Touring Car Championship starts in 2010. He ranked 35th overall in my touring car model at .236, but he definitely impressed me more than a lot of the people rated higher than him. Just like Werner, Pernía also won a second-tier championship in 2023 as well, winning the Class 3 Turismo Nacional championship (Santero competed in that division as well and only finished third in the championship, so the competition probably wasn't too much worse than the better-known Turismo Carretera and TC2000 series.) At age 48, his power run will likely end very soon but I don't think this ranking is spurious after I noticed that he was essentially tied with both Shane van Gisbergen and Agustín Canapino in my touring car model.

36. (C) Pascal Wehrlein

I think Mitch Evans/Jake Dennis/Nick Cassidy/Pascal Wehrlein match up favorably with Palou/O'Ward/Newgarden/Dixon, unless you give IndyCar drivers bonus points for the versatility because they also compete on ovals.

— Sean Wrona (@racermetrics) December 19, 2023

Maybe the above post last month was going too far, but I meant it at the time. Formula E drivers get no respect. I was replying to a Road and Track article by Fred Smith that literally discussed the reasons nobody cares about Formula E. I admit I have tended to find it unwatchable myself because of things like the FanBoost (which they've finally dispensed of, yay!), mid-race car switches (which I know have been gone for several years), letting Lucas di Grassi pass all the cars on track under caution while passing through the pits in 2022, racing on a bunch of unmemorable street circuits, and so on. What I will admit is that a lot of the race battles are good from having collected all the lead change data (generally the battles for the lead were better than anything either F1 or IndyCar were producing on road or street courses last year) and the field is really good mainly because Formula E has no ride-buyers so the worst drivers in Formula E are as good as the worst drivers in any other series in my opinion - even F1 (I honestly don't think anybody in Formula E last year was as bad as Valtteri Bottas, Zhou Guanyu, Lance Stroll, or Logan Sargeant, although Nyck de Vries's failure certainly made the series look bad.) The main reason I tend to defend Formula E drivers more than most others is because they consistently do really well in my open-wheel model, particularly the ones who never competed in F1. Evans has been the highest-rated Formula E driver in my open wheel model ever since I introduced it at a time when he only had two wins and that has not changed in any of the iterations since; he has ranked above all active IndyCar drivers over that entire timespan as well. Even in my open wheel model for 2023, there were four F1, three IndyCar, and three Formula E drivers in my top ten indicating the series were more evenly matched than usual (this is one of the reasons I'm ranking most F1 drivers a lot lower than you might expect, including the two in this article.) I was really, really hyping up Jake Dennis throughout 2022 after he swept Oliver Askew in that year's Formula E season (beating him substantially worse than Pato O'Ward did in IndyCar and O'Ward has now been the highest-rated IndyCar driver in my teammate model back-to-back years), and Dennis certainly lived up to that performance last year. Cassidy already beat Álex Palou to the Super Formula championship in 2019 (although Palou was a rookie and Cassidy was not.) I don't think I'm wrong to think the best drivers in Formula E are comparable to the best drivers in IndyCar, but they don't seem to get that respect because IndyCar has a prestige race and Formula E does not, or maybe because IndyCar drivers also race on ovals (even though they're nowhere near as good oval drivers as NASCAR drivers; yes, I said it.)

Wehrlein in particular is a driver who never really got his due. After winning the DTM title in 2015 (the season finished on his 21st birthday, but he clinched when he was still 20), he next spent two years in Formula One, where he swept Rio Haryanto 8-0, tied Esteban Ocon 3-3, and beat Marcus Ericsson 6-4 all at the age of 21 and 22 in 2016 and 2017. Considering not that long after that, Ocon came quite close to matching Fernando Alonso and Ericsson won an Indy 500, people should give Wehrlein more credit than they do. Now that he is much closer to a peak age for a driver, he had probably his best open wheel season to date in 2023. He was teammates with former Formula E champion António Félix da Costa and pretty solidly blew him out, finishing 4th in the points to da Costa's 9th, winning 3 races to da Costa's 1, and beating him 9-4 in their teammate head-to-head, which placed him 7th among all open wheel drivers and 2nd among Formula E drivers in my teammate model last year behind only Evans. His current overall rating of .212 in my model is really good: just behind the likes of Nelson Piquet and Jean Alesi and just ahead of the likes of Mika Häkkinen and Gil de Ferran. That's some impressive company, yet despite his pretty unimpeachable record, he will never get the respect of any of those drivers both because as Smith said people don't care about Formula E and also simply because he hasn't really had championship-caliber cars. Wehrlein did nonetheless lead the points for a while in 2023 thanks to a 2nd place finish at Mexico City followed by back-to-back wins at Diriyah to start the season. That's really impressive because I don't think Wehrlein had a very fast car. His speed percentile of 58.56 only ranked 8th (da Costa was actually faster at 59.09), but he outperformed that significantly in almost all categories, ranking tied for 3rd in natural races led (3), 2nd in lead change record (5-2), 3rd in wins (3), tied for 3rd in TNL (2), 4th in lead shares (2.10), tied for 2nd races for races with the most lead shares (3), and 4th in CRL (1.81). He was definitely lacking in speed with no poles, no fastest laps, and one fastest race (da Costa had none of those, so obviously the Porsche Formula E team was down on speed.) However, Wehrlein clearly outperformed the speed of his cars by almost all metrics of passing, winning, and dominance while da Costa's performance was much more commensurate with the team's lack in speed. Clearly he was punching above his weight more than most drivers in the series. I might even be underrating him here, but I didn't really think I could justify ranking him over Dennis and Cassidy. I don't take back what I said about the Formula E drivers in general relative to IndyCar drivers though. I think the reason Smith argued against that is because the four IndyCar drivers I listed tend to have more consistent performance from year-to-year, but part of that is because IndyCar has a lot less parity while Formula E has become known for it (at least since the Sébastien Buemi domination era) and also because IndyCar has a lot more bad drivers in it, which I think inflates the quality of the great drivers to a certain extent. Wehrlein deserves more respect than he gets, although considering how much parity Formula E has with a different champion almost every year, Wehrlein could easily win a title next year and I'd hardly be surprised.

35. (4) Charles Leclerc

If the Formula E drivers were massively underrated last year, the Formula 1 drivers last year were massively overrated. Many will likely quibble at me placing a driver many still see as a potential F1 champion alongside a driver who is erroneously considered an F1 bust. I certainly do think Leclerc is the better driver, but I also think it's kind of close. I mean they were both teammates with Marcus Ericsson in back-to-back years and Wehrlein beat him 6-4 in 2017 before Leclerc beat him 9-3 the next year (admittedly, Wehrlein was a sophomore and Leclerc was a rookie.) Obviously, Leclerc is better but in a year when Wehrlein arguably performed a sigma above average while Leclerc performed a sigma worse, I think it makes sense that I'd place them in a similar tier here. You shouldn't be surprised to see Leclerc here based on where I already rated Sainz. A lot of people still seem to think the 20 F1 drivers are all amongst the top 100 drivers in the world or even the top 20, which are both laughable. In a year where Max blew out everyone, I kind of think all the other big F1 stars underachieved for the most part and Leclerc is no exception. Although he actually beat Sainz 9-5 in 2023 (better than the 7-7 he achieved the year before) and also beat him in speed by a larger margin as I reported in the Sainz entry, performance matters more than raw speed or consistency and despite Leclerc having a larger differential in terms of speed and consistency than he did the year before, they were barely distinguishable in terms of performance as Sainz managed to earn the only win outside Red Bull and beat Leclerc in lead shares (1.00-0.40) and CRL (1.29-0.68), but although Sainz was substantially better in that race, that does not quite outweigh Leclerc being better in the vast majority of the other races. I think it does mean that I can't rate them too far apart though. Leclerc still had a lot of speed as he won five poles but he never managed to maintain the lead from the pole, which is pretty rare in F1 historically: his 2-7 lead change record was kind of abysmal; granted, he still had a couple passes for the lead while Sainz didn't, but this still wasn't good especially when you compare to Wehrlein's 5-2 in Formula E. Additionally, Leclerc only ranked 17th overall and 7th among F1 drivers in my teammate model .262, much worse than Wehrlein's .381, so don't think me placing them right next to each other is unfounded. I'm starting to wonder if Wehrlein should actually be higher than him to be honest, but I think much lower than this would be too contrarian. After all, Autosport had Wehrlein 43rd and Leclerc 14th, but their F1 bias is also notorious. I also think that while Wehrlein definitely overachieved his car in 2023, Leclerc certainly underachieved his despite still being the top Ferrari driver. Despite ranking 3rd in speed, he tied for 4th in natural races led, 6th in lead change record, 5th in lead shares, 4th in CRL, and 5th in the points standings. He also only even beat Sainz in points by six points even though they had similar speed. I still think if anybody has any hope of challenging Max Verstappen in the near future at all, it's Leclerc, but he sure didn't do that last year.

34. (34) Felipe Fraga

Fraga is one of only three drivers I kept in the same position on both the top 100 lists of 2022 and 2023 (quick, guess who one of the other ones is?) Fraga doubled up in Brazil's Stock Car Pro series (where he was won the title before) and IMSA's LMP3 class (the least prestigious of all IMSA classes, and indeed a class he's far to good for). Although Fraga went winless for the first time in Stock Car Pro after winning 19 times in previous seasons (usually when it was still called Stock Car Brasil) and he only finished 5th in the championship, I think he still had a very strong season there as his teammate Allam Khodair finished 22nd in the championship and his 13-3 defeat of Khodair was enough for him to be the highest Stock Car Pro driver in my touring car model and 9th overall with a rating of .386, just edging out the similarly-named and much more famous Felipe Massa, but even though Fraga went winless and Massa won two of the last three races of the season, I still rated Fraga here and I didn't think Massa deserved it (Massa only finished 10th in points and both of his wins came in reverse-grid races.) I tend to have a good sense of when to take my teammate models seriously and when not to. I think Massa's rating drastically overrated his performance but Fraga's didn't since he has shown blinding speed anyway and I think his cars must have been pretty questionable considering he failed to win after winning in every previous full Stock Car Brasil season; despite not winning he won three poles so it's kind of like Leclerc. But despite all that, it was really his IMSA performances that impressed me more. I know the LMP3 class is hard to take seriously and kind of a joke, but let's face it, even GTP was a joke last year and I think he was definitely better than anyone there. Although his 5-1 lead change record was not the best record in the class as Matt Bell went 3-0, he did have the largest lead change differential of any IMSA driver in 2023. Despite only starting five races, he led naturally in four of them and won three of them with a series-best three TNL, three fastest races, and 1.86 lead shares. Because he skipped two races, he didn't win the championship, but he did pretty much win the championship for his extremely mediocre teammate Gar Robinson for the second time. While Fraga ranked second in speed in the class at 93.75 only behind Nico Varrone's 96.63, Fraga and Josh Burdon (whose speed percentile was 82.95) were pretty much singlehandedly for Robinson's championship as his speed percentile was a mere 42.33 so Fraga and Burdon essentially alternated pinch-hitting duties for him and Fraga was clearly the best of the three. Fraga ranked second in CRL at 0.85 only barely behind Garett Grist's 0.87, but Fraga had the better average percent led since he started five races while Grist started six. Fraga also perpetually gave Grist nightmares all season as he passed him to win three races in a row: first at Sebring with a little over an hour remaining, twice in the last two hours to win the 6 Hours of Watkins Glen, and once at Mosport with a mere four laps remaining. I actually thought about listing Grist briefly - he was the only driver to pass Fraga all season, but even though they seemed to have a budding rivalry going on (particularly after Grist did win the Petit Le Mans in class to end the season), it was definitely a pretty one-sided rivalry as the 5-1 vs. 1-4 lead change difference was far too steep.

33. (6) Landon Orris

Sorry, stupid wordplay is my kryptonite. I'm probably going to catch more flak for placing Norris here than placing Leclerc two spots lower, but I was not as awe-inspired by Norris as everyone else seemed to be in 2023. A lot of it is that I don't think his rookie teammate Oscar Piastri is as great yet as everyone else seems to (I only rated him in the C tier), and after McLaren had its sudden midseason upgrade in performance, they weren't all that far apart. It is starting to get comical how Norris has not won a race yet even though he finished second six times, but even though his overall speed for the season wasn't great (his speed percentile only ranked eighth at 63.82, although that was still a lot better than Piastri's 49.96), I think it is starting to be worthy of criticism that Norris has not won yet particularly in a year when his rookie teammate was often as fast as him by the tail end of the season and even won a sprint race. Norris has been really, really unlucky to be fair but he has now had three fastest races (including São Paulo 2023) with no wins. That may not seem like a big deal and for most series it wouldn't be, but I just calculated speed percentiles for all Formula One races back to 1996 and there are a grand total of two drivers throughout all those 28 years who had the fastest average speed in a race and never won. Norris is one of them. The other is Romain Grosjean of all people. Now Norris, unlike Grosjean, is going to win a race. I'll be shocked if he doesn't, but it's still ominous to share a list for futility with a driver who just bombed out of his prestige IndyCar ride in the same season. Although admittedly Norris overperformed his expectation at the start of the season because I projected him to only beat Piastri 54.2% of the time based on their ratings at the start of the season, Piastri's rating plummeted mainly because he only beat Logan Sargeant 9-5 in Formula 3 before Alex Albon swept Sargeant last year. Given that context, Piastri's rating tanked from .158 at the start of the season to -.077, which means beating him ended up counting for much less in my model than it seemed like it should have, which is not a big surprise since both Piastri and Sargeant were rookies last year. As a result, Norris beating Piastri 14-4 was worth a lot less than him beating Daniel Ricciardo 16-4 the previous year since Ricciardo was a proven winner. Could Piastri possibly win in the future and make this season look a lot better? Sure, but there's no guarantee he'll even be as good as Ricciardo was. Norris only ranked 26th overall and 8th among F1 drivers at .201, between Scott McLaughlin and George Russell, both of whom I ranked lower. He was considerably behind Leclerc for 7th place among F1 drivers and both of them were behind the likes of Albon, Yuki Tsunoda, and Esteban Ocon. I know he did outperform his equipment as he was in a tight battle for 4th in the points standings despite having the 8th fastest car, but I just wasn't wowed as much as I feel I should have been because I was more impressed by him blowing out a veteran in Ricciardo more than I am by him blowing out a rookie, and I also think his cars were faster in the second half of the year than they ever have been before and he still failed to win. Yeah, I probably overcorrected and this probably won't age well, but hopefully now you understand where I'm coming from when seemingly I alone left him out of my elite tier. Most people think both Norris and Piastri were great: I think they were both overrated in a year when almost everybody but Max Verstappen disappointed.

32. (NR) Sho Tsuboi

Tsuboi and his co-driver Ritomo Miyata won the Japanese Super GT sports car championship by a massive margin of 89-63 over Katsumasa Chiyo and Mitsunori Takaboshi. The duo won three races at Fuji, Autopolis, and Motegi in a year when no other team won more than once. Both of them also competed in Super Formula, the most prestigious open wheel championship in Asia where Miyata won the championship and Tsuboi finished 4th, with only the Team Mugen teammates of two-time champion Tomoki Nojiri and Global Rookie of the Year Liam Lawson between them. However, since Nojiri and Lawson were so evenly matched, Tsuboi actually ranked as the second-highest Super Formula driver in my teammate model and 20th overall at .252 (he was only barely behind Charles Leclerc and Josef Newgarden in my model, so I definitely don't think this ranking is unreasonable especially considering he also won a sports car championship and that didn't even count for this.) Since the same two drivers won the Super GT championship and were the highest-ranked drivers in my model from Super Formula, they were obviously two of the top three in domestic Japanese racing (and way better than even the likes of Lawson despite of how much hype he justifiably got), although I placed one other domestic Japanese driver one position higher than this. Although Tsuboi failed to win a race in Super Formula, he still finished 4th in the championship while his teammate Sena Sakaguchi only ranked 12th and Tsuboi beat him 59-15 in points and 5-1 in shared finishes (while Sakaguchi isn't great, he also isn't terrible either and he too won a Super GT race last year, so I do think this adds to his case.)

31. (73) Ryō Hirakawa

Hirakawa had a surprisingly similar season to his countryman Tsuboi - so similar I had to put them right next to each other. In his main role for Toyota's World Endurance Championship team he and teammates Sébastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley won the championship, although they only won two races while the other Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and José María López won four. Hirakawa was the 3rd fastest WEC Hypercar driver overall and 2nd fastest Toyota driver with a speed percentile of 84.54. Hartley was slightly faster at 87.82 but Buemi was surprisingly the slowest of all six Toyota drivers despite having more passes than any other driver. Hirakawa was the fastest driver in the Hypercar class who had a pass for the lead since the two drivers who were faster than him (Antonio Fuoco and Hartley) both did not, although he only had 0.14 lead share because it came early in the race. To be honest, if you consider only their WEC races, I think Hirakawa's greater speed and Buemi's greater passing basically cancel each other out and they were essentially tied for the best driver on the championship team. However, their performances in their open wheel series massively diverged. While Buemi got blown out by his Formula E teammate Nick Cassidy and had an unexpectedly dismal rating of -.103 ranking him 66th among all open wheel drivers and 18th among Formula E drivers, Hirakawa's Super Formula performances in 2023 were really impressive. Although he lost to Tsuboi in the championship by a single point and ranked one spot lower than him in my teammate model (Tsuboi ranked 20th at .252 while Hirakawa was 21st at .243), I'm more impressed with what Hirakawa did. Although he only finished 5th in the championship and also failed to win a race, he utterly obliterated his teammate Yuhi Sekiguchi, who finished 21st and scored no points to Hirakawa's 58 and Sekiguchi has won seven Super Formula races in the past including one the previous year, yet he finished no better than 11th in 2023. The only reason Tsuboi beat Hirakawa in my teammate model even though Hirakawa swept his teammate 6-0 while Tsuboi did not was simply because Yuhi Sekiguchi is a lot lower in my model than Sena Sakaguchi is (try not to get those two names confused, I dare you!) I have to put Hirakawa higher because the WEC Hypercar title is certainly more prestigious than the Super GT title and Hirakawa beat a more successful teammate by a larger margin even though Tsuboi beat Hirakawa by a point in Super Formula and by one position in my teammate model, won one more race in Super GT than Hirakawa did in WEC, and beat a higher-rated teammate than Hirakawa did. But if you weigh the pros and cons together, it seems like basically a tie to me.

Sean Wrona is the Managing Editor of racermetrics.com, the Webmaster of race-database.com, the winner of the 2010 Ultimate Typing Championship at the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin, and the ratings compiler and statistician for the Mensa Scrabble-by-Mail SIG. He earned a master's in applied statistics from Cornell University in 2008 and previously digitized several seasons of NBA box scores on basketball-reference.com. He is the author of Nerds Per Minute: A History of Competitive Typing. You may contact him at sean@racermetrics.com.