Meet the 2012 DCOTY judges
Drive's Car of the Year judges comprise one of the most experienced group of road testers in the country.
Toby Hagon oversees all things Drive across Fairfax’s broad range of publications, which includes Drive.com.au. He has been interested in cars and motorsport ever since he can remember and has managed to dabble in some racing over the years. Toby helped kick off Drive’s Car of the Year testing back in 2006 and has seen it grow into one of the most respected tests of its type in Australia.
Richard Blackburn is editor of Drive.com.au overseeing the website, iPad, Facebook and Twitter. Richard got his driver’s licence the day he became eligible to sit the test and can still remember his first solo drive in his parents’ Mazda 1300, a car he would later write off as part of his automotive learning experience. His first car was a Mazda 1500, his favourite was a Ford Escort panel van.
These days based in San Francisco but making regular trips to Australia Sally keeps a close eye on the latest trends in innovative technology and sustainable design covering vehicles, buildings and products. Sally Dominguez has won six international product awards for her sustainable designs and her work is held in the Powerhouse Museum. Best known as a judge on ABCs New Inventors, specialising in innovative technology and sustainable design in vehicles, buildings and products, she also judges design for the USA-based Spark Awards, the Australian Design Awards as well as Drive’s Car of the Year.
Robert manages Insurance Australia Group’s (IAG) Insurance Research Centre in Sydney. He is responsible for IAG’s road safety activities and new vehicle risk assessment and represents IAG on the Australasian NCAP Council and Technical Committee. Robert developed the world’s first car anti-theft security rating system in 1988 and also developed the now widely known reversing visibility rating system, which evaluates car blind spots. IAG’s Research Centre is the Australian representative of the international association of insurance research centres, RCAR, which comprises 24 insurance research centres in 20 countries. RCAR’s aim is to influence car design in order to improve safety and reduce collision costs. Robert has been Chairman of the RCAR Steering Committee since 2007.
Steve Colquhoun is a Melbourne-based senior writer for Drive. For the past five years he has worked as a motoring correspondent and production editor of Drive's weekly section that has appeared in The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Steve has been a journalist or sub-editor for most of his 25-year working career, only broken by stints in motoring public relations with Holden, Holden Motorsport and Ford Performance Vehicles from 2002 to 2006. He joins the judging panel of Drive's Car of the Year award for a third time in 2012.
Morley has been writing about cars almost as long as he’s been messing about with them. Budgetary restraints typical of most teenagers ensured that his early car ownership experiences were bitter-sweet, while the machinery itself taught him the value of maintenance and the folly of optimism. But rather than become disenchanted with the concept of personal mobility, Morley learned the hard way about how things work and has turned that background into a long-term and passionate affair with motors both brand-new and those in their twilight years. A few years of full-time work as a motoring journalist led to several decades of freelance work which continues to this day. Which is just as well, because Morley has now been native long enough to be more or less unemployable at anything else. He shares his workshop with his computer, books and a few hand-chosen cars of a certain age, all of which are perfectly capable of exploding, at speed and without warning. The cars, not the books.
Deb Anderson came to The Age in 2004 after stints at The Sydney Morning Herald and Wheelsmagazine and jobs in various industries in Australia and abroad, from business analyst to farmer, teacher to sub-editor. With a PhD behind her she now writes on higher education for The Age and is a valuable contributor to Drive. She also teaches journalism at Monash University. Deb's keen on the outdoors and wants to see a car industry that can cope with a low-carbon future.
Jonathan started writing about cars in the mid 1980s and while plenty has changed in the automotive world since then, he’s managed to retain an ability to combine clinical road testing analysis with a sense of humour. A regular contributor to Drive, he’s looking forward to his first Drive Car of the Year to go with previous experience on other judging panels.
Stephen has been obsessed with all things car-related since he was walking. His career as a motoring writer began living the dream, covering motor racing around Australia and the world. And he’s still happy to talk and watch motor racing all day. He joined Drive in 2010 but has spent more than a decade writing about cars.
Better known in the Drive office as Chucky, Matt is the youngest-ever judge for Drive’s Car of the Year awards. At 28, he’s driven everything from early Holdens to exotic sports cars that cost more than the unit he lives in. Matt has been part of the Drive team for three years, but has always loved cars, and takes the role of helping decide which model will be declared the best car of the year very seriously. Honest.