When it comes to performance sports cars and race cars, there must ultimately be a place for them to race on. Putting the man and machine through its paces, pushing the edges of the technological envelope and enduring the robust durability that each can withstand. So below is a list of the Top 10 best race tracks in the world.
10: Daytona International Speedway
America’s most iconic racetrack, the Daytona; it’s a giant loop where cars have quickly gone over 200 mph. Over the years, it has hosted the Daytona 500 and the 24 Hours of Daytona. It’s commonly used in NASCAR racing, regarded as the number 1 spectator sport in the world after Formula 1. What makes it even better is the course is open to public track days, meaning that petrolheads are welcome to have a taste of the action themselves.
Monza is the oldest race track in the F1 calendar and the third oldest globally, being developed in 1922. Monza is a nice bundle of joy, full of long straights and fast corners. It is the place to go if you want to hear F1 cars screaming at the top of the rev limiter and test the top speeds of modern supercars. Lengthwise, Monza is 3 miles long and comes with 11 turns that no doubt an experienced driver will make light work out of.
Another famous F1 race track is widely known as the “home of British Motorsport”. Any car and racing fanatic knows about Silverstone; it is regarded as one of the most technical and greatest racetracks in the F1 calendar and the UK. Though it isn’t just limited to Formula 1, nearly every major motorsport division has burnt rubber on its tarmac ranging from the FIA WEC to the BTCC.
Its legacy was launched back in 1948 after the Second World War, at a time when Britain didn’t even have a significant race track. Instead, they did have a colossal amount of airfields and beheld the birth of Silverstone.
It features 18 turns lasting 3.6 miles and features famous corners such as Copse and Maggotts/Becketts.
Silverstone also hosts track days for the general public to go in, and they also do special Christmas events on the track where people can drive in and enjoy some racing and Christmas themed shenanigans.
7: Laguna Seca
The Laguna Seca is most commonly famous for the Corkscrew corner; it’s a blind apex turn that follows an immediate stomach-churning 18-metre drop. Even the most experienced drivers get caught out, and the track feels very narrow and fast.
All in all, it’s not a particularly big track, about 2.2 miles with 11 turns, but the turns will test the endurance and skills of both the cars and their drivers.
First built in 1962, being Japan’s first-ever race track, and owned by Honda is commonly known for its challenging S bends, tyre shredding left-hand corners and a long enough straight for an F1 car to reach 200 mph quickly. It makes this racetrack genuinely spectacular to witness and drive on; at 3.6 miles long and 18 corners in total, you can see why this nail-biting track is a technical speed demon.
Another common name for Imola is “Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari”, in simple terms, it is the home circuit of Ferrari. It was famously named after Ferrari’s founder, Enzo, and his son Dino who passed away at just 24 in 1956. The track was first used in 1953 for motorcycles and 1954 for cars and had a long-standing history in the Formula 1 calendar.
The track itself is over 3 miles with 19 turns that feature a combination of speed sectors, chicanes, and technical elements, making it the perfect racetrack to test the power, speed, and handling of some of the world’s most excellent cars.
Though the track has a dark past and history behind it, Imola has at some point or another claimed the ego of famous racing drivers. Whilst for others, it was more than that, back in 1994, when Ayrton Senna suffered the fatal crash that shocked the world, the track was purposely slowed down. Even still, F1 cars will go over 200 mph around the first corner.
4: Circuit De Monaco
Everyone knows of Monaco; the glitz, the glamour and the luxury lifestyle all come to mind when thinking about this town in the South of France.
It is also a town that gets used for one weekend each May to host the F1 Monaco Grand Prix; it is a full-on street circuit with tight bends, sharp corners and virtually no run-off areas. You mess up, and you will have the walls of Monaco to catch you. Once the race is over, the road opens up again to the public; for a while, remnants of the race before still linger, with tyre marks most commonly being left behind.
3: Spa Francorchamps
The Spa is Belgium’s most renowned race track and the same race track where the famous Jeremy Clarkson drove “The Widowmaker”, the McLaren P1.
Much like the Laguna Seca, Spa is also famous for one particular corner, the uphill Eau Rouge chicane. F1 cars unbelievably take that corner flat out, though most cars would need to brake; otherwise, a barrier will be your final curtain.
It is also a racetrack full of history and racing pedigree designed in 1920 and opened in 1922 and has gone through many variations and changes. It is a 4.3 mile-long track with 20 turns that offers the perfect combination of speed, handling and driver control.
2: Circuit de la Sarthe
Speaking of racing pedigree, Circuit de la Sarthe is most commonly known as Le Mans 24 Hour race; it is by far and away from the most challenging and gruelling race in the world. 2 drivers take 12-hour shifts to race along the 8.5-mile race track that has a staggering 38 corners which require immense and constant concentration.
A fun fact is that 85% of the lap time is spent on full throttle, meaning that the drivers are constantly accelerating and speeding around the track, which puts stress on the drivers and immense pressure on the engine and drivetrain components of the race cars. If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend that any petrolhead fanatic watch the movie Le Man starring Matt Damon and Christian Bale.
This is the very same track where Ford and Ferrari went to battle after a failed hostile takeover, which the film is also about.
1: Nordschleife Nürburgring
Now, if you thought that 38 corners were immense, what are your thoughts on 154 corners then? That’s right; the Nordschleife Nürburgring is a 13-mile long race track with 154 corners. It was one of the most dangerous race tracks on the F1 calendar. It was also the same track that almost killed Niki Lauda and burnt most of his body and face; Rush was a great movie that depicted this and is too a fantastic watch to see.
There is a shortened version of the Nordschleife Nurburgring used in F1, but that is 3.2 miles long with 15 turns.
What’s even more impressive is that the entire-fledged 154 turn course is fully open to the public; drive up to the barriers with your car, pay a small fee and off you go enjoying a brisk drive, though be warned most insurers don’t insure your car to drive on the Nordschleife Nürburgring and any damages you occur on the track you will have to pay for. It’s best to get the appropriate insurance if you plan on having some fun, just in case.