There is nothing more exciting than watching your favorite race car driver tear around the track at top speed. Whether you’re tucking in to watch 500 laps in Daytona or spending 24 hours watching the annual Nürburgring race, the track often stands out. Here, we’re looking at the top 15 race tracks in the world.
15. WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, California
Originally named the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and recently renamed for the new WeatherTech sponsor, this racetrack is one of the best in California. It was built in 1957 and this 2.238-mile track has 11 turns. The most famous of these turns is known as The Corkscrew — a hard-left, hard right combination paired with an elevation drop of nearly 10 stories in a little over 450 feet of track.
14. Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Brazil
This fantastic little track is home to the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix. It’s in Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is known for its beautiful vistas and unpredictable weather, so you never quite know what you’re going to get when you get behind the wheel on this race track.
13. Circuit de la Sarthe, France
This track is home to one of the most famous, and infamous, races — the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Located in Le Mans, France, the track is part race track and part public streets which makes its eight miles of twists and turns even more challenging, especially after you’ve been driving for 20 hours or more. If watching drivers test their mettle against this famous track isn’t enough for you, it is open to visitors before the race begins.
12. Monaco Grand Prix Circuit, Monaco
This city-state, which shares three borders with France, is also home to one of the best street-tracks in the world. The streets are closed to the public one weekend in May to enable the city to host the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix. If you’re heading to Monaco, you can drive the track any other day of the year — though you will have to contend with local traffic so make sure you drive courteously.
11. Mount Panorama Circuit, Australia
Affectionally called Bathurst, this street track is made up of many sharp corners, long straights for picking up speed and some pretty steep inclines. The Bathurst 12 Hour and the Bathurst 1000 are run on public roads, but that doesn’t make this track any less awesome. Plus, when there aren’t any races held, you can drive the track — if you happen to be in New South Wales that is.
10. Suzuka International Racing Course, Japan
Did you really think we could make a list of the best race courses in the world without mentioning the Suzuka circuit in Japan? This was Japan’s first international race course and while it does host a number of races throughout the year, it’s also a major tourist attraction. You can drive the circuit, eat at one of the many restaurants in the area or even visit Motopia, the racing-themed amusement park that is part of the circuit’s complex.
9. Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana
This race track is home to the iconic Indy 500, which just celebrated its 100th birthday in 2015. It also holds the distinction of being the second oldest racing circuit on the planet — constructed in 1909. This track is full of history, even if you’re not an Indy race fan, and it’s absolutely worth a trip. As a bonus, they offer on-the-track experiences which let you ride with an experienced driver, or even drive the track yourself.
8. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium
This stunning track spans the Belgian countryside, flanked by green rolling hills and beautiful trees — but you’re not here for the scenery. This track is also home to the Belgian Grand Prix and hosts other races throughout the year. It’s also fun to drive, even as an amateur race car driver, which makes it one track that is definitely on our bucket list.
7. Silverstone Circuit, United Kingdom
This racetrack is often hailed as the home of British Motorsports — and it’s one of the UK’s most famous tracks for a reason. Its layout has changed quite a bit over the years, but it is still one of the most popular tracks in the country, with some championship races held there every year. If you feel like getting behind the wheel, there are plenty of driving experiences that let you drive a racecar at the UK’s only F1 Track.
6. Circuit Zandvoort, Netherlands
While this track doesn’t host Formula 1 races anymore, that doesn’t make it any less exciting. Not staying on the F1 schedule means that this track can host all sorts of races year-round — and there are also plenty of opportunities for you to get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 racer or even bring your own car onto the track.
5. Circuito de Jerez, Spain
This track once hosted Spain’s Formula One Grand Prix, though it has been home to the Motorbike Grand Prix every year since 1987. It’s full of tight turns and amazing straights, and is still one of the best tracks in Southern Spain. It’s also a popular venue for winter test runs because the climate in the area is beautifully temperate.
4. Hockenheimring, Germany
While Germany is better known for the Nürburgring race and its accompanying tracks, Hockenheimring is still a fantastic place to race and to watch races. It is currently home to the German Grand Prix and is loved by many drivers because of its crazy corners and long straights for picking up speed.
3. Red Bull Ring, Austria
Hosting the Austrian Grand Prix is one of the things that this fantastic track is known for. It’s also referred to as the Osterrechring, or the A1-Ring, and it hosts some of the most exciting races in Austria, including the MotoGP and DTM.
2. Autodromo Nazionale Monza, Italy
Long straights and fast corners make up this phenomenal F1 track in Italy, which holds the title of the third-oldest racetrack on the planet. Built in 1922, this track brims with European racing history and it’s a fantastic place to catch a host of different races if you happen to stay in Italy during the racing season.
1. Nürburgring Nordschleife, Germany
What other racetrack could deserve the number one spot on our list than the Nürburgring Nordschleife? It’s one of the longest and most challenging race tracks in the world. At nearly 13 miles long, it features more than 150 corners and you can even drive it by buying a ticket to the race. One lap in under seven minutes is difficult for even the best drivers in the fastest cars in the world.
What Did We Miss?
This is our list of the best race tracks in the world — we may have missed some (Sorry Talladega and Daytona), so if we left out your favorite racetrack, let us know.