Presented by Pulsar, Official Watch Partner of the Supercars Championship
In every sport, there’s a select few places that, when even muttered in conversation, get the blood pumping for fans of that sport. For tennis it’s Wimbledon and Roland Garros, horse racing fans adore Ascot, Flemington, and Churchill Downs, and golfers love Augusta and St. Andrews. For those with oil in their blood there’s a huge range of options, from your local kart track to the streets of Monaco – we’ve scoured through countless tracks to bring you the five most iconic racetracks in motorsport.
1. Nürburgring – Germany
There’s racetracks, and then there’s Nürburgring. An almost mythical circuit amongst racing aficionados, Nürburgring extends over 21 kilometres of German countryside, comprises 154 corners, and as testament to its unforgiving nature, has claimed the lives of 69 drivers over the past 88 years, and in doing so earned itself the nickname ‘Green Hell’.
The Nürburgring Nordschleife lap record is still the time that every car manufacturer wants to hold claim to, with Porsche, Nissan, and Lamborghini vying for top spot. The real beauty of this track is that anyone willing waive their insurance rights and cough up €27 can drive the track on a public drive day. Just be prepared to walk away with totalled car if you’re not good enough.
2. Le Mans – France
Known officially as Circuit de la Sarthe, and affectionately just as Le Mans, this track is known synonymously with just one race – the 24 Hours of Le Mans (24 Heures du Mans). Stretching out over 13km of tarmac, Le Mans has remained a bastion of the sport since it opened in 1923. It has been home to some of the most iconic moments in motorsport, including one of the most spectacular crashes in racing when Mark Webber became airborne in 1999 before flying into the woodland to the side of the track. Truly a must see track for any fan.
3. Mount Panorama – Australia
Mount Panorama, or simply ‘Bathurst’, as Australian racing fans like to call it, is by far the most prestigious and well known racetrack in Australian motorsport.
Regarded around the globe as one of the most difficult tests of man and machine, Mount Panorama is home to the fastest corner in touring car racing and each year hosts the iconic Bathurst 1000, the most famous race on the Supercar Championship calendar. Pulsar is the Official Watch Partner of the Supercar Championship – just as well, with the Bathurst 1000 renowned for its incredibly close finishes after 1000km of racing.
4. Circuit de Monaco – Monaco
Without any shadow of a doubt, Circuit de Monaco (also known simply as Monte Carlo for the city whose streets it runs through) is the belle of the motorsports ball. Used for just one race weekend a year, the construction of the circuit takes six weeks, culminating in the F1 Monaco Grand Prix on a Sunday in May. Containing the slowest corner in Formula One (the Fairmont Hairpin, taken at just 48 km/h) and one of the quickest (the flat out kink in the tunnel, three turns beyond the hairpin, taken at 260 km/h), the Circuit de Monaco is as much about the party atmosphere as it is about the driving, marking the start of summer for the European cognoscenti.
5. Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps – Belgium
Packed full of history, the Spa Francorchamps circuit was built in 1921 and is one of the most challenging tracks in motorsport due to it’s hilly, twisting, high speed nature. Home to arguably the most electric corner in Formula 1, the Eau Rouge turn takes drivers on a white knuckled roller coaster ride – this corner alone is worth the price of admission, but the rest of the track is equally as stunning and produces some of the most spectacular action in motor racing. The first turn in particular has seen its fair share of action in recent years, just ask Fernando Alonso. Main image