Face it old man. It’s too late for you to become a professional race driver now. For starters, you probably have the reflexes of a sloth on Xanax. And your steering ability? Likely on par with a shopping trolley that even the creek rejected. We feel your pain.
Pain doesn’t need to mean no fun though. In a world where race tracks blend seamlessly with civilian roads and vice versa, revheads are given the rare chance to experience the roads that racing legends have carved their name out of.
Welcome to the world’s best race tracks which also double as public roads.
A many legendary battles have taken place at Bathurst’s Mount Panorama circuit. As one of Australia’s premiere race tracks offering a unique challenge for drivers and boundless entertainment for spectators, budding motorsport fans can also drive on this circuit when the racing circus isn’t in town. Albeit at a fraction of the race day speeds – it is a public road after all.
The Nordschleife located in Germany is the proving ground for not just race cars but all manner of vehicles including factory, concepts and civilian. The 20km track throws up some of the most challenging tarmac in the world with undulating corners, varying road surfaces and high speed sections that will cater perfectly to those with balls of steel. A fast car also helps. The Nurburgring is a public road which is frequented by those who want to get from point A to point B. Fast.
Pikes Peak Hill Climb
The race to the sky has seemingly been the proving ground for some of the world’s most insane drivers with equally willing cars. The 20km course begins at sea level and elevates over its course, making it harder for cars to breathe with thinner air. All of that is part of the fun along with the challenging terrain which sees a mix of dirt and tarmac testing drivers to the limit at break-neck speed. And since it’s a public road owned by the US Forest Service, anyone can drive on it as long as it’s not race day.
Isle Of Man
The world’s most talented and daring riders take to the Isle of Man every year for a spectacle that can only be seen to be believed. Superbikes ridden by veteran racers tackle this island circuit which snakes through the small township’s main roads before breaking out into open scenery with speeds easily hitting 300km/h – on two wheels. Like the other circuits, Isla of Man is open to public driving when there are race events on.
Marina Bay Street Circuit
One of the most dazzling races on the Formula One calendar is arguably the bright lights of the Marina Bay Circuit in Singapore. On race weekend the roads are lit up like it’s NYE as car’s roar past amongst the glitz and glamour. Once the race dies down, the surrounding roads and circuit return to its rightful city as a public thoroughfare.
Circuit de Monaco
Glamour, prestige and history. This pretty much sums up the legendary Monaco circuit which has a much heritage as it does money pumping through it. When race day is on hiatus, the streets of Monaco return to its residents who can trace the track and go through the tunnel filled with war paint of decades’ racing.
Circuit de la Sarthe
The famous 24 Hours of Le Mans wouldn’t be what it is today without the generosity of local roads which help make up this legendary 13km track. Parts of the road are open to the public on non-race days, providing ample opportunity to do your own laps for 24 hours to see if you’ve got what it takes. FYI you probably don’t.
Video: 24 Hours of Le Mans 2011 - Johnny Herbert - Mazda 787B Onboard Lap
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