It is a fact that not all race tracks are created equal. Your hometown may have a cool run, but trust us, it won't be anything like the thrill of catching a race at the Circuit des 24 Heures. We're talking about the tracks that automotive aficionados dream about visiting, the courses that drivers consider to be the crème de la crème, the highlight of many careers. Obviously, the home of the 24 Hours of Le Mans race is one of our top five, but keep reading to discover the four others we picked.
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Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps
Belgium isn't just known for its beer, it is also where the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps can be found. The Formula One Belgian Grand Prix is held there, but it has also seen the Spa 24 Hours and the Spa endurance races. It may have gotten a slow start, with setbacks keeping races from happening, but by 1922 it had its first major auto event and things were never the same. Just two years later, the first 24 Hours of Francorchamps occurred and then came the European Grand Prix in 1925 where the infamous Alfa Romeo driver, Antonio Ascari, came out victorious. Now, Francorchamps is known as one of the most dynamic and trickiest courses to master.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Found in Indiana, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is home of the Indy 500 and Brickyard 400. Basically, this is NASCAR territory. Sure, it may not be the most thrilling in terms of track diversity (it's an oval), but the course still sees tons of exciting wins and disappointing losses. Built in 1909, this one was the first to be called a speedway and interestingly enough, the first event to be held there was actually a helium gas balloon competition.
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The Suzuka Circuit is known for being one of the last Grands Prix of the season and for being one of the only tracks designed in a "figure 8" layout. Found in Ino, Japan, Suzuka was originally created to be a test track for Honda in 1962 and is often named one of the more fun to actually race on. Having gone through several revisions over the years, including the addition of a chicane on the last curve to slow cars down a bit, the circuit has five different configurations depending on what it is being used for.
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Circuit des 24 Heures
Best recognized for being the home of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Circuit des 24 Heures in France (also known as the Circuit de la Sarthe) is one of the best tracks you could ever hope to experience. Streets in Le Mans are shut down every year to become part of the eight-mile-long 24 Hours race, which is considered to be one of the longest in the world (until you get to Germany, that is). Able to fit around 100,000 fans in the stadium area, the semi-permanent circuit traces back to 1923 and has seen plenty of excitement over the years. For instance, Steve McQueen and Paul Newman both appeared on the track.
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If you ever find yourself in Germany, you definitely won't want to miss out on visiting Nürburgring in Nürburg. The 12.9-mile-long course has around 170 corners, which means it's pretty tough. With enough space for 150,000 spectators, Nürburgring features an old North loop from the 1920s that winds around the Eifel Mountains and carries the nickname "The Green Hell" (which was given to it by Jackie Stewart). You also don't have to be a race car driver to get on the course, since the Nordschleife road is open to the public when not in use for a race. All you have to do is pay the toll and take a couple laps, just be careful about your speed since the law still applies.
In September, Alfa Romeo announced that their all-new Giulia Quadrifoglio is the fastest 4-door product vehicle ever around the Nurburgring, with a lap time of only 7:39, tied with the likes of Lamborghini, McLaren and the 911 GT3.