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Here Are The Best Racing Venues

Jalopnik logo Jalopnik 9/23/2021 José Rodríguez Jr.
a airplane that is parked on the side of a road © Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

The cars are why we watch races, obviously, but the venues where these races take place have become just as iconic as the machines. Most of the places on this list are familiar to me by way of Gran Turismo or some other racing game, which I likely played with varying degrees of success. OK. Probably badly. Those stupid licenses in Gran Turismo 2 were no joke!

In any case, many readers picked up on the notion that the best racing venue is the one you can actually get to, or the one you can go and drive on yourself. Experiences like those might not be as flashy, but they stay with us.

I think it’s awesome that these venues are not isolated to any one country, and that the best of motorsport spans the whole globe. We asked our readers what the best racing venues are, and these were their answers:

Road America - Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, U.S.

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

Road America. I’ve never visited it but it looks the prettiest, lots of varied turns over 4 miles of track, looks great on TV, and looks like a really fun track to hang out, have beer, and brats.

Of the ones I’ve been to: Laguna Seca, LeMans, Long Beach, and Sears Point Laguna Seca is an old favorite because I’ve been to countless races there. But Le Mans is probably the best I’ve visited. The history, the museum!, and being able to drive along the public section and see all the landmarks and the blue/yellow curbs is something else.

Submitted by: Capt. Janeway’s Imaginary Cat, crash red hot, among others

Mount Panorama Circuit - Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

I will offer up Mount Panorama, otherwise commonly known as Bathhurst.

Home to many an iconic Australian race battle, the circuit has a tight mountain section sandwiched between the very fast bits, and is an absolute cracker to take on. The scenery is pretty good too, and you also get the occasional incursion from the local wildlife to make it slightly more interesting...

Submitted by: Ben C, kernow

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve - Montreal, Quebec, Canada

a river running through a city © Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

In my book, the Montreal F1 GP venue is up there. Great layout making for (very often) great racing. Montreal night life and restaurants are awesome, easily accessible (How many tracks have a subway line bringing you to the venue...) and pricing for lodging is very reasonable for a big city.

Submitted by: Fracan

Circuit de Spa Francorchamps - Stavelot, Belgium

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

Suzuka, Spa, Monza. Also Nordschleife of course, but it doesn’t make sense for all types of cars/racing.

Suzuka is my favorite track in the world, but as a place to actually visit and watch a race, I would probably have to give it to Spa (as long as you don’t have a situation like this year’s GP).

Submitted by: GokieKS, the stiggy, among others

Circuit de la Sarthe - Le Mans, Sarthe, France

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

How on earth you managed to write this article without even mentioning Spa, Nürburgring or Bathurst is beyond me. I ll say the best overall is still Le Mans, both for the track action and the carnival around it. But Spa and the Ring are a close second and third.

Submitted by: felixthegrumpycat

Whatever Venue You Can Get To - Anywhere!

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

Any track I get to drive on. Buttonwillow, Chuckwalla, and Willow Springs are not the best race tracks in the world, but they are the best race tracks to me because I’ve spent hours racing wheel-to-wheel on them. Tracks like SPA, Monza, Circuit du Sarthe, and Nürburgring are all legendary and far better, I’m sure. Someday I hope I get the opportunity to drive them but the best race tracks are the ones you get a chance to experience in the way they are intended to be experienced.

And

The best for someone is probably the one they can get to, visit, watch a live race, and possibly run their car around. Racing started and starts for even the biggest names at local tracks with local people racing for the joy. I have fondest memories of the local dirt track we went to that doubled as a flea market on weekend mornings. The big name locations and tracks are great but the ones you actually visit and enjoy in person will be better.

Submitted by: Brian, The Life of, 4jim, among others

Rally Italia Sardegna Stages - Sardinia, Italy

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

Rally Italy in Sardegna. Stay on a Mediterranean beach and watch some race cars

Submitted by: Santiago of Escuderia Boricua

Laguna Seca Raceway - Monterey County, California, U.S.

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

Laguna Seca has always been one of my favorites.

And

I’ve only been to Sonoma and Laguna Seca so I don’t have much to say on this. I will note that ever since Weathertech took over sponsorship of Laguna Seca from Mazda, it’s 100 times better, from a spectator stand point. Not sure how much respective credit or criticism they deserve for that but the difference is obvious.

Submitted by: Digitaluser32, Stig Wagon, among others

Yas Marina Circuit - Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, UAE

a plane sitting on top of a building © Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

Definitely Dubai. It is far away, already ecologically trashed, and happens during the night so it doesn’t take up media airtime. If racing has to happen, those are all the golden criteria for it. Although, electric buggy racing on the farside of the moon might be even better.

Racing: Just say no.

Submitted by: skeffles

Barber Motorsports Park - Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

I love driving COTA, but Barber is a really fun flowy track. You can tell it was designed with bikes in mind, and it is a beautiful venue.

And

Barber Motorsports Park near Birmingham, Alabama. Beautiful site and an incredible collection of motorcycles in their museum.

Submitted by: montego, Velvet Elvis

Nürburgring - Nürburg, Germany

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

Haven’t been to most of these, but here’s my bucket list:

-Indy 500, for the sheer spectacle of it all

-Monaco, US, Belgian, Italian, Canadian and British GPs, for various reasons

-24h Le Mans, no explanation needed

-24h Nurburgring, basically a wild drinking party with some epic racing thrown in

-Bathurst 1000, see above but Australian. Which doubles the fun

-Pikes Peak Hillclimb, nothing else like it

-NASCAR: night race at Bristol, Southern 500, Daytona 500, Coke 600, and one of the road races, for various reasons

-Anything at Road America and Laguna. Epic tracks

-Goodwood Revival and Monterey Motorsports Reunion, to see the legends like they were designed to

Submitted by: ExtraSpeciale, GokieKS, felixthegrumpycat

Suzuka Circuit - Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, Japan

© Photo: Getty (Getty Images)

Suzuku is the perfect track in my mind, it’s fantastic to drive (sims) on and the races are always interesting.

And

Suzuka is brilliant. It’s surrounded by an amusement park too, so there’s plenty to do around the circuit.

Submitted by: SuburbanCowPoke, Ben C

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