Temples of Speed – Top 15 Racing Circuits in the World

Best Racing Circuits In The World

It is said that as soon as the second car in the world was built, men already wanted to race each other. Over time, vehicles evolved to travel long distances and at great speeds, which led to the formation of organized racing events around the world.

Formula 1 is considered the pinnacle of motor racing and had its first ever race in May 1950 on Silverstone. Giuseppe Farina took the victory at the British Grand Prix.

Since the first part of the 20th century, motor racing has developed into numerous categories, from stock cars, endurance, drag racing, rally, and more recent, drift races, all events taking place on sanctioned circuits.

There are hundreds or racing circuits around the world today. Let’s have a look at the 15 best racing circuits of all time.

Silverstone Circuit

Silverstone Circuit

Being the first circuit to ever host a Formula 1 race, the Silverstone circuit holds a rich heritage in motorsport. With a length of 3.66 miles, it has been an integral part of motorsport since 1950. The track was built on the grounds of a former Royal Air Force Bomber station that served in WWII battles.

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps

Circuit De Spa Francorchamps

There is hardly anyone with an interest in motor racing that hasn’t heard the name Spa Francorchamps. With 4.36 miles of winding tarmac and featuring the superbly drawn, high speed Eau Rouge corner, Spa Francorchamps circuit has earned the privilege of hosting many legendary races. One such event featured Mikka Hakkinen battling Michael Schumacher to provide what’s recognized as one of F1’s greatest overtaking moves.

Circuit de la Sarthe

Circuit De La Sarthe

Endurance. The longest type of motor racing events, topped by the legendary 24 hours of LeMans race. At 8.5 miles long, the Circuit de la Sarthe hosted the legendary finish of Bruce McLaren and Ken Miles formation finish in 1966, breaking Ferrari’s dominance in the sport.  A moment immortalized in the 2019 movie “Ford v Ferrari”

The Mulsanne straight of the circuit used to get Group C cars of the 80s up to 250mph, before two chicanes were added to reduce speed and the risk of injury or death. The longest distance travelled in the 24hr of LeMans was achieved by the Audi R15+ TDI in 2010, totaling 3362.06 miles (5410.71 kilometers) over 397 laps.

Nürburgring Nordschleife

Nürburgring Nordschleife North Loop Race Track

At 12.93 miles in length, the Nürburgring Nordschleife is considered as one of the toughest, yet most entertaining motor racing circuits in the world. Apart from the famous Karussell corner, the German circuit features an extraordinary mix of slow and fast corners, plus a straight line that pushes the top speed limit of any car.

The 24hr of Nürburgring endurance event mixes the Nordschliefe with part of the original GP Circuit, creating a grueling 16.25 mile circuit that puts all drivers and their cars to the test.


Suzuka Circuit

Opened in 1962, the Japanese Suzuka circuit has become a classic in F1 history, and considered to be one of the most technical racing circuits the world has to offer. The 130R corner has been redesigned to a double-apex corner from its original 130-degree left-hander which hosted Allan McNish’s horrendous crash in 2002.

Suzuka’s record lap time is 1:30.983 seconds and was set by renowned Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton in 2019.

Laguna Seca

Laguna Seca Raceway

Arguably America’s best all-around racing circuit, Laguna Seca provides its fortunate motorists with the Corkscrew corner which has a 5.5 story drop over just 426.5 feet (130 meters), then another 10 story drop until the Rainey Curve. Laguna Seca stretches to 2.23 miles in total.  The now famous MotoGP battle of Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi took place here back in 2008.

The record for Laguna Seca circuit was achieved by the Czinger 21C hypercar, with a time of 1:27,620.


Monaco Street Circuit

Perhaps the best-known street racing circuit in the entire world, the Monaco circuit hosts the great F1 circus without exception. With its incredibly tight corners, little runoff areas and eargasmic tunnel, Monaco gathers hundreds of thousands of fans every year to witness this one-of-kind Grand Prix spectacle.

While the 1:12.909 record is held by Lewis Hamilton, Ayrton Senna is considered to be the best driver to have ever run the Monaco Grand Prix, showcasing out of this world skills and sense of grip in his McLaren MP4/4.


Autodromo Nazionale Monza Circuit

Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale Monza sits as the third oldest racing circuit on Earth, and open to the motorsport crowd since 1922. There are few areas here where full braking is needed, as Monza is best known for its elongated straights and fast corners.

The original circuit stretched over 6.2 miles (10 km), including a banked oval. This configuration was used for just 4 races during the 50s, then the shorter layout was part of the F1 championships with the sole exception of 1980.


Singapore Marina Bay Street Circuit

The 1,700 floodlights set the scene for the night race of Marina Bay Street Circuit in Singapore. While Monaco circuit may be better known, Singapore is unanimously regarded as the most technical street circuit in the world right now.

F1 drivers can reach top speeds in excess of 190mph on the Marina Bay straights, but the harsh bumps and 90-degree turns will squeeze the life out even the most advanced and race-ready braking systems.

Interlagos Circuit

Interlagos Circuit

Built in 1940, Interlagos is known as one of the best motorsport circuits in the world, hosting Formula 1 events for over 40 years. Located in Sao Paolo, Brazil, the 15-turn 2.67 miles circuit is one of the shortest on the F1 calendar. The kinked pit straight and the later added Senna S is one of the few beautiful chicanes in the world.

The all-time record is held by F1 racing driver Valtteri Bottas at 1:10,540, set in 2018.

One of the most memorable moments in motorsport racing involving Interlagos is Ayrton Senna’s first F1 victory on home soil in 1991. As the driver barely kept the lead for the 50 laps, a gearbox issue had Senna fighting the car and managed to hang on to the 1st place, winning the race 2.9 seconds in front of Ricardo Patrese.

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona is one of America’s most iconic car racing tracks, each year hosting the Daytona 500 and the 24 Hours of Daytona events. Millions of fans have come here to witness racing since 1959. With 11 social areas and a capacity for up to 167,000 fans, Daytona International Speedway is also one of the largest outdoor venues in the US.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is the home of one of the best-known motor racing events in the United States: Indianapolis 500. As of now, the speedway is the biggest sports venue on the globe, featuring a gargantuan 257,000 spectator capacity.

The banked oval was built way back in 1909 and measures 2.5 miles in length, and surprisingly its oval rectangular shape has seen virtually no change since its construction. Nine decades later, an FIA approved infield road course was integrated within the oval, increasing the length to 2.6 miles. The fastest ever lap time was recorded during the Indianapolis 500 Practice by Arie Luyendyk in 1996, crossing the oval in merely 37,616 seconds.

Circuit of the Americas

Circuit Of The Americas Austin Texas

Better known as COTA, this central Texas grade 1 FIA-spec circuit features 3.4 miles of masterfully built straights, together with 20 turns. Compared to other entries on the list, COTA was built more recently, in 2011, but has quickly become one of the main attractions of US motor racing and the F1 calendar.

The steep uphill run into turn 1 hairpin is the signature design feature of the circuit. Inspiration from Silverstone circuit is found around turns 3 to 6 while turns 12 through 15 will find the viewer reminiscing of Hockenheim’s stadium area.

Tsukuba Circuit

Tsukuba Circuit

Unlike the most entries in the list, Tsukuba Circuit is best known not for single seater racing, but rather for the Japanese cultural tuner events. The circuit has been prominently integrated into numerous racing video games such as Forza Motorsport and Gran Turismo.

Tsukuba is one of the very few Japanese circuits to be located within a large metropolitan area, a fact which has contributed to its longevity and popularity. It is also one of the shortest circuits in Japan, at just 1.271 miles. However, it does not fail to gather large numbers of auto racing enthusiasts, amateur racing drivers and professionals willing to test their metal.

The tuner community in Japan quickly took notice of the circuit and racers test their car modifications here whenever they can. In short time, holding the fastest lap record on Tsukuba was a well-respected badge of honor.

Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari – Imola Circuit

Imola Circuit Autodromo Enzo E Dino Ferrari

There is no better way to describe Imola than the “heart of Ferrari racing heritage”. The legendary racing circuit sits on top of an 80BC roman amphitheater once used for gladiatorial chariot racing. During the late 40s, four Italian locals saw the opportunity for a new road that included the via Emilia, now part of the Rivazza curve.

The circuit was originally named after the Santerno River which borders it on the paddock side. However, the name was later changed to Autodromo Dino Ferrari in honor of Enzo’s son who died of leukemia. Three decades later, Enzo’s name has been integrated into the name of the circuit.

Although the circuit will always be tainted by the 1994 death of Formula 1’s legend Ayrton Senna, it remains to this day an unmistakable historical mark of motorsport history.

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