One of my friends sent me this link of a blog about the world's best racetracks (as seen from Google Earth, no less!). I read through their criteria for an awesome racetrack and while I don't particularly agree with all their thoughts, they do make some sense. And before I read their text of what the racetracks were, I tried to guess the tracks just by their layout and surrounding countryside. I did pretty well and guessed 10 or 11 of them accurately. And then I realized why...I had driven on 10 of them and walked around the other one I got right! And although for the most part I agree with their choices, I thought I would come up with my own list of the world's best road courses (that I have driven on)- and give a reason (or two) why. And these racetracks are in their current layout (the biggest argument may be over the original Nurburgring- the whole 17.5 mile long lap- while I am only including the current Grand Prix layout).
Charlie Kimball's Top 15 Road Courses in the World
15. Le Mans Bugatti circuit, France- You can still feel the energy of the 24 Hour race.
14. Donington Park, UK- The Craner Curves and the jets landing overhead.
13. Nurburgring, Germany- Being in the Eiffel mountains and the unpredictable weather.
12. Barcelona, Spain- The never ending turn 3!
11. Sepang, Malaysia- The fast flowing corners.
10. Zandvoort, The Netherlands- Sheivlak corner.
9. Hockenheim, Germany- The hairpin for overtaking.
8. Mid-Ohio, USA- Thunder Valley
7. Pau, France- Foch (monument corner)
6. Road America, Wisconsin, USA- The Carousel corner and the straights.
5. Laguna Seca, California, USA- The Corkscrew (what other corner in the world do you aim for a tree on the horizon?)
4.Silverstone, UK- The Becketts complex in a Formula 3 car (and watching an F1 in the wet!)
3. Monte-Carlo, Monaco- The tunnel, the Grand Prix, the yachts, the palace, the history.
2. Monza, Italy- Racing through the park with the old banking still there- still gives me the shivers thinking about it.
And now for the #1.....well actually there are 2 number 1's....I couldn't choose between them!
1a. Macau, China- The mile long straight and then the mountain section- two racetrack personalities in one. The best track in the world for Formula 3 cars by far. The most challenging and technical place I have ever driven.
1b. Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium- Eau Rouge, Pouhon, the trees, the elevation, the rain, the fog, the history, the frittes and waffles.
In the future I will delve into the special moments that each of these incredible tracks hold for me.