With the introduction of speed limits (and an outright ban on record runs) at our beloved Nürburgring, it seems the legendary circuit may have an increasingly dim future as the automotive industry’s standard for benchmarking, testing and speed-proving. Here are ten tracks that may be able to carry the torch for the new standard of speed.
I don’t know about you guys, but whenever I happen to be buying a new car, I always take into consideration how fast I can drive off tarmac and how aggressively I can go over New York City potholes. I think the roads of Baja could definitely assist with that.
9.) Pikes Peak
With 12.4 miles of uphill tight turns and steep drops, why not use this legendary hill climb course? Maybe just add some more guardrail...
8.) Circuit of the Americas
I’m sure some of my Texan colleagues wouldn’t mind seeing a few more development prototypes in their neck of the woods.
7.) Top Gear Test Track
Over the years the Top Gear Test Track has been used to by the famed television program to benchmark various performance vehicles and put them against each other in a semi-controlled environment. Hopefully we’ll see it make a return in the future version of the Top Gear program, but if not, maybe a few auto makers could get together and use it for themselves.
6.) Virginia International Raceway
VIR offers a great road course setup that has already been used by various manufacturers, other automotive publications as well as stock car racing teams as a test site for new cars. It would be straightforward to expand on what it’s already very good at.
5.) Watkins Glen International
Watkins Glen’s days as an F1, Nascar, Indycar and United Sportscar Championship track (just to name a few) can give detail as to why this would be one of the few great tracks to replace the Nürburgring. Located in one of the most beautiful regions of New York State, I definitely wouldn’t mind taking a few trips up there a month (a week?) to put down some touristenfahrten sessions.
4.) Suzuka Circuit
The Suzuka Circuit is challenging, reader TokyoBayAquaLine (TBAL) can explain just how challenging it is:
It’s where Ayrton honed his skills in his off time, it’s got a very challenging switchback section right after the main straight, it has some very sharp high speed turns, it has a decent amount of elevation change, it’s a very challenging track to a beginner, and it has some absolutely beautiful sweepers.
Suggested By: TokyoBayAquaLine (TBAL)
3.) Spa Francorchamps
Featuring one of the most famous and difficult turns in the world, Spa can surely offer the necessary challenges automakers look for when testing new models. Some might even say it’s so crazy, it’ll blow the doors off your car.
2.) Circuit de la Sarthe
Le Mans is already a true test of some of the most capable race cars and teams in the world, so what would happen if car manufacturers used it as their proving grounds for speed testing? My only recommendation is to use the old, chicane-less Mulsanne configuration, and let them really have at it.
1.) Isle of Man
This 37.73 mile course has been home to motorcycle races for over 100 years, and remains in use as one of the most impressive and deadly courses on the planet. I’m sure the Isle of Man could make a rather worthy successor to the Nürburgring, if necessary. They just might have to keep those public roads closed a bit more frequently.
Suggested By: Wheelerguy
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Top Photo Credit: McLaren, when they last dithered about setting a ‘Ring record