There are thousands of great racetracks and motorsports venues all around the world, but these ten commenter-chosen spots are our favorite. Every gearhead should try to get to these auto meccas before they die.
Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our Jalopnik summer feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Photo Credit:Marcel T.
10.) Circuit de Spa Francorchamps
Suggested By: SennaMP4
Why It's A Must-See: For a driver, Spa is one of the most challenging race tracks in the world. The blind-crested Eau Rouge-Raidillion uphill combination makes for some of the most daring racing seen anywhere. For fans, the track is steeped in history and the on-track action is always exciting, whether you're there for Formula 1 or an endurance race. The weather is always unpredictable, but that just makes the races that much more intense. As a fan, if you didn't get caught in a sudden rainstorm at Spa, you missed out on a little of the experience.
Photo credit: nunor
9.) Stelvio Pass
Suggested By: Ravey Mayvey Slurpee
Why It's A Must-See: It's got elevation changes, switchback corners, and it's in the Alps. It's got danger too- those sheer drops off the edge of the road are absolutely unforgiving. In the words of Jeremy Clarkson, "What an extraordinary road. Thank you Italy." According to some the Stelvio Pass is the greatest driving road in the world.
Photo credit: Youtube
8.) Bonneville Salt Flats
Suggested By: CRXPilot
Why It's A Must-See: Speed junkies have been going to Bonneville officially since the 1930's, so what are you waiting for? If outright speed in the middle of the desert is your thing, there is no better place to go than Bonneville. Big land-speed record specials, hot rods, homemade creations, even folks just bringing their rental cars with some duct tape. Whatever your preference, there's a class for it at Bonneville. And don't worry, you haven't missed this year's event: the 2011 edition of SpeedWeek is August 13-19. Book your flights now!
Photo credit: starrphotos
7.) Indianapolis 500
Suggested By: PyroHoltz
Why It's A Must-See: The Greatest Spectacle in Racing didn't get its name for nothing. It's an event steeped in history and tradition, and I understand it's a damn good time at the track, too. Getting to your seats means seeing speedway friends from around the country who you haven't seen since last year's event. The race itself is always exciting, because there's so much at stake. Every driver wants that win on their resume. Every fan should have it there, too.
Photo credit: antre
6.) 12 Hours of Sebring
Suggested By: SpitfireKP
Why It's A Must-See: The "once around the clock" 12 hour race at Sebring is often described as a three-day party interrupted by a 12 hour race. The infield and Midway areas become playgrounds for college kids on Spring Break, die hard race fans, and a motley assortment of other folks just there for a good time. It's like a 200 mile per hour carnival. There just happen to be some of the fastest and most technologically advanced race cars in the world circling feet away. The big party may bring in a lot of the crowd, but they stay for the racing. Especially once the sun dips down: the headlights come on, the brakes light up, and the racing gets just a little more exciting right as the heat exhaustion sets in and you're ready to pass out from a day in the sun. Sebring is like no other race out there.
Photo credit: Neil_J
Suggested By: Hart88
Why It's A Must-See: Go to the Festival of Speed for the outrageous assortment of cars. Things you'd never, ever see outside of a museum or private collection are there, running at full bore up the Lord March's driveway. The mood is jovial, the drivers are friendly, and the cars are outstanding. For the fully immersive experience though, go in September for the Revival. Guests are required to dress in clothing from motorsport's Golden Era from the 1940's through the 1960's. There are period displays of garages, souvenir stands and more. The old Grand Prix track is opened up for multimillion-dollar racing. It really is like stepping into a living, breathing time capsule.
Photo credit: Smudge 9000
4.) Barber Motorsports Museum
Suggested By: BtheD19
Why It's A Must-See: On the grounds of the Barber Motorsports Park, the museum is just outrageous. Home to the world's largest collection of Lotus race cars, it also has the world's largest collection of motorcycles. It's not all Lotuses though, they've got Ferraris, Fords, literally anything you can think of is probably there in some shape or form. It's almost, but not quite, overwhelming.
Photo credit: unwritten
3.) Monaco Grand Prix
Suggested By: E34 is an underrated E30...
Why It's A Must-See: Sure, everything is wildly expensive. The yachts are huge, but the bling is bigger. There's nothing understated about the fans, the poseurs or the racing at Monte Carlo. But that's sort of the point, isn't it? No matter the cost, the history and ambiance of the race is unlike anything anywhere else. The track, virtually unchanged since its creation in 1929, makes up one third of racing's own Triple Crown, (along with the Indy 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans) which has only ever been won by Graham Hill. You though, as a fan, can add your name to the long list of those to have seen all three.
Photo credit: varlen
Suggested By: Three-Pointed Blue & White Rings
Why It's A Must-See: Whether you're taking your own car out onto the track or watching the pros go at it, just go to the Nordschleife. It's an outstanding track and a part of history that you can experience for yourself. For a fee, take your own car out there. Then, camp out and watch the 24 hour race. The whole time, enjoy the Green Hell.
Photo credit: k1rsch
1.) 24 Hours of Le Mans
Suggested By: Swine
Why It's A Must-See: This is the big one. Even more so than Sebring, Le Mans is a giant carnival. It's all about the racing in France, but there's no shortage of atmosphere and things to keep spectators occupied for two trips around the clock. For the full experience, get a cool car and make the trip from England. Drive through the French countryside and camp out. Make friends at your campsite. Watch the race. Walk the entire eight mile length. Then stumble back to your tent and pass out for a few hours. Get up and groggily watch the race end, and somehow make your way out of there. Congratulate yourself for surviving one of racing's hardest events, on both the teams competing and the fans watching.
Photo credit: hyperleggera