These Are The Worst Race Tracks In History

These Are The Worst Race Tracks In History

You all really have a thing about street circuits, don't you?

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Yesterday, in the wake of Formula 1's announcement of a Las Vegas event for the 2023 season, we asked you for the tracks you thought were the absolute worst. As I walked through the valley of the shadow of your hundred and fifty comments, I learned about so many new tracks to never, ever attempt to drive. Here are ten of the best. Or worst.

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The Original Vegas F1 Course

The Original Vegas F1 Course

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Image: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1115429

Nelson Ledges before it was redone. Track break-up made it like an off-road course in places.

The first Vegas F1 track. It was awful.

I may be new to the ways of F1, but one thing I do know is that the cars seem to like going fast. I like watching the cars go fast. A tight, narrow course like this seems like it would impede the overall fastness of going, and for that it earns a spot on the list.

Submitted by: Jerry Wiegert’s Hair Helmet - Deceased

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Paul Ricard

Paul Ricard

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Image: Will Pittenger, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Paul Ricard. I didn’t even wake up for that race last year. It’s a mess to watch, too. Yawn.

Look, I’m just going to say it. You can’t give a race track a people name. It’s like having a dog named Ronald. Some names are only meant to be attached to the human form. Paul Ricard is a people name, and thus it can’t go on a race track.

Submitted by: ItsYourBoyHobbes

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AVUS (And A Bunch Of Others)

AVUS (And A Bunch Of Others)

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Image: Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1115423

I’ll just focus on F1 tracks, the worst just based on historic tracks that look SUPER boring would be AVUS (Germany, 1959) and Zeltweg Airfield (Austria, 1964), looks like LONG straights and a couple of corners.

Indianapolis (USA) and Nurburging (original track, Germany) rank as the two deadliest (7 and 5 deaths, respectively).

For tracks on this year’s calendar, I’ll go with Jeddah, Monaco and Zandvoort. Jeddah was kinda fun to watch this year, but with the high speed, close walls and limited visibility it’s just a matter of time before someone has a crash that makes Mick Schumacher’s wreck stand out as the warning it should be.

Zandvoort just looks like someone made a really big go-kart track in the sand and decided to put full size race cars on it, in certain sections of that circuit, the cars look almost comically out of place.

I love the Monaco GP, but let’s be honest, it’s pretty much a really, really fast parade. So Monaco fits right in the middle of Jeddah and Zandvoort because it combines what’s wrong with both tracks. F1 cars have grown to accommodate safety improvements but you can’t just move parts of a city to make the street wider for better run off areas and to get more room for passing. This usually results in the race being a procession where no one can pass and cars are removed from various places in the procession due to driver error (clipping a wall, or pushing another driver into a barrier), equipment failure (blown motor, flat tire, etc.) or when a team decides to just throw away a win and calls their driver in for tires and everyone has their thumb firmly planted up their ass (like when Red Bull screwed Danny Ric quite hard without a nice kiss or even a little lube a few years ago).

AVUS claims four whole corners, three of which combine like Voltron to form a facsimile of Lime Rock Park’s Big Bend. When plotting an ideal line, it ends up being two straights linked by two hairpins — the exact track layout that NASCAR haters claim makes for boring racing. Ovals, by the way, are more interesting than this.

(Editor’s note from Elizabeth Blackstock: HAVE Y’ALL SEEN AVUS’ BANKING??????????????????? BRO. BRO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Submitted by: NegativeEd

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FutureDoc’s Younger Brother’s Slot Car Tracks

FutureDoc’s Younger Brother’s Slot Car Tracks

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Photo: Kallemax, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Whatever slot car track my younger brother put together. It would never keep connectivity and the orange shag carpet of the 80s would get into anything remotely statically charged.

Half the challenge of building a good track is finding a proper location. Maybe you need elevation changes, suitable amenities nearby, or just the incredible acreage necessary to build a racing venue. FutureDoc’s brother, unfortunately, didn’t take location into account — that shag carpeting acting like silt, making for an uneven base that ruins the entire experience.

Submitted by: FutureDoc

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Monaco

Monaco

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Photo: Interceptor73, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Monaco consistently produces noisy parades. Pageantry and history be damned. Put Monaco last as a victory lap for the champ, kind of like the last stage of the Tour de France. Grid order is defined by points. Ties could be settled through qualifying.

There’s one core issue with changing Monaco too much: It’s where the rich people are. F1 is already trying to replicate the experience in Miami, with some extremely well-thought-out additions to the course that are totally feasible and make one hundred percent total sense.

Submitted by: Give Me Tacos or Give Me Death

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Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course

Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course

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Photo: Spyder_Monkey, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road course, Bad sightlines from a lot of seats, limited general admission areas. In general you are to far away as it is a huge facility. Overpriced crappy hotels. Parking and traffic control was good. Went twice never got any better. My comment at the time was if I am going to pay thru the nose for it I might as well go to Europe and went to Imola. So nice.

Putting aside the fact that the infield of an oval circuit meets few if any definitions of “road,” good viewing angles are critical for a good race experience. If you can’t see the action, what’s the point in going at all?

Submitted by: Bob

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Hot Wheels Disputes

Hot Wheels Disputes

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Photo: Eva Rinaldi, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Do Hot Wheels tracks count?

Because, without fail, while setting up a course, my brother and I would get into an argument which would be settled with a sword fight using said track segments as swords.

The end result would be one or both of us running to mom in tears, with welts on our arms and (after on particular brutal battle) faces.

Mom would then threaten to beat both of us then return to her soap opera and ‘coffee.’

Good times....

This one is less of a defined track, and more of the experience of building a track. But, consider this: Is there a worse track than one that’s never built at all?

Submitted by: Earthbound Misfit I

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The Nürburgring

The Nürburgring

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Illustration: Eugen Felle, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Nürburgring. There I said it.

It’s a super famous and prestigious track. However, as a “Race Track” it’s terrible. It’s great for time trials and bragging rights, but to actually hold races on its narrow and twisting asphalt where there is hardly anywhere safe to overtake, makes it more danger than excitement.

There have been 75 deaths during official races, and many many more on civilian “Track Days”, with a bad one just a little over a year ago. (https://www.carscoops.com/2021/10/one-driver-dead-seven-injured-in-fiery-nurburgring-pile-up/)

I’m not saying we should demolish it, but it should be restricted to just time trials by professionals.

At the speeds of normal tourists, driving the track for fun at just the cost of a toll entry, there are a number of sections where passing on the Nürburgring is entirely reasonable. But as the cars get faster, margins for error become slimmer, and those passing zones get smaller or disappear completely. The Nürburgring is certainly historic, and its varied conditions make for a perfect manufacturer testing ground, but it can be wildly unsafe for wheel-to-wheel racing.

Submitted by: Knyte

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Macau

Macau

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Image: Sentoan, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Macau GP track. This street circuit has the distinction of hosting both car and motorcycle races, and also the distinction of always making headlines with deaths, injuries, pileups. It’s an absolute clown show. A quick search of Jalopnik articles on the track include:

Putting bikes and cars together on the roads is dangerous enough, but having them race against each other is a recipe for disaster. Doing so on a track as fast as Macau just makes things even more ripe for a horrible ending.

Submitted by: Ducky

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Rainbow Road

Rainbow Road

Rainbow Road - Extremely lax safety standards. No barriers at all (seriously guys?) And these big blocks that keep crushing drivers. Honestly I don’t know how it got approved as a season closer.

Rainbow Road may be one of the more technically difficult tracks in the Special Cup, but the difficulty of mastering it is exactly why it’s so beloved. The track does have barriers, contrary to popular belief, but the lack of them in some critical areas is due to years of underfunding. Credit to the track’s marshal, Lakitu, who always seems to snatch a happy ending from the jaws of what would otherwise be a disastrous track.

Submitted by: Citric

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