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10 Famous Car Races You Should Know

24 Hours of Le Mans
24 Hours of Le Mans race in 2019 in Le Mans, France.

Motorsports is a relatively young sport that gained popularity in the 20th century. The 10 most famous races are spread across the world and held regularly.

Notable races are the Formula One – which is currently probably the most popular motorsport – as well as the Monaco Grand Prix, Indianapolis 500 and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Motorsports are an increasingly popular sport with a large fan base.

There’s a race for almost everyone to enjoy, ranging from circuit racing to endurance off-road rallies. This article lists 10 famous car races you should know about.

Indianapolis 500

Indianapolis 500
The Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Indianapolis 500 is an annual race held in the United States where drivers race around a 2.5 mile circuit for a total of 500 miles. Their speeds reach up to 230 miles per hour and it is known as a risky track to face.

The track has been nicknamed the brick yard as it was originally paved with bricks in 1909 and a yard of the original brick is exposed at the start of the track. It is considered to be one of the top three races in the world, forming part of the Triple Crown.

It is a race that values its traditional roots and hosts pre and post ceremonies celebrations that are highly respected.

24 Hours of Le Mans

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is an incredible test of endurance where racers go for a straight 24 hours around a 2.5 mile circuit. It is won by the car that covers the greatest distance over the 24 hours.

The race is held on Circuit de la Sarthe that is made up of closed public roads and racing tracks. It is named after the city where it is held – Le Mans in France.

The largest distance covered was 5,410 km in 2010. Drivers normally drive for two hours before a relief driver can take over while they rest and eat.

Daytona 500

Daytona 500
The Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in 2019.

The Daytona 500 is the first NASCAR race of the year. It is the first of two cup races that are held yearly. The total distance drivers will travel is 500 miles over 3.5 hours on average. The course is 2.5 miles long and drivers do a total of 400 laps around the course.

It has only been shortened four times due to rain and once due to an energy crisis. Daytona 500 is held at the Daytona International Speedway.

Dakar Rally

The Dakar Rally is not for the faint of heart. It is an exhilarating race held in deserts all over the world, however it has been exclusively held in Saudi Arabia since 2020. The race costs $75,000 to enter and has cost the lives of 28 of its participants since its inception in 1978.

It is an off-road endurance race that is open to anyone with the guts to enter. You only need to be 18 years old and have the funds to enter. There are a total of 5 classes of vehicles that take place in the event – quads, motorcycles, cars, trucks, and UTVs.

The distances of each stage differ from short distances up to 900 km (560 miles) per day.

The race was born after Thierry Sabine got lost in Ténéré Desest during the 1975 Abidjan-Nice Rally. Sabine decided that the desert would be a good place for a rally to take place.

In 1978, 182 participants set off at the start of the first race in Paris and only 74 completed the trip to Dakar, Senegal. It is a rally that attracts the bravest souls who crave adrenaline.

Monaco Grand Prix

Monoco Grand Prix
Monoco Grand Prix in 2018.

The Monaco Grand Prix is arguably one of the popular events around the world. It is held annually at the Circuit de Monaco.

The track is one of the more dangerous tracks to race on due to its narrow turns. It is the only Grand Prix that does not stick to the 305 km/190-mile minimum race requirements for Formula One.

Pikes Peak Hill Climb

This annual car race is held on Pike Peak in Colorado. It climbs up to 4,720 ft/1,440 m starting at mile 7 of the Pikes Peak Highway. The drivers finish at 14,115 ft/4302.25 m above sea level at the end of the race.

Previously the track featured both paved and bare terrain. However, in August 2011 the entire track was completely paved. In total, the distance of the track covers 12.42 miles/19.98 km.

Bathurst 1000

This supercar championship spans over 1000 km/621.37 miles and is annually held at Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, Australia. It is viewed as one of the most popular motorsports events in Australia.

The race is affectionately known as The Great Race amongst its local fans. The trophy awarded to the winner of the race is named after Peter Brock, to honor the driver’s life and his achievements.

The track makes use of temporarily closed roads and the first corner is known as Hell Corner as it features a 90-degree turn. The elevation between the lowest and highest points reaches 174 m /571 ft difference in total.

Rally Finland

In the heart of Finland at the Finnish Lakeland, the Rally Finland takes place every year from June to August. It is the largest public event in the Nordic region.

It was originally an endurance race that has been split into different categories. The course is made up of wide gravel roads with jumps among the track. It is vital that signage is correctly placed to ensure drivers safely navigate the course.

Monte Carlo Rally

Originally starting at a number of points across Europe and ending in Monaco, the Monte Carlo Rally takes place across the French Riviera in Monaco and into Southeast France.

The rally began under Prince Albert I in order to promote Monaco as well as celebrate and showcase the improvements and advances that car manufacturers have made. The rally occurs annually and is a part of the European Rally Championship.

Formula One

The Formula One is a series of races annually held that form the Grand Prix. It is arguably one of the most popular sports worldwide, with the current top competitors to watch being Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen, and Lando Norris.

Each track is featured across Europe and varies in distance and difficulty. Drivers partake in these high-speed races to determine who has the best ability and the most efficient car.

Notable teams are Red Bull, Mercedes, and Ferrari.

Conclusion

Car racing is one of the most popular sports worldwide. It is an exhilarating sport that takes on a number of formats across the world.

Rally races are endurance races that take skill, stamina, and a strong mindset to complete while Grand Prix races take incredible skill and endurance to finish on top. There is a form of motorsports for every person to enjoy.

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