8 of the Most Prominent Motorsport Races in the World

8 of the Most Prominent Motorsport Races in the World
Photo: myRepublica

In the last few years, we have seen the realm of motorsports gain significant media attention due to the popularity of docuseries like Netflix’s Drive to Survive and NASCAR: Full Speed. However, racing has been highly prominent, even dating back to the early 1900s. It has been significantly influential in many cultures worldwide, making its audience broad and diverse. Motorsport possesses a unique characteristic of provoking excitement and thrill like no other sport; drivers and vehicles are pushed to their limits, showcasing exceptional driving skills and battling some of the most challenging circuits and terrains.

Its prominence, while partly attributed to the attractive imagery of the world’s most valuable cars in action, the audience and fan base of the sport are loyal and captivated by multi-dimensional factors like extensive strategies and unique skills that may not be evident to a non-enthusiast. That being said, with the sheer excitement and anticipation of these prestigious events, hundreds of thousands of fans flock to these iconic locations to immerse in the electrifying atmosphere of these high-profile events. From the opulence of the Formula 1 Monaco Grand Prix to the exciting unpredictability of the Isle of Mans TT motorcycle race, LUXUO presents eight of the world’s most prominent motorsport races.

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Formula 1: Monaco Grand Prix

10 of the Most Prominent  Motorsport Races in the World
Photo: F1

Even those who are not motorsport enthusiasts may recognise this race from the massive spike of media attention and the popularity of the Netflix documentary Drive to Survive. As one of “The Triple Crown of Motorsport”: Indy 500, 24 Hours of Le Mans and The Monaco Grand Prix, this track is widely considered one of the most distinct and prestigious tracks of F1 racing. The Circuit de Monaco has been a part of the Formula 1 calendar since 1929 and has been driven by the world’s most famous motorsport legends like Ayrton Senna, who had claimed victory six times on the challenging track. This course is also especially prominent due to its notorious reputation of being the most difficult track for drivers to clock in fast timings. The street race is famous for being unpredictable, consisting of highly narrow roads, elevation changes and tight corners, drivers need more room for error. Additionally, the glitz and glamour of the Monaco Grand Prix definitely add to the whole spectacle of it all; with luxurious super yachts at every turn and streets lined with the world’s most valuable supercars, this event has become a hallmark for A-list celebrities, high-profile guests, billionaires and the Monaco Royal family.

NASCAR Cup: Daytona 500

10 of the Most Prominent Motorsport Races in the World
Photo: Channel News Asia

Daytona 500 is regarded as the most significant race is the NASCAR Cup Series calendar. Dubbed as “The Great American Race”, over 200,000 fans flock to Daytona Beach, Florida from all over the globe to catch this world famous event in real life as well as over 9 million viewers tuning in on their televisions. The Daytona International Speedway has become an integral track in the realm of stock car racing and has been woven into American culture since 1959. The 500 mile race is one of the most desired victories for the teams with its significant association to prestige and tradition within the motorsport community, seeing numerous career-defining moments for NASCAR legends like Richard Pretty and Kyle Busch. Functioning as the NASCAR Cup Series season opener, the Daytona 500 is the important event that garners much anticipation, excitement and sets the tone for the drivers and teams for the rest of the ten month long season.

24 Hours of Le Mans

8 of the Most Prominent Motorsport Races in the World
Photo: Autosport

24 Hours of Le Mans is the ultimate test of endurance, speed and determination for motorsport athletes and their vehicles. Held in the French countryside, the 24 Hours of Le Mans first started in 1923, making it the oldest active endurance event in the world and one of the most difficult motorsports events to win. The race is held on the incredibly challenging track of the Circuit de la Sarthe which spans 13.626 kilometres, where drivers travel at full speed for 85% of the race, with nine kilometeres on unpredictable public roads and four and a half kilometres of asphalt track on the Bugatti Circuit according to former Le Mans champion Yannick Dalmas. The team consists of three rotating drivers whose main goal is to cover the longest distance in a 24-hour span. Professional drivers are put to the test for hours, travelling at full speed. Both infamous and famous for the significant events that occurred there, the gruelling 24 hours is the ultimate test for the durability and technological advancements of the cars, the determination and skill of the drivers and the strategising and teamwork of the teams.

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Motorcycle Racing: Isle of Man TT

10 of the Most Prominent Motorsport Races in the World
Photo: Cycle News

The Isle of Man TT is one of the world’s most anticipated and most dangerous motorsport events. The world-famous event takes place in the small island between Great Britain and Ireland from May bank holiday weekend to the first full week of June, dating back to 1911. While the motorcycle race is well-loved and garners exceptional views, the event’s popularity is mostly due to the unique culture of it being a highly dangerous and controversial event. Since 1911, the treacherous course has claimed the lives of over 200 riders, earning it the title of the most dangerous motorsport in the world. This event is exclusively for motorcycle racing, so the stakes are incredibly high compared to car-focused events. As explained by Autosport, cars offer greater protection from external forces and typically absorb impact of crashes. Here, safety precautions like run-off areas and safety barriers are absent. Thus, riders are completely exposed to the hard conditions and risk severe bodily harm if an accident occurs. The Isle of Man TT is highly beneficial to the local economy, generating a whopping GBP 37 million during the season and a digital viewership of 1.35 million, as per the findings of Autosport and Business Isle of Man. The major success of the event is likely due to the factor of extreme danger. With high risks comes excitement and anticipation from viewers and fans, sparking an intrigue of why individuals choose to put themselves at risk and how they succeed at such a dangerous feat.

Touring Car and GT Endurance Racing: Nürburgring 24 Hours

10 of the Most Prominent Motorsport Races in the World
Photo: Car Throttle

Nürburgring 24 Hours is an annual 24 hour touring car and GT racing event that takes place on the rural grounds of Nürburgring, Germany and is the country’s biggest event of the year. Similar to 24 Hours of Le Mans, the gruelling event is the ultimate challenge for the drivers and especially the car. The circuit consists of 154 corners, 300 meteres of elevation changes and a variety of surfaces to challenge every aspect of the car, from tyres to suspension and mostly the strength of the engine. Since its construction in 1927, the track has been famously nicknamed by Formula 1 legend Jackie Stewart, “The Green Hell” due to its extremely dangerous nature and the tragic loss of over 60 individuals. While the 24 hour race is significantly dangerous and difficult for drivers and teams, most perceive it to be one of the most repeatable and desirable wins in the world of motorsports, due to its rich history and prominent reputation.

World Rally-Raid Championship: Dakar Rally

10 of the Most Prominent Motorsport Races in the World
Photo: TopGear

The Dakar Rally is seen as one of the world’s most risky and unique motorsports events. Spanning over 8,000 km, all-encompassing challenge of ability tested from the driver’s techniques and mental determination to part supply systems and navigation abilities. Previously named Paris-Dakar Rally, the event has shifted its horizons to start on Saudi Arabia’s terrains and end in Dakar for the last five years. The exciting race unfolds on undeveloped terrains like deserts and mountain passes, posing as the penultimate challenge for man and machine. What’s unique about the Dakar Rally is that even amateurs can have the opportunity to enter as well as participation in various vehicles, from automobiles to trucks and even motorcycles. Furthermore, the aim of the Dakar rally is essentially to complete the entirety of the course, as explained by Tokyo Gazoo Racing, considering the extreme difficulty of the race with only an average of below 50% achieving completion, “all drivers who complete the race are winners”.

IndyCar: Indy500

10 of the Most Prominent Motorsport Races in the World
Photo: Britannica

The Indianapolis 500, or Indy 500 for short, is one of the most highly-acclaimed and prestigious motorsports races steeped in decades of history and tradition. Possessing much prominence, the IndyCar Series is the highest class of American open-wheel racing in the United States and instilled in American culture. The significant event takes place on the astoundingly massive grounds of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which is larger than landmarks like the Yankee Stadium, The White House and even the Taj Mahal. The event is well-known for the strange tradition of Indy 500 champions drinking milk post-race instead of the usual celebratory champagne spray. It originated from 1936 race winner, Louis Meyer and his post race drink of buttermilk, stating that he loved its refreshing qualities. This puzzling notion has stuck 20 years later and is still a well-loved tradition till this day. The highly anticipated event also occurs every Memorial Day weekend, with over 300,00 attendees anticipating the iconic race and 4.92 million viewers tuning in digitally.

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Pikes Peak Hill Climb

8 of the Most Prominent Motorsport Races in the World
Photo: myRepublica

The Pikes Peak Hillclimb is America’s second oldest motorsport race, and its first race dates back to 1916. The race is known for its prominence and long-standing tradition in Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region, as well as the extreme danger and excitement it provokes in spectators. The Pikes Peak Hillclimb involves a dangerous race to the 14,115 foot high summit, with dirt roads, windy tracks and a speed of 250 kilometres per hour, the danger and speed highly influences the excitement and anticipation for the event. Additionally, factors like high altitude and thin air slow reflexes and impact drive muscle strength, meaning an incredible amount of athleticism and tenacity is needed to be champion.

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