Turn 1 at Indy, the Porsche Curves at Le Mans, Eau Rouge at Spa, Laguna Seca's Corkscrew, Paddock Hill Bend at Brands Hatch, Suzuka's Esses, the Kink at Road America… Classic corners, epic tracks – and all still used by top racing series.
But what is it that makes a great track great? This is RACER magazine, so we asked racers, yet we're also aware that a fan's demand to be entertained can be at odds with a driver's need to be challenged. Some can appreciate the finesse required to drive an IndyCar around, say, the Milwaukee Mile; to others, it just looks like a car going around in endless, small circles.
Three-time World Champion Nelson Piquet famously compared driving a 1980s Formula 1 car through the streets of Monte Carlo with riding a bicycle around his living room. But who with any soul for this sport would want to see the Monaco Grand Prix removed from the F1 schedule? Yes, considering the huge runoff areas that define the character of so many modern tracks, it seems strange that grand prix cars are still let loose on the principality's narrow streets. But Monaco's challenge and sense of drama, plus the 80-year heritage of the event,
isn't something that can be replicated.
Ambiance and age rarely mean much to the guys behind the wheel, though. Monza is one of racing's greatest and oldest theaters, and on many a fan's bucket list
to visit. Yet there won't be many drivers who'd cite the chicane-blighted autodromo as a great circuit; it's simply not as demanding as Suzuka, Spa or Silverstone.
So how do you define an epic track? We've answered that in depth. But, cutting to the chase, it's one where aces pull out an advantage over rivals of lesser talent. For example, although Piquet mocked tight and twisty Monaco, it was he whose Williams-Honda rocketed out of the tunnel at 192mph during qualifying in '86.
In essence then, an epic track defines who's a driver…and who's a racer.
Also on tap in RACER
• In Focus: SRT Viper GTS-R
• The Racer Interview: Tony Kanaan and Simona De Silvestro
• Seven Steps to Asphalt Excellence
• Epic Track No. 1: Spa-Francorchamps
• Epic Track No.2: Monte Carlo
• Grand Designs
• Epic Track No. 3: Nordschleife
• Epic Track No.4: Indianapolis
• Turn, Turn, Turn
• Epic Track No.5: Le Mans
• Epic Track No.6: Bathurst
• Rossi Takes Stock
• Taking On Goliath
All this and much more on tap in our June issue, on sale now. Click here to subscribe!
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