Following on from yesterdays countdown of numbers ten to seven of my favourite tracks in the world, I’ll continue the countdown with six, five a four in my top ten list. If you haven’t seen the start of yesterday’s countdown yet I suggest you do before reading on as you’ve missed a couple of real crackers!
6. Norisring, Nuremberg – Germany.
The Norisring is a truly unique treasure among street circuits. The 1.4 mile track situated on the Nazi Party’s former parade grounds in Nuremberg is surely one of the most surreal circuits in the world as cars snaked their way around the podium and public roads where Hitler conducted many of his now infamous rallies, the Steintribune. Lapped in a record 47.79 seconds, the Norisring is the shortest track in my top ten and is a staple on the DTM and European F3 calendars.
Such is the proximity of the Norisring to Nuremberg city centre, that on race weekends you can hear the roar of DTM cars many streets away as you approach the circuit, and the passion of the German DTM fans, along with the closely packed grandstands an viewing areas ensure an atmosphere like nowhere else on the planet.
First used for motor racing back in 1947, the Norisring’s future is secured on the DTM and European F3 calendars, and with the German round of the Formula E championship mooted for a switch from Berlin’s Tempelhof to Nuremberg, then this historic race looks set remain running for many seasons to come.
5. Suzuka, Japan.
No top ten list would be complete without Suzuka, the spiritual home of the Japanese Grand Prix. Owned and operated by a subsidiary of Japanese motorsport heavyweights Honda, the 3.6 mile figure of eight circuit is a favourite among the F1 drivers and fans and will never be far from the forefront of the F1 community’s memory folllowing Jules Bianchi’s fatal accident in 2014.
Suzuka is home to the infamous 130R, which has seen it’s fair share of accidents over the years and was redesigned after Alan McNish’s accident there in 2002. A circuit of many different faces, Suzuka being’s with a slow a technical section of “S” curves before heading into the Denger curves and the following hairpin. Marked at its westernmost point by the difficult Spoon Curve, the rest of the circuit is characterized by a sprint back down the straight, through 130R and over the chicane to the start finish line.
Suzuka has been the scene of races and moments which have written themselves into F1 folklore such as Senna and Prost colliding, Raikkonen’s charge from the back of the grid in 2005 and Alonso’s move on Michael Schumacher around the outside of 130R, the video of which you can find below.
4. Brands Hatch, Kent – UK
A true, ampitheatre of motor racing, Brands Hatch comes in at number four on my list of circuits. The 2.4 mile Grand Prix circuit represents a unique challenge for any driver with cars negotiating the roller coaster of Paddock Hill Bend and Druids before they sweep off into the woods on the high speed GP section of the circuit.
Like many of the UK’s circuits, Brands Hatch was orginally in the hands of the militarily and hosted it’s first actual race nearly 90 years ago in 1926.It wasn’t until 1950 however that Brands Hatch was surfaced at hosted it’s first car race, and it became the shared home of the British Grand Prix between 1964 and 1986.
Whilst it’s F1 glory days have probably passed Brands Hatch by, it still remains in a prominent position on the international motorsport calendar with the circuit having hosted WTCC, DTM and the inaugural (but now defunct) A1 GP series in the past decade. With the circuit still a regular fixture on the BTCC calendar this historic UK venue is yet another hidden treasure nestled away in the Kent countryside and looks set to remain at the forefront of motorsport for some years to come.