We’re all familiar with the incredible talent you need to drive a Formula One (F1) car, arguably the most challenging of any car to drive, putting F1 racers at the top of the sport. But there are a huge number of perilous, incredibly difficult races that take place all over the world. These are five of the most taxing races of all time.
24 Hours of Le Mans
Wrecked your car? Don’t let that stop you. Simply haul it back to the garage and get it working again. Can’t see a thing during the dead of night, only to be blinded by a competitor’s lights closing in behind you in excess of 200km/h? Either get out of the way, or put the pedal to the metal and hope you don’t miss the turn. Le Mans isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s 24 hours of non-stop racing. One car and two to three drivers, and very little in the way of conventional rules.
Of course, Le Mans is still fairly regulated, but nowhere near as much as other races of its size and prestige, appropriate for the oldest active sports car endurance race in the world.
Despite the constant influx of regulations and new safeguards, few will challenge F1 as the most prestigious motor sport of them all. After all, drivers taking part are racing cars so quick off the mark it would make a superbike blush. Now, imagine racing cars of that calibre through the tight streets, unforgiving bends and hairpin corners of Monte Carlo.
The Dakar Rally is the ultimate test of endurance, not just for the cars of the race, but the racers too. There’s rarely a year that drivers don’t, tragically, lose their lives in the Dakar. That’s because the terrain is extremely rough, and the distance far – almost 10 000km over two weeks, and drivers will regularly find themselves stranded for days after mechanical failure. Of course, that’s why it’s viewed so favourably by its audience, as the ultimate test of endurance.
Pikes Peak Hill Climb
Driving at breakneck speed up a precarious, 20km mountain side course, while trying to negotiate as many as 156 dangerous corners; there’s a good reason they call this hill climb ‘The Devil’s Playground’. Pikes Peak Hill Climb turns 100 this year, and it doesn’t look like it will come to an end anytime soon. There’s nothing like a good hill climb to put a driver through their paces.
The Indianapolis 500 boasts incredibly high average speeds – more than 350 km/h, over the length of a race almost 800km long. As a result of the immense competition and prestige and renown of the track Brickyard, few racetracks have ever come close to attracting the sorts of numbers it has. And if you thought the speed of the cars was spectacular, the crashes are a sight to behold. There’s no doubt that those participating in the Indy 500 have nerves of steel.
Those are just five of many prestigious motor races that take place each year. And it’s because of races like these that motor racing remains incredibly popular to this day, and the variety of race and vehicle types continues to increase year on year.
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