Motor racing is very popular in many countries around the world because of its spectacle and brilliance. Many of the competitions are known to almost everyone on the planet. However, when most people mention car racing, the only name that comes to mind is Formula 1.
Indeed, this is probably the most popular type of car racing but by no means the most spectacular. What are other races popular all over the world? The author will try to answer this question in this article.
Fame is a subjective parameter, and it is impossible to make an objective rating by such an indicator. The top is the author’s personal opinion, and the reader can make his or her version of the list if he or she wants.
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Dakar is a big city in Africa, the capital of the state of Senegal, which was a French colony for a long time. The idea for the rally itself belonged to Frenchman Thierry Sabin – the first race was held in 1978 and was named “Paris-Dakar,” i.e., after the names of the final points of the race route.
The rally is held each year on natural terrain. Essentially, the rally is an endurance race for cars. Racers from all over the world compete in several classes – Motorcycle, Car, Truck, ATV, and Buggy. And all are traveling in parallel on the same route.
The rally was held annually from France to Senegal from 1978 to 2009. The rally was canceled in 2009 due to the hostilities that broke out in Senegal and an increased level of the terrorist threat. Since then, the rally no longer follows the traditional route.
The new tracks are predominantly in South America through Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina, which boast an almost African-style landscape. However, the rally is called the Dakar Rally.
The Formula E championship was established in 2014. The decision was official, meaning it was supported by many nations around the world. And the point is that the cars driven by the pilots are electric cars with open wheel arches, only superficially resembling Formula 1 cars.
As part of the general “greening,” many politicians are pushing for a widespread switch to electric cars, and themed races are one method of popularizing this type of personal transport.
A special feature of the races is that the tracks are re-created every year on public streets in different cities. This is what made the races so popular.
The Formula E Championship starts every year in October. There are a total of 10 races in the series. There are no stages in the winter. The 10th race usually takes place in July, after which the teams have a break to prepare for the next racing season.
Touring Car Racing (TCR)
The annual TCR series is essentially a circuit race based on its production car counterparts. The race cars are, of course, modified, but the rules of the competition impose a strict framework within which these modifications can be made.
The peculiarities of the car class also affect the composition of the teams which regularly participate in TCR. These are mainly international automobile production brands interested in publicity – Audi, Subaru, Seat, Volkswagen, Kia, and others. Avtovaz also has a team.
The minimum requirements for the cars include the following characteristics:
- Maximum engine power – 350 hp;
- Maximum engine displacement – 2 liters;
- Minimum weight on production gearbox – 1,250 kg, on racing gearbox – 1,285 kg;
- Four doors;
- Front-wheel drive.
The series may include several stages, the most prestigious of which is held in Germany.
World Rally Championship, WRC
Rally is one of the world’s most complex and spectacular motor racing events. The World Rally Championship has been held annually since 1973. There are 13 rounds in each season, and the courses may be set in different countries.
Crews have to achieve the fastest time in each stage. A crew consists of two persons – a pilot and a navigator. The length of each track is around 1,000 kilometers. Each track has special sections where the drivers must achieve the best speed to receive an additional time bonus.
The circuit may include several special sections, which create artificially different road terrain depending on the time of year – gravel, snow, sand, and so on. The reigning world rally champion is French rally driver Sebastien Ogier, who will be crowned eight times world champion in 2021. He drives a modified Toyota Yaris for the Toyota team.
World Endurance Car Championship
This championship is organized by the European Automobile Club. It replaces the previously famous Le Mans Series by incorporating it. The format of the tournament enables teams to compete in four classes, two of which are reserved for professional drivers with prototype cars, the other two for professionals driving Gran Turismo-class cars, and at least one amateur driver (there must be at least one in the team) driving a car of the same segment.
Curiously enough, the rules do not prohibit professional (branded) teams from competing against private ones. It’s also one of the few races where drivers can compete in their cars. There are a total of 6 races per year, each lasting at least 6 hours. The most prestigious event is the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans. The championship has been held since 2012.
NASCAR races are very popular in the United States and some other American countries. The race course is an oval, and the track itself is at a slight angle to the surface. The diameter of the oval is small, ranging from 847 meters to 4.28 kilometers in the US.
The average speed of the track is 303 km/h. The number of laps per race can be several hundred. The number of cars shared on the track is usually several dozen. All these conditions contribute to constant accidents, which makes the races spectacular and highly popular among spectators. NASCAR’s first championship was held in 1949. To this day, it has not been governed by any inter-automotive federation.
The Indianapolis 500 is one of the oldest races in the world and still runs today. It was founded back in 1911 and has been held at the track in Indianapolis in the western United States ever since.
The race is held once a year and is similar in rules to the Formula 1 championship but is not administratively part of it. Many drivers see the race as an opportunity to test their skills and prepare for the Formula 1 season.
The races feature open-wheel cars. Many Indy 500 winners have gone on to win F1 titles. There are 200 laps in the race, with a lap length of 2.5 miles or about 4 kilometers. Victories in the race, coupled with victories for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Monaco Grand Prix, give the driver the unofficial but prestigious Triple Crown of Motorsport.
Formula 1 races are, without a doubt, the most popular races on the planet. This is evident in the fact that everyone knows the names of the Formula 1 Grand Prix champions (Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher are household names at least once). The race is held every year, with the first one held way back in 1950.
Each year the technical regulations have been changed to make the races safer. Competitions are held between single-seater, open-tire race cars. At the moment, ten teams and 20 drivers from different countries are competing for the title of world champion. The 2021 champion is Dutchman Max Verstappen of the Mercedes team.
Each Grand Prix season consists of 22 races, the most prestigious of which is the Monaco Grand Prix. Participation is expensive, and the number of competitors has been continuously declining since 1990. Since then, 28 teams have left the championship.
During the entire existence of the Formula 1 Championship, 54 drivers have lost their lives on tracks during practice and competition. The most recent case dates back to 2015 when Briton Justin Wilson was killed.
Motorsport is very popular with spectators, but its main categories are very different. That is the great advantage of motorsport – everyone can find an attractive class of competition.