Let’s face it, motor racing has come in leaps and bounds in terms of track safety and the racing cars themselves.
But racing fast cars has left a deadly legacy, one which race organisers are hoping is a thing of the past.
But motorsport still comes with associated risks.
Here are some of the most dangerous racetracks in the world.
Indianapolis Speedway: Indiana
The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is best known for hosting the Indy 500. Drivers race around the oval-shaped circuit until they reach 500 miles.
The track has steep banking, which has been blamed for most of the 73 fatalities since 1909.
Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps: Belgium
This F1 circuit is found in Stavelot, Belgium and is known simply as “Spa.”
The well-known danger spots of Eau Rouge and Raidillon notched up the 2019 fatal crash for Formula Two driver, Antoine Hubert.
The Eau Rouge and Raidillon area has since been redeveloped in the interest of improving safety.
Nürburgring Nordschleife: Germany
The notorious Nürburgring Nordschleife was built and opened in 1927 in an effort to end the dangerous races which were taking place on public roads in the Eifel mountains.
Currently, F1 races are held on the “GP-Strecke,” or the 3.16 mile-long Grand Prix Circuit.
This track is considered in motorsport circles as very dangerous and demanding. F1 hero, Sir Jackie Stewart, is said to have referred to the track as “The Green Hell.” Some have even called it “The Graveyard”.
200 deaths have taken place here.
Why Is Nürburgring So Deadly?
This deadly racetrack has many carmakers’ test facilities and is considered the ultimate testing for new vehicles.
The Nürburgring actually consists of two racetracks － the GP circuit and the infamous Northern loop, the Nordschleife. To improve safety ratings, F1 removed the Northern loop from its calendar in 1976, after Nikki Lauda’s crash.
The Nordschleife is the longest racetrack in the world at 12.94 miles or 20.83 km long. It has an incredible 154 corners of various angles, speeds, and elevations. To date, the Northern Loop has seen almost 70 deaths of professional drivers. There are three main reasons for its deadliness.
The Nordschleife has a lot of changes in elevation, many are very abrupt. The most difficult section is the “Foxhole” with five radical corners. The last one has a steep downhill, followed by an immediate vertical climb. As the sudden change in elevation results in a rough weight transfer. Braking at the bottom can cause drivers to lose control.
Circuit De La Sarthe: Le Mans, France
The Circuit de La Sarthe is home to the 24 hour Le Mans endurance race. In its current form, it is 8.467 miles long. It’s a high-speed circuit, and most of the lap is at full acceleration.
In 1955 a Mercedes SLR spun into the crowd, resulting in a huge fire, injuring 180 people, and killing 84. The crash was followed by a re-evaluation of many safety and procedural regulations.
Circuit de Monaco: Monaco
The glitzy Monte Carlo GP is a celebrity event that’s as glamorous as the real money casinos found in the principality. The tight circuit and increasing size of the racing cars make this track a very demanding course.
Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari: Imola, Italy
The 4.9 km track at Imola hosts mainly F1 drivers. In 1994 Rubens Barrichello crashed (he survived), but Roland Ratzenberger was killed instantly during an accident. On the Sunday, three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna left the track after a safety car restart. He lost control of his Williams and died later in hospital.
Autodromo Nazionale Monza: Italy
This super-fast track near Milan has claimed the lives of 52 drivers and 35 spectators.
Jeddah Corniche Circuit: Saudi Arabia
At last year’s Jeddah, Mick Schumacher was hospitalised following a crash which subjected him to a 33 G-Force impact.
Pikes Peak International Hill Climb
This 12-mile Colorado race is dubbed “The Race To The Clouds,” and drivers go through 156 corners while climbing over 4,500 feet.