Take the Checkered Flag
Formula 1, NASCAR, Indy and Other Top Car Racing Circuits
Ever since Count Jules-Albert de Dion won the world's first car race from Paris to Rouen in 1894, making the trek at an average speed of 19 kph, auto racing has been a beloved pastime and an important forum for showcasing and testing new automotive technology. Today, the experimental steam engines and cars of questionable integrity have been replaced by finely-tuned racing machines, and the spirit of amateurism that pervaded early races has been superseded by a highly organized system of governing bodies; however, that same buzzing energy and sense of excitement can still be experienced on race day at the modern track. From long distance endurance trials like the 24 Hours of Le Mans, to the off-road romping of the World Rally Championship, to stock car classics like the Indianapolis 500, today's auto races cover a wide and varied field, and provide fans with the type of thrilling, edge-of-your-seat entertainment that few other sports can claim. Check out our rundown of some of the top American circuits below for an overview of what contemporary car racing has in store for the spectator.
Short for the National Association
for Stock Car Auto Racing, NASCAR
is the largest sanctioning body
of motor sports in the United
States. Each year, NASCAR holds
three major series in North America,
the most well-known being the
Sprint Cup, which includes the
popular Daytona 500 in Daytona,
Fla. For more information, visit www.nascar.com.
Formula E Championship
Starting in 2014, Formula racing is going electric with the launch of the Formula E Championship, a racing series dedicated solely to electric vehicles. Featuring 10 teams, 20 drivers and 40 cars, the races will take place in the heart of iconic cities including London, Beijing and Berlin. Accelerating from 0-60 in under three seconds and boasting a top speed of over 130 mph, these emission-free Formula cars are all about bringing exciting new innovations to the electric car. For more information, visit www.fiaformulae.com
Indy Racing League
The Indy Racing League (IRL) is the sanctioning body of two championship open-wheel racing series in the United States, which includes the famous Indianapolis 500. After splitting from Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) in 1994, IRL succeeded while CART floundered financially. In 2008, CART, which had been renamed to Champ Car following bankruptcy, merged with IRL. For
more information, visit www.indycar.com.
The International Motorsport Association
pulls together the ALMS (American
Le Mans Series), the GT3 Cup Challenge and GT3 Cup Challenge Canada and
the Prototype Lites series
under one American sanctioning
roof. Fans enjoy thrilling races
as well as the many opportunities
to meet drivers and team members
across the country, but the best
known is the grueling 12 Hours
of Sebring which kicks off the
ALMS Series annually in Florida. www.imsaracing.net
Not the average car race, the WRC
is a series of rally races in 13
different countries, on some of the
harshest terrain on the planet. Teams
enter multiple cars in each race,
which occurs in multiple stages,
most off-road and not open to the
public. Instead of racing against
each other, cars race against time;
teams with the fastest overall times
earn points to determine the WRC
winner. WRC locations range far across
the world and include places like
Sweden, Mexico, New Zealand, Argentina
and France. For more information,
| LIFE IN THE FAST LANE
Based on the 1970's rivalry between driving legends James Hunt and Niki Lauda, "Rush" captures the glamour, excitement and danger of Formula 1 racing.
photo by Mercedes GP.
IMSA photo by AlphaMedia.
Indy Racing League photo from www.indycar.com.