laguna seca

What are your favorite race courses in the world and why?


The length, difficulty to learn, numerous turns, elevation changes, location in the woods of Germany, amazing history.  Gayle and I went there last year for the first time in almost 20 years. We couldn’t believe how built up it is now. It used to be a place in the middle of nowhere with one hotel.  Now there are many hotel choices, restaurants, shops, etc. In addition to the great track experience it is now a comfortable place to visit.



Length, high average speed, challenging corners, elevation changes. Great spectator viewing. There’s nothing quite like standing along the expansive Eau Rouge front straight as a car blasts by on its way up and over the hill to turn three.  Don’t forget to pick up some of Belgium’s finest chocolate while in the area. At the track I personally lean toward the fries with all their various sauce options.


Elkhart Lake

America’s national park of tracks.  Beauty for both the drivers and spectators.  Going to a race at Elkhart is like a beautiful weekend picnic with fine automobiles racing by. The best of both worlds. If you can, rent a golf cart as the place is expansive and you’ll want to enjoy all of it. Be sure to fit in a Johnsonville bratwurst and a frozen custard.

Elkhart Lake

Laguna Seca

The infamous corkscrew. Nothing else like it in the world.  Unlike the previous tracks I’ve mentioned, the track isn’t hidden by trees so it’s fairly easy to find a spectator location where you can view several corners and a fair amount of the track.  It’s also a place where we always see great friends and the restaurant options in Monterey and Carmel are endless.

laguna seca


The course is mostly run on local roads that are closed to the public during race week.  The allure of Le Mans is not so much the track it’s the race that occurs there.  Running flat out for 24 hours for the cars, drivers and spectators gives this course a unique reputation and feel. The tradition and history of a race that’s been run since 1923 is evident. The racing is also good as the ACO’s quirky French rules are designed to push ingenuity vs. convention. Le Mans… it has rightfully earned its place on almost everyone’s bucket list.

Le Mans

Pikes Peak Hillclimb

It’s not really correct to say this is one of my favorite race courses. It used to be a completely different challenge before it was paved. Now, with the road fully paved to the top it’s still a race like no other. You can be sweating in the bright sun at the start line and freezing in the wind and snow at the finish line on the peak. The cost of running off course is huge as the earth falls away for hundreds of feet if you get off-line at the wrong spot!  To continue my commentary on track food…. the night before the ‘climb Gayle and I buy a box of donuts. The next morning we place the box in the engine compartment. The donuts get toasty warm and fresh as we climb the mountain at 3 a.m. to find the spot where we’ll be all race day.

Pike's Peak


The course changes every year which adds some intrigue and required research to determine where and how you want to watch. Baja is like sex….it’s all good but some is really special. Once you learn a great spot to watch you can go back each year (if they run that same part of the course). The cars run on a particular section only once so if after they go by you the first time, and you’d like to see them again, you can get on the main highway and move farther down the course to watch ‘em come by again or maybe go across the peninsula and catch them heading for the finish. It will feel like you are also part of the race just to get there before they pass. Anything can happen in Baja which is part of its allure so stay flexible and enjoy… it’s an adventure you’ll never forget and you’ll feel you’re part of it.



There’s nothing in the world like the almost limitless expanse of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Bonneville is about getting up close and personal with the cars and teams. Everything moves very slowly at Bonneville, except the cars! Even after the cars are prepped the line to race can easily take a couple of hours. This is the time when you can spend quality time talking to the crews and drivers.  Their work is done and there’s time to talk, learn the history of each class and what makes each car so special. Watching the cars run can be interesting too, but be sure to bring a set of binoculars...and a lot of sun screen!

I’d like to hear what your favorite race courses are and why.

16 thoughts on “What are your favorite race courses in the world and why?

  1. I like Imola and Monza in Italy. Mr. Brock can tell how much the Monza has changed over the years. Imola is like a street circuit but has also changed since the death of Ayrton Senna. Before that the first left corner was just crazy! Flat out with a concrete wall on the outside. Unfortunately Senna went into that wall. Since then they put 2 chicanes ther but the rest of the track is unchanged. And the acque minerali corner is great!

    1. Hello Primoz…..I’ve never been to Imola so can’t comment, but knowing how dangerous it was before the chicanes were added I’m just sorry we had to lose Aryton to force the change. As for Monza. We ran the Daytona Cobras there back in’65 and the banking was so rough that our drivers could not focus their eyes from the vibration! Very dangerous. I’m sure the banking was smooth when first constructed but in time the huge slabs of concrete settled so it’s good they are no longer used. Spectacular but deadly! Peter Brock

  2. Peter,
    Thanks for yet another fascinating post! The only one of these tracks that I’ve ever been to was Laguna Seca and that was when I was between the ages of about nine and eleven. My dad used to take me down there each year and we watched Sterling Moss dominate that course.

    1. Tom….It’s time you took your new Daytona and did some serious traveling! Since you live fairly close start with Sears Point. Maybe when SAAC NorCal meets there next.

  3. Great picks but I would add Sears Point or whatever they call it now. Great drivers course and very spectator friendly. Not up to Laguna standards for restaurants and accommodations though. Also IRP and the now closed Ascot for the unwinged sprints.

    1. Doug….you’re obviously an old timer! Yeah, who can forget evenings at Ascot? All the greats ran there. Bikes too. As for Sears….yes, some really challenging corners there. Love it when the run the NASCAR guys there and bring in some ringers.

  4. My favorite race course was Riverside International Raceway where competing in Formula V meant entering turn 9 at the end of a one mile straight without lifting and finding a line next to the wall. As with much of life, wonderful memories and some sad ones with the loss of Ken Miles.

    1. Deanne….My home for many years was on Cottonwood just across from Turn 9. I can’t tell you how many hours I spent testing, teaching, spectating and racing there. We lost one of the great tracks of all times when they made it a shopping center.

  5. I love Bonneville because a. it showcases some of the most innovative technology and stunning thinking I’ve ever encountered. b.You get to see up close and personal some of your personal “heroes” you always have admired- in ’87 I saw Big Daddy Ed Roth driving a shortened Corvair Coupe, stopped to say Hello, and he said “Meet Von Dutch- he’s a REAL painter.” c. The place is unlike any other I’ve ever seen. The Floating Mountain. The water under the salt. The crunch when you walk on the salt- so similar to an icy snow cover. d. The heroic driving, time after time. The comeraderie in the pits. I could go on and on….Thanks Peter. Joe

    1. Joe….loved that little note about meeting Von Dutch. That’s what so great about time on the salt. The opportunity to meet everyone who races or crews there…some of the finest in the world.

  6. I took 2 racing courses in 1991&1992 from John Powell at Mosport. Started campaigning a Corvette in 1993 and became an instructor for The Car Guys as well. Switched to a BMW in 2002 and won class championship with BMW racing in 2003. Have raced most tracks in Canada, eastern US and Texas World Soeedway. Mosport still thrilling and my favorite

    1. Steve….Road Atlanta is certainly on my list of favorites as well and should have been on my list….’specially since we won a couple of National Championships there in our BRE Datsuns! Thanks for the reminder!

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