TouringCarTimes’ top ten touring car circuits in the world
This is the latest in a series of top tens from the team at TouringCarTimes, and features the best circuits for touring car racing around the world.
The list has been put together by our STCC correspondent Stephen Brunsdon, who took up the challenge of trying to create his ideal ten round calendar…
10 – Rockingham
A bit hit-and-miss among some fans and drivers, but Rockingham has consistently produced some of the best BTCC action in recent years. Its iconic oval banking lets cars find their terminal speed in the dry and separates the good and the great in the wet. Fans get a great overall view of nearly the entire circuit from the
main grandstand, ensuring action is never far away.
9 – Knutstorp
A hallmark of the STCC calendar, Knutstorp is commonly referred to as one of the “Mickey Mouse” circuits in the series. A proper drivers’ track; time is often made up in the tight and twisty section in the final sector, with acceleration and front-end grip paramount in the search for one-lap pace. The tight nature of the circuit makes for great pack racing and the occasional contact is not unheard of.
8 – Norisring
One of the most famous street circuits in touring car racing, the Norisring in Nuremberg is the stand-out feature of the DTM season. Its basic track layout means it does not possess the same type of challenge as others, but it has produced some nail-biting finales in the past. The heavy braking zones and proximity of concrete walls and Armco means it is one of the most precarious in the world.
7 – Knockhill
The tiny Scottish circuit has played host to the BTCC since 1990 – with just one interruption in 2003 – and has become a favourite among teams and drivers. It’s one of the shortest on the calendar, and one of the hardest to master. Knockhill’s undulations and off-camber corners make touring car racing a joy to watch.
6 – Salzburgring
Situated in the middle of the hills above Salzburg, this track is a relatively new addition to the WTCC and TCR International championships. It has a true resemblance to the old Osterichring in its flowing, high-speed corners and makes for electrifying slip-stream battles, with this particular characteristic having caused some interesting situations in the past. The Fahrerlagerkurve has also helped support the spare parts business of many manufacturers, with the slightest error by a driver, or more often a tyre failure, propelling them into the barriers.
5 – Macau
One of the best circuits in the world, Macau has been a key part of ETCC/WTCC history. Much like the Salzburgring, it is a fast track and offers close, frantic racing from start-to-finish. Prone to the odd pile-up, the circuit is a mix of frighteningly high speeds and impossibly acute hairpins. A proper circuit no matter what the series.
4 – Brands Hatch GP
Brands Hatch Indy is a decent little circuit but nothing beats the GP layout. It’s a relief that the DTM has reverted to the latter after eight fruitless years trying to make a 90-odd lap Indy encounter work. The BTCC has highlighted the brilliance of GP in the past, with the tricky Paddock Hill, Druids, Graham Hill bends combined with the high-speed Hawthorns throws up all manner of surprises.
3 – Monza
The Formula 1 favourite Monza has delivered some of the best races in touring car racing, with its, now seemingly one-off return to the World Touring Car Calendar last year, delivering one of the season’s highlights. Its location within the Royal Park is mesmerising, and the racing is second-to-none.
2 – Nurburgring Nordschleife
The Nordschleife doesn’t host as many races as it used to in its heyday but the Eiffel circuit remains one of the most dangerous, mystifyingly brilliant venues in the world. Its picturesque setting is deceptive and drivers need to have 100% concentration for each and every one of the 154 corners. The Ring also has the capacity to bite heavily. A monster circuit which thankfully is still in use today.
1 – Bathurst
Speak to anyone on what it takes to be successful on “The Mountain” and they will tell you the same thing. You need to be tuned into the 6.213km circuit well before qualifying starts, be in the right place at the right time come race day and have a great deal of luck go your way. The steep inclines and undulations, twisty Corkscrew, off-camber Forrest’s Elbow and the unbelievably fast run into The Chase is the ultimate challenge for man and machine. Bathurst picks its winners, you just need to make sure you’re in with a shout at the end.