The 2022 Formula 1 season is finally over. NASCAR ended the season a few weeks ago, as did MotoGP, and IndyCar has been gearing up for 2023 since September.
Much of motorsport is now in the off-season, giving way to stick-and-ball sports. And with the 2022 World Championship in Qatar postponed to the winter, that’s probably a good thing, as racing no longer has to share the stage with one of the biggest sporting events – at least this year.
Now, with so few cars and motorcycles circling in anger, and World Cup excitement approaching a crescendo, we have the thought: what if motorsport had its own World Cup? Yes, the Race of Champions exists, but with so many riders and riders competing in so many different disciplines, it’s hardly a level playing field for every competitor. What if, instead of having the best riders in each country compete against each other, we take the best tracks in each country?
Austin Lindbergh and Hazel Southwell sifted through racing history books to find circuits in all 32 countries participating in Qatar 2022, determine group winners and runners-up, and played out the bracket until they settled on the best circuit in motorsport. This is the world championship in circuit racing.
Winner: Netherlands | TT Circuit Assen
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) June 30, 2018
This decision may seem blasphemous if you don’t choose Zandvoort, home of two-time F1 champion Max Verstappen and his massive Orange army, but Assen is indeed one of the sleeper tracks in all races. It has been in operation since 1926 and has hosted more MotoGP races since 1949 than any circuit in history that hosts an annual Dutch Grand Prix (with the exception of 2020, interrupted due to COVID).
When you talk to riders, they dream of just such a track. Assen works quickly and smoothly, with quick changes in direction, rewarding those who show commitment when the consequences are greatest. Motorcycle racing fans have come to call the place the cathedral of sports, and after watching a lap on board, it’s easy to see why.
Second place: Qatar | Losail International Circuit
On board with @Max33Verstappen for a lap for which he received an important bonus point, as well as the DHL Fastest Lap Award in Qatar 🚀🏆
— Formula 1 (@F1) November 23, 2021
F1 tried Losail for the first time last season and Qatar took a break from the 2022 season to focus on the World Cup instead, but the streak will return next season. Losail has become something of a staple in MotoGP, having been on the calendar since 2004 and has been an annual season opener since 2007.
Qatar hosts the only MotoGP race under lights, and the first Formula 1 race also took place after dark, allowing the teams’ liveries to really shine and the pilots’ and drivers’ helmets to sparkle under 3,600 blazing spotlights.
Embossed: Ecuador, Senegal
Winner: USA | Track America
The Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is far from the first US Grand Prix circuit to have been preceded by nine other circuits, but in just a decade since its opening, it has established itself as an American F1 circuit and one of the biggest parties on the calendar.
Opened in 2012, days before the Formula 1 cars were due to hit the track, it’s a rippling, bumpy track that challenges drivers whether they’re on two or four wheels. The star-striped paint that outlines the track means you won’t be able to forget where you are, even if the crowded crowd never let you.
Over the past two years, the rising Formula 1 star in the States has hit the track with a record number of entries, and her concerts have become such a cult that Taylor Swift mentioned her performance in 2016 in “Midnights”.
Second place: England | Silverstone
— Oracle Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) July 22, 2021
The original Grand Prix circuit, Silverstone, is where Formula One officially began. Its high speed, hard cornering track probably doesn’t need much introduction after over 70 years of racing in every category imaginable – even for series like rallycross, a lesser known indoor track can accommodate jumps.
The enduring popularity of Silverstone is not limited to some particularly iconic corners or breathtaking landscapes. Formerly an airfield, it’s flat as a pancake and windy even at a time when the UK is pretending to be summer, but the racing is always good and the fast lap requires the same courage as it did in the 1940s.
In addition, it is the only current Grand Prix circuit that spans two counties, with riders completing half of the lap in Buckinghamshire and the other half in Northamptonshire.
Embossed: Iran, Wales
Winner: Mexico | Circuit Hermanos Rodriguez
On board with @Charles_Leclerc for the lap that brought him pole position in Mexico ⏱👀
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 26, 2019
The height of Mexico City at 7350 feet makes the air thinner and therefore reduces drag and increases speed. Formula One teams often use Monaco-level aerodynamic body kits, offering the highest levels of downforce available, but returning Monza (which features low-drag wings) downforce levels. As such, Hermanos Rodriguez sees some of the fastest speeds of the season, the highest speed recorded by Valtteri Bottas in 2016 was 231.96 mph.
Did we mention that part of the track runs through an old baseball stadium? The 25,000-strong stadium crowd is one of the rare moments of the season when drivers can hear fans through their cars.
Second place: Argentina | Circuit Termas de Rio Hondo
🔥 @marcmarquez93 took the last pole at the Rio Deep Conditions in 2019!
Unfortunately, he will not participate this year. #Argentina GP 🇦🇷… So, who will be the fastest in qualifying this Sunday? Guess the pole lap time here 👉 https://t.co/PD5D5ptoEO and win prizes with @Tissot! pic.twitter.com/XNJhpWAAd5
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) March 29, 2022
This is one of the more obscure entries on our list. MotoGP is the only World Championship to visit an Argentine circuit today, and the World Touring Car Championship, which ended in 2017, is the only World Championship to ever take place there.
Termas de Rio Hondo is another circuit full of smooth corners, but one of its most notable elements is the long straight between turns 4 and 5. nearly 150 feet.
Embossed: Poland, Saudi Arabia
Winner: France | 24 Hours of Le Mans track
It’s strange to think that Le Mans is actually, at least in part, a street circuit. One of the longest, still in regular use today, second only to gigantic circuits like the Nordschleife or the Isle of Man, Le Mans is to motorsport what the Vatican is to Catholicism.
People talk about Le Mans with awe, and they’re right. A semi-mythical place, a training ground for the endurance of equipment, drivers, teams and hopes. To win there, you must first overcome yourself, and then accept the competition, and this does not come easy.
Le Mans’ legendary status makes it sacred ground, but every year for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, that history can be erased and rewritten. There is no such thing as a legacy win, and the Le Mans challenge in 2023 will be as big a challenge as it was in 1923, its first year.
Second place: Australia | Panorama mountain trail
Mount Bathurst, officially known as Mount Panorama, is known to anyone who loves motorsports. And that’s quite an achievement for a track near a small New South Wales town that boasts attractions like the Australian Museum of Fossils and Minerals.
Mount Panorama, best known for the Bathurst 1000, also hosted the Australian Grand Prix four times from the 1930s to the 1950s, and more recently an endurance event including a 24-hour race. Having a corner called “Hell’s Corner” is a hell of a big statement, and more so when it turns into an unusual mix of twisty, wobbly fast corners and angular straights, plus a 571-foot drop in elevation over its 3.8 miles.
Embossed: Denmark, Tunisia
Winner: Japan | Suzuka track
WHAT KIND. OUTER.
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 13, 2019
Suzuka should be one of the tournament favorites. This circuit has seen it all: F1 and the 8 Hours of Suzuki are still held every year, and the World Endurance Championship and MotoGP have previously visited the Honda-owned circuit.
The variety of this track is arguably unmatched by competitors in this competition. The precision of test riders, the Spoon Curve tests their mettle, and the 130R is one of the biggest tests of commitment in almost 90 degree racing at 190 mph in an F1 car.
Second place: Germany | Nurburgring
It is almost unimaginable that the Nüburgring could take second place. It’s home to the Grand Prix circuit that has hosted Formula One multiple times over the years, but the real star here is the Nordschleife: a nearly 13-mile circuit carved into the forests of the Eiffel Mountains, known colloquially as the “Green Hell”. .”
One of the most prestigious…