BMW M8 GTE

AS EXCITING AS RACING GETS.

The motorsport events you need to experience.

AS EXCITING AS RACING GETS.

The motorsport events you need to experience.

As exciting as racing gets.The motorsport events you need to experience.

There are many exciting motorsport events in the world, but which are the ones that no petrolhead can afford to miss? Where can you find the perfect combination of passionate racing, exciting competition and great tradition that creates a truly unforgettable experience? We have the answer – or to be more precise: nine answers.

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9 LEGENDARY

MOTORSPORT EVENTS

  • 01 24 Hours of Le Mans
  • 02 24 Hours of Nürburgring
  • 03 Monaco Grand Prix
  • 04 Rallye Automobile Monte Carlo
  • 05 Dakar Rally
  • 06 Baja 1000
  • 07 Indianapolis 500
  • 08 Isle of Man TT
  • 09 Goodwood Festival
BMW M8 GTE

BMW MOTORSPORT WORLDWIDE.

BMW MOTORSPORT WORLDWIDE.

24 HOURS OF LE MANS, FRANCE.

Endurance race for sports cars and prototypes.

The legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans is an annual fixture for the global motorsport community. The planet’s most ambitious drivers and manufacturers have been taking on its not inconsiderable challenge since 1923. The unique thing about this race: the Circuit de la Sarthe that hosts it is not a permanent race track. Although the Circuit Bugatti serves as its base and provides the pit facilities and other infrastructure, public roads are also closed off and connected to it every year. One lap currently stretches over 13.88 kilometres – about two to three times the length of a normal race track.



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The special status that Le Mans holds was built on several factors. On the one hand, it is the numerous records that have been set there over the decades. In the past, drivers have achieved speeds of up to 400 km/h on the circuit’s vast Ligne Droite des Hunaudières. For safety reasons, however this legendary six-kilometre straight was later modified to include two chicanes with hard braking points. On the other hand, it is the event’s unruly rush of visitors. Sometimes more than 250,000 enthusiastic fans come from all over the world to crowd along the track's boundaries during race days.

BMW M6 GT3 driving on Nürburgring Nordschleife

BMW M6 GT3 driving on Nürburgring Nordschleife

24 HOURS OF NÜRBURGRING, GERMANY.

Endurance race for touring cars and GT vehicles.

No less legendary than the long-distance event at Le Mans is the 24-hour race around the Nürburgring. And this despite the fact that the best-known motorsport event in Germany has only been staged since 1970. The race takes place on the Nürburgring‘s Nordschleife track and parts of its Grand Prix circuit – a unique combination that brings the course to a remarkable length of 25.378 kilometres. It is considered to be uniquely demanding for drivers thanks to its many climbs and valleys, as well as the combination of long straights and tight, extremely slow corners. In addition to the challenging and varied track, it is the incomparable atmosphere in the paddock and the fan zones scattered around the course that make the event so special. Many of the most dedicated motorsport enthusiasts will even spend several days camping along the safety fences and passionately cheering on their favourite drivers, cars and teams until deep into the night – whatever the weather. And weather is exactly what the Nürburgring can offer: drivers are particularly fearful of its often variable conditions, where sunny starts can be followed by hailstorms in the evening and sudden dense fog in the middle of the deepest, darkest night.

 

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BMW Sauber F1.09 at Monaco Grand Prix 2009

BMW Sauber F1.09 at Monaco Grand Prix 2009

MONACO GRAND PRIX.

Highlight of the Formula 1 World Championship.

Former Formula 1 driver Nelson Piquet once tried to sum up the special character of the Monaco Grand Prix: "Driving Formula 1 in Monaco is like flying a helicopter in your living room." Since the Brazilian uttered these immortal words, no one has since expressed the tightrope that drivers walk during the pearl of the Formula 1 calendar quite as brilliantly. For every motorsport fan, corners on Monaco’s street circuit such as swimming pool, casino and Rascasse are the stuff of legend. The highlight, though, is the famous tunnel section that sits directly above the surf of the Mediterranean Sea, which drivers fearlessly speed through at almost 300 km/h.

Every year in May, the Monaco Grand Prix weekend attracts jet setters from all over the world, making the race one of motorsport’s most extraordinary events – on and off the tarmac. Today it forms one third of the so-called Triple Crown of Motorsport – together with 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500 – the prestigious Grand Slam of automobile racing. Over the years, only British driver Graham Hill has managed the feat of winning all three.

 

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Mini John Cooper Works WRC at Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo

Mini John Cooper Works WRC at Rallye Automobile Monte-Carlo 2012

RALLYE AUTOMOBILE MONTE-CARLO, FRANCE AND MONACO.

A unique event of the World Rally Championship.

Founded by Prince Albert I in 1911, since 1925 this rally has been organised by the Automobile Club de Monaco (ACO) – also the organiser of the motorsport-loving principality’s Formula 1 Grand Prix. Strictly speaking, the name Rallye Monte Carlo is a little confusing. The drivers’ battle against the stopwatch actually starts on the narrow roads that weave across the rocky mountain slopes above Monaco, then winds its way through the French Maritime Alps. It is only the event’s finish that takes place in Monte Carlo itself.

The iconic rally has rightly become a standout feature of the WRC racing calendar. Year in, year out in January, the well-drilled teams of drivers and co-drivers compete with each other to set the fastest times in stages that range across the picturesque mountains near the Mediterranean coast. In addition to this spectacular scenery, it is the uncertainties of the winter season that have gained the rally such notoriety around the world. As if the special stages weren't demanding enough, the teams can face difficult and sometimes unpredictable conditions on snowy and icy roads. The drive over the Col de Turini mountain pass enjoys its status one of the most famous special stages in the world. As it takes place after sundown, the stage is also known as the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ due to the spectacular image created by the cars‘ high beam headlights cutting through the darkness as they descend the mountainside.

 

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Mini All4 Racing competing at Dakar Rally

Mini All4 Racing competing at Dakar Rally

DAKAR, SOUTH AMERICA.

An annual rally raid for off-road cars, motorcycles, trucks and quad bikes.

What was once known as the Paris-Dakar Rally is now simply the Dakar Rally. But even more significant than its abbreviated name are the changes to the rally itself, especially to its venue. From its inception in 1978, the desert rally mainly took place in the northern countries of the African continent, but because of security threats in Mauritania, since 2009 its daring drivers have been competing in the most remote and inhospitable regions of South America instead. Although the move means that organiser ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) can guarantee the safest possible event for all participants, it still throws up regular incidents that can sometimes prove fatal. The element of risk associated with this unique test for man and machine sadly remains an ever-present reality.

It still isn’t enough to detract from the fascination held by the event, which traditionally takes place at the start of the year. As one of the last great adventures of our time, the Dakar Rally draws not only manufacturers and professional rally drivers, but also attracts the full devotion of a large number of fearless privateers, who take on the enormous challenge year after year in order to feel part of a very exclusive circle. The battle for off-road supremacy takes place on all kinds of four-wheeled vehicles, from quad bikes to huge trucks, but also on motorcycles. There’s a fine line between success and failure on every stage, and only a combination of excellent navigation skills, stamina and the requisite amount of luck leads to triumph.

 


 

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MW HP2 Enduro at Baja 1000 2005

MW HP2 Enduro at Baja 1000 2005

BAJA 1000, MEXIKO.

An annual rally raid for ATVs, buggies, cars, trucks and motorcycles.

With the Baja 1000, another superlative off-road event takes place once a year in Central America (the part of the Lower Californian peninsula belonging to Mexico, to be precise) in the shape of the Baja 1000. This breakneck rally raid race has been a fixture on the American continent since 1967. The drivers set out in rally vehicles of different classes – ATVs, buggies, cars, trucks and motorcycles – to conquer the 1,000-mile cross country route and leave rivals trailing in their dust.

As if that weren't already enough of a challenge, this event has another peculiarity to offer. Unlike the Dakar Rally, for example, the Baja 1000 is not divided into individual stages – instead the entire race is completed in one go. In the brooding heat of the day and over landscapes shrouded in pitch black at night, it's downhill from the north of the peninsula all the way to the south, pausing only for driver changes, refuelling stops and repairs. Obviously, this places a huge demand on every competitor, but also accounts for the event’s incomparable appeal.



 

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Formel BMW at Indianapolis 2005

Formel BMW at Indianapolis 2005

INDIANAPOLIS 500, US.

An IndyCar Series race.

The Indianapolis 500 is the highlight of both the IndyCar Series and the North American motorsport scene. This high-speed race has gained great fame beyond the American continent over the course of its more than 100-year history (since 1911, interrupted only between 1917 and 1918 as well as 1942 and 1945). Its attraction is two-fold: firstly, there’s the ever-present risk associated with the constant changes of leadership and position at over 300 km/h. Secondly, there’s the very real possibility that the smallest mistake brings about the sudden and painful end to a driver‘s race in the dreaded concrete walls. It is the spectacle of these incidents, which don‘t always end lightly, that captivates onlookers.

The IndyCars themselves are visually reminiscent of F1 cars, although technically they are less complex. As far as the average top speed is concerned, however, IndyCars are still ahead – at least on the oval of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The highest average speed ever achieved over an entire race was 301.645 km/h (set by Tony Kanaan in 2013). Unusually, the finish line is marked by a row of old bricks instead of the usual asphalt. The reason: once upon a time, the entire oval track consisted of this not very contemporary building material. To commemorate this, the original finish line was preserved. In addition to the historic brick finish line, the Indianapolis 500 has another peculiar tradition. The winner, acclaimed by up to 400,000 euphoric spectators, does not get champagne on the podium but a glass of milk instead.



 

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BMW S1000RR racing the Isle of Man TT 2015

BMW S1000RR racing the Isle of Man TT 2015

ISLE OF MAN TT.

Motorcycle race.

Probably the toughest motorcycle road race in the world, the bravest riders compete on the Snaefell Mountain Course, which loops around the Isle of Man – located in the Irish Sea between Britain and Ireland. The circuit consists exclusively of public roads, with a single lap covering 60.725 kilometres. In some places the riders race at over 300 km/h through the middle of villages, only centimetres from curbs, house walls and fanatical spectators. This, together with the ever-present danger that goes with it, makes for a very special event for competitors and motorsport enthusiasts alike. Tens of thousands of passionate motorcyclists and motorcycle fans make the pilgrimage to the Isle of Man every year just for the TT.

Generous run-off zones, gravel beds and the other usual safety precautions you’d expect to see on a fast circuit are nowhere to be found here. The course’s innumerable danger spots are overseen by volunteer helpers and track marshals and protected by little more than straw bales and inflatable barriers. In order to guarantee at least a minimum level of safety, the road racing event is run as a time trial, with each rider released individually with a staggered start. Depending on the class, there are four to six strenuous laps ahead of them, each with a good 200 corners, a number of bumps and jumps and numerous full throttle straights. Whoever gets around in the least amount of time can rightly stake a claim to be the winner of the most dangerous race in the world. These include Peter Hickman, who recently set a new course record, completing his fastest lap in an incredible 16:42.778 minutes in the Senior TT race in June 2018.



 

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BMW 3.0 CSL driving at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018

BMW 3.0 CSL driving at Goodwood Festival of Speed 2018

GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED, ENGLAND.

Motorsport event for racing cars and motorcycles of all classes and ages.

Since its launch in 1993, the Goodwood Festival of Speed has featured all sorts of motorised vehicles taking on the short hill climb route in the grounds of Goodwood House in southern England. Since then, the event has become the place to be for motorsport enthusiasts, car enthusiasts, racing drivers and manufacturers. From rally cars to motorcycles to F1 racing cars, everything is represented, from all eras of motorsport history. The special atmosphere and the opportunity to experience a potpourri of the most iconic vehicles in motorsport history up close attracts as many as 200,000 spectators every year.

The spectacle is organised by the owner of Goodwood House, motorsport fan Charles Henry Gordon-Lennox, the Earl of March. The ‘Goodwood Hillclimb’ itself covers just 1.87 kilometres, spread out over nine bends and a few straights. Unlike Hillclimb events, for many Goodwood is not primarily about pure speed. Rather: technique, style, tradition and grace are the favoured attributes for a large number of the onlookers. There is still a healthy amount of competition at the event, however, proved most successfully by driver Nick Heidfeld in 1999, when he set the fastest time for the hillclimb in 41.6 seconds – a record that still stands today.



 

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