Top 10 Weirdest Race Tracks – Improved Version

Top 10 Weirdest Race Tracks – Improved Version


in this Circuits of the past video we
have the top 10 of the weirdest racetracks Herman visited. Number 10
Motodrome Gelsenkirchen. Motodrome Gelsenkirchen was a 0.466 mile short
Club circuit in the West of Germany. It opened in 1969 as a gravel track and
then became asphalt in 1977. The track was used for amateur stock car racing.
Whilst it was a road circuit, in a way had some characteristics of a quarter
mile oval. Just like an oval it was driven anti-clockwise, with two parallel
straights. But the straights of the Motodrome Gelsenkirchen were longer
and contained several left and right kinks. Officially the name was Motodrome Gelsenkirchen,
but the locals called it Almaring. Alma was the name of the
cooking plant that was on the site. And ring is German for circuit, so it was
actually nicknamed the Alma circuit. However, in the early eighties the Almaring
gained opposition from environmentalists and local residents
who complained about the noise. That led to the closure of the track after the
1984 season, and since then the track has been left abandoned. But while most
abandoned tracks are illegal to enter, this one can be visited legally! The site
is now a park and the overgrown track is now an asphalt path through the woods.
Maybe the locals should organize a pedal bike race. Number nine Grenzlandring. The
Grenzlandring was a 5.7 mile long street circuit in West Germany and
located next to the Dutch border. It’s name Grenzlandring is literally
German for Borderlands circuit. The Grenzlandring was driven
anti-clockwise and had a very fast oval-shaped layout. Which in our minds
makes it a street oval! Not only did the layout make it a weird circuit, but the
origin story is a weird one too… At the beginning of World War two a transport route
was needed to the Western Front. Because heavy military equipment was
needed to be transported, a concrete surface was chosen for the new road.
After the war the road was used as a ring road around the town of Wegberg.
At a night, the mayor of Rheidt, a town close to Wegberg, was lost on this road.
When he passed a cyclist for the third time, he realized he was driving around
in circles! He asked German racing driver Emil
Vorster, who was living in Rheidt, to investigate this road on its
possibilities for producing motor racing. And so it happened that on the 19th of
September 1948 the first races were held on the Grenzlandring. An origin story
without the need for a Marvel film. Beautiful! The far street circuit was only
operational for a short time… From 1948 to 1952. After a grave accident
on August the 31st 1952, which took the life of 13 spectators, the authorities
banned racing on the dangerous street circuit. When Hermann filmed his lap in
the summer of 2015 he was constantly hampered by
slow-moving hay wagons. Clearly he was driving in challenge mode πŸ˜‰ He had to do
three long laps of the circuit before he had any usable footage at all. Number eight old Mettet. For the next weird racetrack,
we’re off to Belgium, for the 5.2 mile-long old street circuit of Mettet.
This peculiar Street circuit with an atypical figure 8 shape was used for the
first time in 1928. Later some corners were replaced with artificially banked
corners. And that made the circuit even more peculiar. One of the weirdest points at the Mettet
Street circuit is its intersection. During races is driven against the
traffic in the normal directions as two fast kinks. When used for traffic
normally, it’s a kind of a weird roundabout. It’s something the new Hanoi circuit
gets vaguely close to as well. Another atypical section was this long
straight with huge elevation changes. In 1991 the layout was shortened to abandon
the dangerous descent to the village of Mettet. They also added three chicanes to
the layout, as you can see on the right-hand side.
In 2010 the fast street circuit was replaced by a compact permanent
racetrack near the old pit building. When Herman filmed his lap on the old track,
this funny moment happened when he exited one of the artificially banked
corners and went to enter the normal road. I’ve played enough Need for Speed games
to know that this is a set-piece waiting to add. Number seven old Monza.
When we’re talking about old Monza we actually mean the combination of the
current road circuit and the old high banked oval. When the Monza circuit
opened in 1922, it contained a road circuit and a high banked oval, which
could be used together or separately. The length of the combined total circuit is
exactly 10 kilometers, which is 6.2 miles. During a huge reconstruction of the
track, that started in 1938, the original banking was demolished.
They also built a test track here, known as the Pirelli Track, and a huge new
grandstand with the restaurant. If the restaurant wasn’t called Pasta Pits I’ll
be a bit sad πŸ™‚ However, in the 1950s Monza wanted to return to its original concept
at the combination of a road circuit and a high bank oval once again. So in 1955 the
new Monza layout opened, with a new oval almost exactly on the same site as
the original. To give the circuit the exact length of 10 kilometers again they
introduced the now famous Parabolica Corner. One of the most peculiar aspects
of the combined circuit was that drivers passed through the Start and Finish
straight twice per lap! First on the right hand side to enter the oval. And
when they exited the oval they were then on the left hand side of the same
straight again, where they then start the lap on the road circuit! That must make
lap counting extremely challenging. However, the combination of the road
circuit and the steep oval was only used three times for the Formula One Italian
Grand Prix. And it also became very famous because it was used in the 1966
Formula One movie titled Grand Prix. After Formula one abandoned the banking
after the 1961 Italian Grand Prix, it was also found to be too dangerous for other
series too. It was used for the last time in 1969, during the 1000
Kilometer of Monza. Since then the old oval was left abandoned. Today the old
Monza Oval is used once a year by the Monza Rally. But they only use the
lower part of the banking. The rest of the year it’s a memory from
the past which can be explored legally by foot or bicycle. However, if you
explore it by bicycle, just be careful… You should send that toYou’ve Been Framed. Number 6, old Hockenheim. When we say old
Hockenheim we mean the 1966 to 2001 version of it. The contrast between the
fast and lonely blast through the forest and the crowd packed twisty Stadium
section, that had you hanging on for dear life with your load down full set up, is
what made the old Hockenheim special. The Hockenheim circuit opened in 1932 as a
triangular Street circuit. Despite to what many sources claim, Hockenheim was
absolutely NOT built as a test track for Mercedes! It was actually an initiative
of assistant timekeeper and local motorsport fan Ernst Christ. The first
version of the track was a fast triangle. In 1938 the famous Ostkurve, German
for East Corner, was built as part of the new permanent section. In the 1960s though a new highway was
planned and it would cut through the section of the village of Hockenheim and
remove it from the track. So to keep the track operational, a reconstruction was
necessary. In 1966 a new stadium section named Motordrome replaced the run
through Hockenheim. Now called the Hockenheimring, it was a full permanent racetrack. They also changed the driving direction from
anti-clockwise to clockwise. It was a sad day however on April the 7th of 1968,
when two-time Formula One world champion Jim Clark lost his life during a formula
2 race here at at Hockenheim. After this tragedy chicanes were built into the
far sections through the woods. One of those chicane would end up being close
to the site of the accident. And in 1994 it was named after Jim Clark. Because of
safety issues of the old Nürburgring, the Formula One German Grand Prix moved to
Hockenheim for the first time in 1970. After a short return to the Nürburgring,
the German Grand Prix came back in 1977 to stay at Hockenheim and settle there
for a long time. With the popularity of Michael Schumacher and the opening of
the Lausitzring circuit, bosses feared the loss of the Grand Prix. So a plan was
made to modernize the track. Nope, it was not Ecclestone or the FIA who required
the reconstruction of hockenheim. The initiative came from the owners
themselves. A new circuit designed by Hermann Tilke was then built. To
compensate for the felled trees, the old track was demolished to plant new
ones. And the track opened again in 2002. But the reconstruction was a financial disaster which brought Hockenheim to the brink of
bankruptcy. Thanks to government intervention the track could be saved
from downfall. But with the taxpayers money of course. Today many fans still
miss the old circuit with its typical blast through the woods. The
reconstruction was not only a financial disaster, but also one of the most
controversial reconstructions of a racetrack in history! Number five, Pescara.
The Pescara Street circuit with its length of 15.894 Miles is the longest Formula one circuit ever. They told me size didn’t matter πŸ˜‰ The
combination of two four mile long straights and twisty sections through
the mountains and villages makes Pescara one of the weirdest racetracks of its
time. The circuit was operational from 1924 up to 1961, and hosted several
Formula One races in the 1950s. However, only the 1957 Edition counted for the
Formula One Championship. Because the Italian Grand Prix was held at Monza,
they named this f1 race the Pescara Grand Prix. Actually, there are also Grand
Prix races in the 1920s and 30s held at Pescara, under the name Coppa Accerbo.
Giacomo Acerbo, a prominent fascist politician commissioned the race
in memory of his brother Tito Accerbo, a war hero from the First World War.
However, because of this connection with the fascist era, the race was renamed
after World War Two to the Pescara Grand Prix. Number four, Norisring. Not only an
atypical layout, but also the history of the site itself makes the Norisring
one of the most unusual racetracks in the world. In the 1930s this site in the
German city of Nuremberg was also called Reichsparteitagsgelände, from Hitler’s
NSDAP also known as the Nazi Party. Yep, this is where they held their rallies. A remnant of that time is the huge stone
grandstand complete with the platform where Hitler held his speeches. When
Herman came here for the first time in 1998, there was a girl on the platform
during a Hitler impersonation. In 1947 they used the site for the first time
for motorsport. The two kilometer long street circuit was laid out around the
Hitler grandstand In 1948 the layout was extended to make use of a tunnel where
the track crossed over itself. Just like at Suzuka! Today’s Norisring
is 1.429 Miles short, but still goes around that huge stone
grandstand. The name Norisring comes from the Latin word for Nuremberg, Norris. This
name was chosen because Nurembergring may cause some confusion with the name of
another german racetrack, the Nurburgring. Number 3, Roskilde Ring. The Roskilde Ring in Denmark was built
in an old gravel pit that formed a kind of natural amphitheater. The track was
only 0.857 five miles short with banked corners and not one single straight
dimension. Sir Stirling Moss already described the Roskilde ring in the 1950s
as, and we quote, “A most peculiar Raceway”. So it’s not only Herman who thinks this
is one of the weirdest racetracks in the world.
The Roskilde Ring was the first permanent racetrack in Denmark. It opened
in 1955 as a private initiative of local businessman Poul Tholstrup. From 1960
up to 1968 the Roskilde Ring hosted the Danish Grand Prix for formula two and
Formula three cars. And in 1961 and 1962 it was a non championship Formula One
race. However, because the circuit was built in a city park between residential
areas there were many complaints about… Guess what, the noise! As a result of that,
the circuit finally closed its doors with its last race being held on
September 22nd 1968. Today the site of the old racetrack is a recreation park
which is also called Roskilde Ring, as a tribute to the former circuit. In the nearby hotel you can still find
some photos of the good old days too. Number two Sitges-Terramar.
The Sitges-Terramar circuit opened in 1922 near the seaside resort of Sitges-Terramar, not
too far from Barcelona. It was a private initiative from millionaire and local
race hero Frik Armangue. The track itself was an oval with a huge banking of 66 degrees! Another strange detail was at the oval
itself had a right kink in its backstraight. That combination makes it one of
the weirdest racetracks Herman has ever seen. Sitges-Terramar was the first
permanent race circuit in Spain. In 1923 it hosted the Spanish Grand Prix, which
was won by Albert Devo in his Sunbeam. However, the race track was not a
financial success. Bills were left unpaid and as a result of that it was shunned
by international series. In 1925 Bugatti driver Edgar Moritz bought the site he began a short recovery of the circuit. But when
in 1936 the spanish civil war broke out the track was closed and it never opened
again. In 2008 herman visited the abandoned racetrack.
It took him some effort to get permission from the site owner to take
pictures. Those days it was in an agricultural area. However, there are
rumors of the Sitges-Terramar circuit ground being sold to a new owner who
would like to change it back into a motorsport resort. With the classic high
banked oval as a kind of Museum. That’s of course we can all get behind! And the number one, AVUS.
The AVUS in Berlin is without doubt the most weirdest racetrack that Herman
has visited to date. In fact it was an experimental multiple lane highway which
could also be used as a racetrack. AVUS is actually the abbreviation for
“Automobil Verkehrs und Übungs Straße” which is German for “Automobile Traffic and Exercise Road”. The AVUS opened in 1921 as a 12.160 mile long street
circuit. The layout was simple but weird… Two almost six mile long straights,
connected with an artificial loop on both sides. In 1936 there was a
reconstruction when a new road was planned to the exposition site next to
the AVUS. The Nordkurve, German for North Corner, should make place for this
new road. But as compensation a new high banked version of the Nordkurve was
built. Actually a similar high banked corner was planned to replace the
southern loop. The works were already in place, but then world war ii broke out. Today you can still see the remains of the
unfinished South Corner as it was left in those days. In 1959 the Formula One
Grand Prix was held on the AVUS for political reasons. More about that can be
found in the video top 10 lost f1 Circuits. For safety reasons the high
banked North Corner, nicknamed the wall of death, was demolished in 1967 and
replaced by a flat corner. Through the years the straights were shortened and
chicanes were added to the layout. But the AVUS was still a dangerous track. In the
1990s the AVUS was used for Formula 3 and touring car races. During a
touring car race in 1995, British driver Kieth O’dor died after a crash on the
North Corner. The AVUS received increasing criticism.
When a new racetrack was built not far from Berlin, the AVUS was closed
after the 1998 season. In 1999 there is one final event to say goodbye to one of
the weirdest racetracks of the past. If you want more information about circuits
in this video, please visit the website www.circuitsofthepast.com. There’s also a
free ebook about seven abandoned circuits that you can visit legally.
Thank you for watching and don’t forget to subscribe for more memories of the
circuits of the past!

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