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Nick DeGroot counts down what he feels are the ten most prestigious races in the world.

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Choosing the ten most prestigious races in the world was no easy task. There are so many fantastic events and some are bound to be left out. To celebrate the upcoming weekend of legendary races, I’ve put together a list of what I believe are the ten biggest races in the world today.

10.) Monte Carlo Rally (First held – 1911)
This won’t be the last time you see the principality on this list. Every single WRC rally will have you on the absolute edge of your seat, but there is something different about the annual season-opener. It’s a mostly asphalt rally, but the Mother Nature is always a factor with competitors forced to deal with unpredictable winter weather. The innate ability to read the conditions could mean the difference between winning the rally and ended up on your lid on the side of the course.


6.) Dakar Rally (First Held – 1979)
The Dakar Rally is a race that puts a whole new spin on the phrase, ‘to finish first, you must first finish.’ We aren’t just talking about vehicles not surviving this rally; we’re talking about people. Almost every year, there is someone who doesn’t make it out alive. When it comes to rally racing, no race is as brutal and vicious. Baja is close, but not quite at the level that Dakar is. Drivers will find themselves stranded for days after mechanical failures with some resorting to burning their cars in a desperate attempt to signal for help.


3.) Monaco Grand Prix (First Held -1929)
Formula One is hands down, the most popular form of auto racing in the world. The Monaco GP has been held since 1929 though, two decades before F1 even existed. The race tests a driver more than any other on the calendar today. It’s an incredibly tight, narrow circuit, with run-off areas far and few between. A mistake almost certainly spells the end of your day here. This street course has a plethora of twists and severe elevation changes. There is even a point on the track where the drivers must race through a tunnel. If it wasn’t already on the F1 schedule, it wouldn’t be allowed due to safety reasons. It is the ultimate test of an F1 driver and their ability. It’s the one race where you don’t necessarily need the best car when you have the best driver. Drivers can go their entire careers without attaining a World Championship but can still hold their head high knowing that they won Monaco.

2.) Indianapolis 500 (First Held – 1911)
The granddaddy of them all…it was an incontrovertible fact for half a century that no race in the world could hold a candle to the sacred grounds of the Brickyard. Although American open wheel racing popularity has been on the decline for a couple decades now, this race still holds great prominence in the motorsports world. It’s history is fascinating, the races are breathtaking, and the drivers come from every corner of the globe for a chance to put their face on the trophy. At Indy, 33 cars bolt around a 2.5 mile circuit at speeds approaching 230 mph for 500 miles straight. It takes a lot nerve to compete here and there are some drivers, such as Mike Conway, who refuse to take part. A crash at Indy is almost always big, and if you haven’t hit the wall yet, there’s a good chance that you will. It is the race that preceded all others and to this day, is the one everyone wants to win.

1.) 24 Hours of Le Mans (First Held – 1923)
The lore surrounding Le Mans can’t simply be explained in a handful of sentences. In fact, there probably aren’t any words that can do it justice. Nearly every major race in the world has been modernized. It’s been turned into a controlled, relatively safe environment. Le Mans has escaped that though. It can not be tamed. Control is not a word you associate with this event. What other race do you see drivers working tirelessly on their cars on the side of the track after a wreck? What other race can a car crash in the dead of the night and vanish for hours before being found? When you take the green flag at Le Mans, you are racing away from civilization and into the unknown, with a race car being your only salvation as you battle around a circuit 8.5 miles in length. The prototypes are a way for manufacturers to display the most advanced racing technology in the world and Le Mans is the proving ground. This is, in my honest opinion, the most prestigious race in the world.

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