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The ten greatest races of all time


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#1 jj2728

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 00:51

So? Opinions everyone....... 2 wheel, 4 wheel, 6 wheel and so on and so forth....
For the sake of historic relevance let's say from 1900 onwards....
And.........go!

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#2 ryan86

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 01:17

I'm often torn here, but I have a feeling that most of mine will be recent. That's not to say that there wasn't great races before because there certainly was, but I also feel that one has to actually watch a race live in some way to experience it's greatness. Being told that this German GP or that years Italian GP was a good race in a few words or highlight clips might give one a feeling, but they don't rouse the emotions in me, it's merely taking anothers word for it. So, perhaps not the greatest, but my personal favourites.

1998 BTCC-Donnington Park (Race 2)

IIRC, this was shown live on the BBC to cash in on the fact Nigel Mansell was making a cameo appearance in the Ford and by all accounts he was pretty dire. Then, I believe a well timed tyre stop as the rain got heavier and a safety car bunched the field up and we had a

1997 Portland (CART)

Can remember watching the highlights of this and being mesmerised by the finish which I believe had 3 drivers finish side-by-side as they on a drying track with perhaps all on different tyres.

1999 European GP

A showery day, a surpise winner.

2008 Brazilian GP

In terms of a race it was actually pretty much of a non-event and many other races will have had a position change for the minor-points towards the end as well, but those last few laps under the ever-increasing Sao Paulo drizzle as Hamilton took Glock on the final turn.

2011 Chinese GP

Perhaps a strange one, but I remember watching this race about this time last year and about every five laps thinking someone different was going to win. Button, Vettel, Massa, Rosberg. About the only person I didn't think was going to was Hamilton.

I'm not saying these are the best races, just a few that stand out as personal favourites of mine since I started watching the sport in 1994. I'm not ignorant of everything that has come before, I'd just believe I'd be regurgatating someone elses favourites were I to choose races before that.

#3 D-Type

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 22:27

The question is great races not great drives. That rules out the likes of Fangio’s performance in the 1957 German GP – it was a great drive, possibly his finest, but I don’t think it can be classed as a great race. A great race must have something special to make it memorable. So what can I think of? In chronological order:

1894 Paris-Bordeaux race
Purely because it was the first proper race.

1914 [French] Grand Prix
Because of the tension in the atmosphere and what it heralded.

1933 Monaco GP
Varzi and Nuvolari fighting it out for virtually the whole race with something like 17 lead changes and the result in doubt until the last lap.

1937 Donington Grand Prix
For the shear spectacle of seeing the Mercedes and Auto Union lapping a full 15 mph faster than any car seen there before

1953 French GP
The high speed duel between Hawthorn and Fangio

1957 British GP
Purely for the excitement of seeing an all-British win

1958 Daily Express Trophy meeting saloon car race
A memorable dice between Mike Hawthorn and Tommy Sopwith in Jaguar 3.4’s. (I was there!)

1959 Daytona 500
The first race on a super speedway - and it ended in a photo finish.

1967 Italian GP
Jim Clark made up a lap on the field to retake the lead only to run out of fuel on the last lap. Then Surtees outfoxing Brabham on the final bend to win

1969 Le Mans
The closest genuine finish.

Suzuka 1990
Simply the most cynical deliberate premeditated act that racing has ever seen. From this race on there is no way that Grand Prix racing can be considered a sport any more.





#4 midgrid

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 23:57

The question is great races not great drives. That rules out the likes of Fangio’s performance in the 1957 German GP – it was a great drive, possibly his finest, but I don’t think it can be classed as a great race. A great race must have something special to make it memorable.


I disagree: surely Fangio's drive was special, memorable, and great enough to make the race itself great as well?

On a similar note, is it possible to have a truly great race without a great drive from any of the participants?


#5 Wirra

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:15

If you are talking great races, then just about any 10 125cc bike GPs you care to choose!

#6 LittleChris

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 00:34

Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss on superbikes at Imola, can't remember the year but it was fantastic :clap:

#7 xj13v12

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:59

CHINA 2012!!!!!! Absolutely fabtastic!

#8 xj13v12

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 08:59

CHINA 2012!!!!!! Absolutely fantastic!

#9 brucemoxon

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 09:09

+1 for China 2012. Wow! And Malaysia a contender for the list too.

And a vote for this too...






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#10 chrisj

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 17:52

I restricted my list to Grands Prix and those I actually viewed, as opposed to read about. If I'd included bikes, indycars and stock cars, there probably wouldn't have been any F1 races on the list! Here are 8 that came to mind without any thought:

Mexico 1990: The best GP I think I've ever seen, start to finish.

France 1979: For obvious reasons

South Africa 1978: Patrese, then Depailler, then Peterson, whew!

Australia 1986: High drama

Brazil 2008: I was actually shouting at the TV

Jerez 1997: Good guys win

Spa 2008: Lewis won that race, no matter what the record books say

Holland 1976: The best race in my favorite season (if anyone has TV coverage of this one PM me! I only have about 5 minutes)

Edited by chrisj, 15 April 2012 - 17:53.


#11 sherer

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 21:54

can't remember the exact years on all of these but i'd go for

BOAC 1000Km at Brands in 70 or 71 with the drive by Pedro in the 917

Jackie's win at the ring in the fog, I think in 67.

I'll have to think a bit more for others but they are the two that stand out that haven't already been mentioned so far

#12 David M. Kane

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 23:33

I restricted my list to Grands Prix and those I actually viewed, as opposed to read about. If I'd included bikes, indycars and stock cars, there probably wouldn't have been any F1 races on the list! Here are 8 that came to mind without any thought:

Mexico 1990: The best GP I think I've ever seen, start to finish.

France 1979: For obvious reasons

South Africa 1978: Patrese, then Depailler, then Peterson, whew!

Australia 1986: High drama

Brazil 2008: I was actually shouting at the TV

Jerez 1997: Good guys win

Spa 2008: Lewis won that race, no matter what the record books say

Holland 1976: The best race in my favorite season (if anyone has TV coverage of this one PM me! I only have about 5 minutes)


Lest we forget Rindt at Monaco in 1970? :up:

#13 Eric Dunsdon

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 08:33

CHINA 2012!!!!!! Absolutely fantastic!

Ah!. The Chinese Grand Prix. I remember it as though it was only yesterday!. Nostalgia indeed. :confused:

#14 mscheeres

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:02

The 2009 Superstock 1000 race at Monza :) Three bikes within a second for the whole race. Corti won by 0.010 sec

Edited by mscheeres, 16 April 2012 - 09:02.


#15 stevewf1

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 09:15

I'll put Canada 2011 on this list.


#16 Nigel Beresford

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:33

Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss on superbikes at Imola, can't remember the year but it was fantastic :clap:

2002... oh my, yes indeed!

#17 Spaceframe

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Posted 16 April 2012 - 11:50

1951 British GP - Fangio and the Alfetta vs. Gonzalez in the unblown Ferrari.

1953 French GP - Maserati vs. Ferrari - Gonzalez acting as hare with half tanks, Fangio vs. Hawthorn to the flag.

1953 Italian GP - great fight between the Ferraris of Ascari and Farina vs. Fangio's Maserati.

1957 German GP - Fangio's great fight back after Maserati screwed up the scheduled pit stop for fuel and tyres.

1958 German GP - amazing win by Brooks, who chased down the Ferraris after Moss's Vanwall retired.

1961 Monaco GP - Moss beating the Ferrari works team in an obsolete car with an under-powered engine.

1961 French GP - newcomer Baghetti just pips Gurney for the win.

1961 German GP - Moss did it again, but this time with a little help from a superior set of tyres.

1963 French GP - not much in the way of close contest for the win, but I would've liked to watch Clark's opening lap, when he opened up a gap sufficiently large for the more streamlined cars of the opposition to make it the usual slipstreaming contest.

1964 Mexican GP - as he entered the final lap, Clark was still leading and on course for the championship, only to have his engine seize, which left the title in the hands of Graham Hill, until Bandini waved Surtees into second to become the first man to become world champion on both two and four wheels.

That's 10 already, but a few more candidates deserve to be included on the shortlist:


1966 Belgian GP - great race by Rindt, and brillant victory by Surtees.

1967 Italian GP - Clark getting lapped at a pit stop, making up more than a lap to retake the lead and finally run out of fuel on the last lap, thereby setting up a fantastic finishing duel between Brabham and Surtees.

1968 German GP - another runaway winner, but still an amazing race in unbelievable conditions.

1970 Monaco GP - explanations shouldn't be necessary.

1970 German GP - Rindt and Ickx duelling from start to finish.

1971 Spanish GP - everybody predicted that the rule of the DFV was over, as only Stewart (second row) and Gethin (fourth row) got into the top 10 during qualifying. But Stewart conquered the lead and raced hard all day to keep Ickx at bay at this most picturesque circuit.

1971 Dutch GP - rain, Ickx and Rodriguez exchanged the lead several times during their race long duel.

1971 Italian GP - closest finish ever in a race which probably the majority of the contestants managed to lead at one point or another.

1972 French GP - worth the inclusion for the incredible spectacle of Amon annihilating the lap record time and again during his fight back after a puncture robbed him of the race.

1972 British GP - great three-way tussle between Ickx, Stewart and eventual winner Emerson Fittipaldi.

1973 Argentine GP - probably Fittipaldi's greatest F1 race as he forced his way past both Tyrrells to take the win.

1973 Swedish GP - boring circuit, but a close contest all the way.

That's another dozen from long ago - I'll leave more recent races to others.

#18 byrkus

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 05:39

1996 BPR race at Nogaro... #28 Ferrari F40, which was fastest in qualifying, was knocked out of the race in first corner, and the car was slightly damaged. After losing two laps, drivers J-M Gounon, E Bernard and P Belmondo started probably the best drive I've ever seen. Driving around two seconds faster than the opposition, they came closer and closer, and came within 10 second to the leading car with about 20 mins to go. And then, within sight of a truly amazing win, their gearbox failed...

It's quite an obscure race, but it's one of the those that remained in my memory.


#19 Spaceframe

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 09:28

Outside F1:

Mille Miglia 1955 - I'm pretty stunned nobody has mentioned this yet...

FF Festival - several of them. Not the least those where the winner came from behind, Johnny Herbert and Jan Magnussen come to mind.

1914 French GP - Mercedes vs. Peugeot...

1935 German GP - Nuvolari taking an ancient Tipo B to victory against the might of the Silver Arrows.

More to follow!

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#20 byrkus

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:18

Outside F1:

Mille Miglia 1955 - I'm pretty stunned nobody has mentioned this yet...


Or, in the same style, Targa Florio 1972 - Alfa (Marko - Galli) against Ferrari (Munari - Merzario), with only 16 seconds between them in the end...

Or Targa 1968, when Vic Elford lost around 20 minutes in first lap alone, and then drove probably best drive of his life to win the race by almost three minutes, much to disappointment of Alfa Romeo.

Or... Really, there's much more in racing than just F1 alone. :clap:


#21 Spaceframe

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Posted 17 April 2012 - 10:37

Or... Really, there's much more in racing than just F1 alone. :clap:

Indeed - the 1971 1.000 km race at the Österreichring - Pedro was at the wheel of his 917 for some 944 of those 1.000 km, letting Attwood into the seat only for some nine or ten laps. Rodriguez made up several laps and provoked Regazzoni in the leading Ferrari 312P into going too fast and crash. Pedro was apparently more disappointed that he didn't get the chance to finish his amazing chase of the Ferrari than he was pleased with winning!

Or the Aston Martin victories in the Nurburgring 1.000 km with Moss showing how to do it. !958 and 1959, if my memory doesn't fail me.

Sebring 12 hours 1970 - Andretti chased down the 908 of Revson and McQueen.

Le Mans has also been quite exciting on a few occasion - 1955 (Hawthorn vs. Fangio before Levegh's accident), 1969 (Ickx vs. Herrmann), 1973 (Matra vs. Ferrari), 1984 (Lancia vs the Porsche privateers) and 1988 (Jaguar vs. Porsche) among them.

And there was a Monaco GP long before F1 where Nuvolari and Varzi fought for 99 laps until one of the cars broke down on the final lap - 1932 or 33, I think it was.

In F3 there was the 1969 Monaco race where Wisell and Peterson fought a terrific battle.

Edit: There were a few very good GPs at the Österreichring - 1972 (fine duel between Fittipaldi and Hulme after Stewart faded), 1976 (the early laps in a slight drizzle were mesmerizing - Watson, Hunt, Nillson, Ronnie and Scheckter engared in the tuzzle) and 1982 (mostly for the terrific final laps where Keke almost caught de Angelis).

1969 gave us a couple af great dices between Rindt at Stewart - first at the British GP and then at Monza.

1962 there was the German GP. It rained and for some reason Clark fell behind at the start, before he really went motoring. For some eight or nine laps he drove on the limit, before a spin caused him to slow and make it to the end. A bit like some of Senna's qualifying laps at Monaco, but Clark went into this state for an hour and some..

In minor league touring cars the Danish fans got an inredible spectacle in the 0-1300 cc Group 2 back in 1973. Leif Petersen in an NSU vs. Erik Høyer in an Escort. Incredibly close racing, but they never traded paint. In fact there are those that argue that any touring car race including Erik Høyer at his peak was a great race, as he was both fast and spectacular both in Mini Coopers and later in assorted Escorts, and finally in the 1980s in a Toyoa Corolla in the ETCC.

Oh, I nearly forgot Jacky Ickx' victory at the 1974 Race of Champions.


Edited by Spaceframe, 18 April 2012 - 09:47.


#22 backfire

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 14:32

2011 British Superbike final, Brands Hatch!

#23 johnthebridge

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 08:55

can't remember the exact years on all of these but i'd go for

BOAC 1000Km at Brands in 70 or 71 with the drive by Pedro in the 917

Jackie's win at the ring in the fog, I think in 67.

I'll have to think a bit more for others but they are the two that stand out that haven't already been mentioned so far


So far as the first one goes, how could anyone possibly say otherwise? The sight of that 917, lights blazing, coming out of Druids so far sideways that Roger Clark would have had trouble getting it back! Nick Syrett? Black flag? Pah!

#24 Hamish Robson

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 09:24

Colin Edwards and Troy Bayliss on superbikes at Imola, can't remember the year but it was fantastic :clap:


I was there! 125,000 screaming Italians, Ducati vs Honda. What an amazing day.