A petrolhead's bucket list: 20 unforgettable experiences

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 FIND YOUR ROAD: Clarence Drive (along the R44) is one of the best roads for drivers in South Africa. What's yours? Image: YouTube ~ Youtube

Cape Town - Germany's Nurburging, China's Guoliang Tunnel, SA's Kyalami race track... there are some events and places every petrolhead should experience.

All over the world there are events, places and roads that need (and should) be explored and experienced.

Even here in sunny South Africa we have places that can make a petrolhead's bucket list: Kyalami race track, classic car shows and awesome mountain passes.

SA is also home to some of the best driver’s roads you’d find anywhere in the world and as such, it will be an injustice if we do not include any of them in the below list.

By countries around the world, starting with SA, here is our bucket list. We've also added some suggestions by the guys from RaceChip.

In South Africa:

1. Clarence drive (R44)

Connecting Gordon’s Bay with Rooi Els, the R44 is 21km of twisting road that runs along the Atlantic Ocean that offers a crisp driving experience. If getting the best line and corner entry/exit is of priority, full focus is needed as the road unfolds around 77 bends. 

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2. Franschhoek Pass

The dynamics of the Franschhoek Pass is such that a single mistake can send you crashing into the mountain, into the ravine down below, or into oncoming traffic. The pass, from both sides, is a continuous climb coupled with short bursts of speed and sudden braking. Yet the sequence of corners flow into each other. Tight bends require absolute concentration but it is one of the purest drives you'll experience anywhere.

3. Festival of Motoring

A photo posted by Wheels24 (@wheels24_sa) on

The inaugural South African Festival of Motoring, held at the iconic Kyalami race track, near Johannesburg, heralds the beginning of a new era of local motor shows. It took place over five days (August 31 - September 4) and attracted more than 50 000 visitors. Planning for the 2017 event is already underway and promises to be even better and bigger than the 2016 edition.

Attending an F1 race, the Paris auto show, a road trip along route 66... what's on your petrolhead-bucket list? Email us  and we'll publish your thoughts.



4. Monaco GP

Few racing events can rival the iconic Monaco GP, holding a Formula 1 motor race each year on the Circuit de Monaco. Along with the Indy 500 and the 24 Hours of LeMans, it forms of the Triple Crown of Motorsport, with racing legend Graham Hill being the only one to have competed all three. Image: RaceChip

5. 24 Hours of Le Mans

The '24 Heures du Mans' is the longest standing endurance race in history, where competing teams race for a continuous 24-hour period. Entrants must balance speed, mechanical reliability, and consumables such as fuel and tyres in order to win. It's a once in a lifetime experience, so remember that sleep is for the weak. Image: RaceChip

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6. Museo Modena

Ferrari, originally names Auto Avio Costruziono, was established by Enzo Ferrari in his birthplace of Modena, a small city in Northern Italy. The Museo Modena houses many cars, unpublished films and mementos depicting Enzo Ferrari's life. It's a must visit for any Ferrari fan. Image: RaceChip

7. Stelvio Pass

Another 'must drive' for the list is Stelvio Pass, a mountain pass in Northern Italy that's 2.7km above sea level. Top Gear voted it the 'best driving road in the world' in 2008, dividing the car enthusiast scene in one fell swoop as many believe it's simply "ok". Regardless of where you sit on the matter, it's still worth the trip. Image: RaceChip


8. Goodwood Festival of Speed

Goodwood is an annual hill climb event hosted in West Sussex, England, and sees some of the rarest and most iconic cars gather at the historic Goodwood Estate. It offers a chance for car enthusiasts to meet their icons and take in the automotive eye candy. Image: RaceChip

9. Gumball 3000

Gumball 300 is an annual road trip 'adventure' founded by British entrepreneur, Maximillion Cooper. It sports an all celeb lineup, mixing luxury cars with music, entertainment, and often controversy. While becoming a participant is unlikely with an entry fee of $100 000, ctaching a glimpse of the action is easy once you know the route. Image: RaceChip


10. Autobahn

Despite the belief that Germany's Autobahns lack any speed limit, many sections do enforce them, especially within urban areas. That said, around two-thirds still lack any speed limit at all, though they often have 'advisory speed limits' or around 130km/h. Abide to the rules and etiquette, and it makes for the ultimate driving experience. Image: RaceChip

11. Nurburgring

The iconic Nurburgring is nestles within the small town of Nurburg, Germany. As well as the varied "profession" events, anyone is welcome to drive on it whether you're in a rental car or a Porsche Carrera GT. 13 miles of track and 73 bends makes for an awesome drive, just remember that the track claims the lives of 3-12 victims per year. Image: RaceChip


12. Guoliang Tunnel

The Guoliang Tunnel was hand carved by just 13 villagers, in an effort to provide better access to the village of Guoliang. It took them five years, the end-product being a 1200m-long tunnel that meanders through the mountainside. It's considered one of the most dangerous tunnels to drive through, but with risk comes great reward. Image: RaceChip


13. Touge roads of Mount Fuji

Japan is home to many enchanting, intriguing and straight up disturbing things, but one thing which they must receive credit for is the birth of drifting. The winding, twisting roads of Mount Fuji were perfect for boy racers to fling their heavily modified cars around, and while it's no recommended to walk in their footsteps, the views are still breath-taking. Image: RaceChip


14. Bonneville Salt Flats

The Bonneville Salt Flats are as close as you can get to driving on an alien planet. They're void of any life and the endless, blinding salt makes for the perfect racing environment. More land speed records have been broken here than anywhere else in the world, but be sure to go at the right time of the year or you risk joining a graveyard of stuck cars. Image: RaceChip

15. Indy 500

The Indianapolis 500 is one of the most well-known races, featuring multiple times in film and television, most recently in the snail-based film 'Turbo'. While the track looks pretty straightforward, it always features heart-in-mouth moments and high octane action. Image: RaceChip

16. 24 hours of LeMons

24 Hours of LeMons is an endurance race with a twist. Unlike the previously mentioned Le Mans where cars can cost multiple millions, LeMons has a strict max-car-cost of $500, with ridiculous penalties being applied if you exceed this. Whether you're taking part or spectating, it makes for a great day out. Image: RaceChip

17. Tail of the Dragon

Also known as Deals Gap, The Tail of the Dragon is an 18km mountain pass along the North Carolina-Tennessee border. It's a hot spot for motorcycle and car enthusiasts due to its 318 curves and zero intersecting roads, with impressive views courtesy of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Cherokee National Forest. Image: RaceChip

18. 'Race to the Clouds'

The 'Race to the Clouds' is an annual hill climb event where participants must speed to the summit of Pike's Peak, one of the 53 'fourteener' mountains that rise more than 4.3km. in the Rocky Mountains. 2016 marks the 100th Anniversary of the event, and today's race crews spend several hundred thousand dollars on their cars. Image: RaceChip

19. Tesla factory

No matter what your stance is on electric powered cars, it is the direction that cars of the future are heading. Tesla are the front-runners in the race to getting us all driving on electric, and their Fremont factory is at the cutting edge of car manufacturing, with a mesmerising dance of robotic arms helping to automate much of the progress. Image: RaceChip

20. Route 66

Driving along America's most iconic highway is on many bucket lists - a road trip that captures the imagination and the essence of the American spirit. You'll meet a variety of different people and take in amazing sights across Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, and more. Image: RaceChip

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