Monte Carlo Grand Prix cruise

Hitting Overdrive: Experiencing the Sexiest Automobile Races in the World

Do you have the need for speed? Whether it be hearing the sound of the engines, smelling the burnt rubber on the track, or watching the frenzied pit crew, attending a top international auto race boasts an experience unmatched by any other. However, the journey doesn’t begin and end at the track – bearing witness to the most anticipated races allows enthusiasts to take advantage of some of the most luxurious and sought-after travel destinations in the world. Windstar Cruises – a fleet of small luxury cruise ships – provides tips on how to make the most of touring the sexiest automobile races in the world, creating an experience truly 180 degrees from ordinary.

Bathurst 1000

Bathurst 1000 Automobile RaceThis V8 Supercars touring car race is widely regarded as the pinnacle of motorsport in Australia. The vehicles used in the series are loosely based on road-going, four-door saloon cars. Held at Mount Panorama, just 2.5 hours from Sydney, visitors of Bathurst can spend their pre- and post-race time basking in the beauty of New South Wales with incredible land and water activities, including hiking the Blue Mountains and surfing at Bondi and Manly Beaches. Rent a car for a road trip down the Grand Pacific to experience one of the most picturesque drives in the world, and consider splurging for a convertible: with prime whale and dolphin watching season taking place in May to November, you won’t want to miss a moment of the coastline views. Kick off the trip at Royal National Park and hit up hot spots including Sea Cliff Bridge, Bald Hill Lookout, and Kiama Blowhole. Held in October: Brathurst 1000 Website

24 Hours of Le Mans

24 Hours of Le Mans Automobile RaceThe French countryside provides the perfect backdrop for 24 Hours of Le Mans, one of the oldest active sports car race events in the world and one leg of the famed “Triple Crown of Motorsport” (also including the Indianapolis 500 and Monaco Grand Prix). This is endurance racing at its finest, where teams have to delicately balance speed with the need to race for a continuous 24 hours. The location, just an hour from Paris, gives attendees a chance to find the perfect balance of fast and slow as well as  quiet moments amidst the roar of the engines spent strolling down the old town streets, sailing along the Sarthe River, or snapping images of the awe-inspiring architecture of the Cathedral St-Julien and the ancient Roman Wall – the third longest still in existence. Once on the racing grounds, attendees are often surprised by the family-friendly amusement park near the start-finish grandstands. Held in June: 24 Hours Of Le Mans Website

Grand Prix of Monaco

This Formula One® auto race is one of the most important and prestigious in the world, with ticket prices and spectator demand to match. With 78 laps speeding around Monte Carlo’s glitzy casinos and yacht-lined harbor, the cars are exhilaratingly close to race barriers and fans, so it’s no wonder most race enthusiasts would list this as their #1 pick for a “bucket list” auto experience. Combined with stops in charming ports in Southern France and Italy, guests aboard Windstar’s Grand Prix of Monaco Cruise get exclusive access, including K Section seats for Saturday’s qualifying race and Sunday’s finale, a special Grand Prix themed cocktail reception and dinner, and an additional private cocktail reception and dinner in downtown Monte Carlo. As an added treat, the cruise is hosted by a Formula One® racing expert, providing behind-the-scenes insights to the event, so you don’t miss an engine growl. Held in May: Monaco Grand Prix Website

Monaco Grand Prix

Belgium Grand Prix

Belgium Grand Prix Automobile RaceNestled in the Ardennes Forest, the Belgium Grand Prix is part of the Formula One® World Championship and considered by some the most beautiful circuit in all of racing. While the terrain and weather make it a challenge for the drivers, visitors can take advantage of the rolling hillside and mountainous range that stretch as far as Germany and France. Hike throughout the sparsely populated and impeccably preserved region, or follow the Meuse River by train to Dinant to fill up your Instagram feed with postcard-worthy images of historical sites and scenic waterways. Held in August: Belgium Grand Prix Website

24 Hours of Nurburgring

24hr nurbrugring raceOne of the most strenuous endurance races in the industry, 24 Hours of Nurburgring is primarily aimed at amateur drivers or “gentleman racers” and features a variety of race car classes competing on the same track, at the same time. The 150,000 capacity motorsports complex is located less than 50 miles south of Cologne, Germany, the country’s fourth largest city. Beautifully positioned on both sides of the Rhine River, race attendees should make the short trek to Cologne to visit its more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries in between driving events. Or head to Germany’s most visited landmark: the Cologne Cathedral, an UNESCO World Heritage site. Paired with the adrenaline rush of the race and Nurburgring’s renowned party scene off the track, you may need a visit to a cathedral to help cleanse your soul for next time. Held in May: Nurburgring Website

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