From majestic locations to magnificent beasts, our top races in the world are both thrilling and spectacular to watch. With sponsorship and prize money in the millions, these competitors are as serious as a heart attack.
The art of the race goes way back to the days when winning meant you didn’t become a meal to some wild creature. Wasn’t hard to identify the winners and losers back in those times.
Evolution has offered its helping hand, where a competitive race now means science and technology are a necessity for winning.
So how far have we come? We’re about to introduce you to the world’s first flying car race, featuring the first flying race car of course. That’s right people, as we mentioned, flying cars are a thing now.
Yachting – Rolex Middle Sea Regatta – Republic of Malta
When: October 23rd, 2021
Top Prize: A civilized race amongst gentlemen (and women) for a trophy (The Malta Rolex Cup) and a nice watch.
Let’s start on the high seas in the heart of the Mediterranean, where this regatta takes us through some drop-dead beautiful scenery. On beauty alone, we’re calling this one of the top races in the world.
Held in the Republic of Malta, this major sailing competition began in 1968. A friendly rivalry between a couple of yachtsmen evolved into what is now a 120+ yacht race, which gained stream when Rolex became a title sponsor.
This 977-kilometer-long race is extremely demanding and starts and finishes in Malta. Thanks to waterproof cameras and drones, you’ll take in all the excitement and scenery without getting seasick.
Ted Turner once called this “the most beautiful racecourse in the world.” It’s easy to see, as the racecourse goes around Sicily, passes through the Messina Strait, races past the islands of Stromboli and the Egadi, and boasts an amazing view of two active volcanos.
When: May 23rd, 2021 (runs on the last weekend in May)
Top Prize: Drivers do not receive any prize money because they are paid salaries by the teams they drive for.
This is a Formula One race that began in 1928 in the streets of Monaco. We might need to differ with Ted Turner, as Monaco is known as a prestigious playground located on the French Riviera, known as the go-to place for rubbing elbows with the rich and famous.
What is a Formula One racing car?
The Formula One is a high-powered, single-seater with an open cockpit. What makes these cars and Formula One races unique is that the cars must be constructed by the racing teams themselves.
Prize money is a convoluted anomaly as well, as there’s basically revenue sharing from the circuit. You can learn more here.
The Monaco Grand Prix takes place over 78 laps and covers a total of 161.734 miles. With elevation changes, tight corners, and even a tunnel, this is definitely an extreme sport that will keep the goosebumps on double duty.
A tunnel and hills on the race track? Okay, this is definitely one of the top races in the world when it comes to thrills and chills.
Tickets for the grandstand seating start at around €90, but like other major sporting championships, various packages are offered to allow you to get upfront and personal with the adrenaline rush, and relaxation with wine and gourmet meals.
Weekend tickets start from around €500 for the cheaper grandstand seating or just under €200 for the Rocher general admission zone on the hill. Early arrival is recommended for the Rocher viewing if you want to get the best views.
This area gets crowded and the terrain is quite steep, might want to make sure your picnic basket has a parking brake on it.
Also, don’t worry about fending off the wealthy if you plan on getting your hands on a high-end great package. Famous folks will most likely already be staying on their own mega-yachts.
When: First Saturday in May
Top Prize: US$1,860,000
Called the “most exciting two minutes in sports,” this prestigious party and sporting event last much, much longer. Starting over 144 years, this event revolves around a 2-week festival giving you ample time to immerse yourself in the run for the roses.
There’s also no shortage of food at this race. A little fun fact- on average, spectators will eat 142,000 hot dogs, 18,000 barbecue sandwiches, 13,800 pounds of beef, and 32,400 jumbo shrimp.
The good news is there are around 120,000 mint juleps served to wash it all down. Remember, a true mint julep is made with Kentucky bourbon, and if you’ve made it this far, you’ll want to spend a day or two experiencing the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
We’d also be remiss not to mention this is as much a show for fashionable hats and horsing around as it is for watching awe-inspiring racehorses hitting speeds of up to 40 mph. This is far more than a horse race, it’s also one of the top races in the world for fun festivals.
These 3-year-old Thoroughbreds can easily exceed a cost of US$300,000 each, with annual expenses exceeding $45,000 a year just for maintenance, for non-champion horses.
You’ll pay for blacksmiths, dentists, veterinarians, and even a chiropractor as part of your monthly fees. Heck, if you want to saddle up a little guy to race the horse, there’s even a US$500 jockey mount fee. a lot of pork for a horse race. Politicians must be running this event!
When: Saturday of Easter Weekend
Top Prize: R 250,000 (US$17,250)
Starting in Newlands and finishing in the beautiful seaside town of Cape Town in South Africa, this is known as the world’s most beautiful marathon. The 35-mile course takes you through somewhat of a circular route along the Cape Peninsula.
Because of this locale, you’ll race along the shoreline of 2 oceans, the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. Sounds like a vacation to us!
As you pass the coastal Cape Town suburb of Noordhoek, things start getting really exciting, you’re about to hit Chapman’s Peak. This is where the scenic mountain meets the sea with jaw-dropping panoramic ocean views.
Enjoy it while you can though because you’ve got a killer hill climb around the corner called the ‘Suikerbossie Pass.”
This pass is a gorgeously scenic place to stay if visiting South Africa, but you’re most likely thinking about catching your breath if running a marathon on this stretch. There are flatter marathons to run, as we talked about in our top 5 marathons in the world.
When: 2022, to be announced
Top Prize: Still in the works
We told you flying cars were coming, and now they’re about to race. There’s some techno progress for ya. Like Formula One racing has specific types of cars, so do flying race cars and it’s called the MK4.
Known as electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) vehicles, they are already being commercialized as flying taxis with vertiports (eVTOL airports) already in the works in Florida, China, and Singapore.
What’s an MK4 flying racing car?
With a top speed of 160 kmph, and an acceleration of 2.3 seconds to hit 100 kmph, your need for speed will be more than enough.
This is also one of the best clean-energy technologies when it comes to flight. No doubt this will become one of the top racing events in the world to experience.
Obviously manning these racers will require lots of safety features and testing is already underway on unmanned races using LiDAR (lateral) and Radar (front) collision avoidance systems to keep a safe distance between the vehicles.
Will there be flying race car pit stops?
Yes, and it will be far more efficient than we see on a typical race track. No tires to change and just swapping out a battery will up the game on quick pit stops for these awesome flying machines.
Data will rule the skies in these airborne races, with terabytes of telemetry and racing operation data transmitted instantly to the data pit wall and factory.
What’s really cool is that the pilots will wear vision-enhanced, augmented reality visors to navigate the track. They’ll also see their height, speed, battery life, and other types of telemetry through the visor. It gets better though – we can watch the race from the pilot’s view through a live feed!
Racing events have evolved into weekend excursions where a spectator can fully immerse themselves in an experience like no other.
Whether you’re participating as a runner on a course with amazing views or just being part of the crowd, technology, and science like innovative cameras and drone systems let you experience these events like never before.