Ever want to ride a world-class gran-prix circuit but don’t have the time or money? Or, if you’re like me, the skill?
GPCircuits.com allows you to browse tracks by country or championship. If choosing Championship to search for tracks, the site splits the choices by automotive and motorcycle racing, but unfortunately, does not include AMA Supercross our Motocross tracks. For instance, if you choose the FIM World Sidecar Championship (and who wouldn’t?), GPCircuits gives you all five courses from the 2013 calendar. If you use Country as your means to select a track, you have 36 countries at your disposal to help filter down the 188 tracks currently stored in the GPCircuits database.
Most of the courses seem to be using Google Maps as a source, but allow for 3D fly-throughs with the click of your mouse, sending you rolling through the course, slight elevation changes and all. The fly-throughs aren’t the prettiest things I’ve ever seen, but as Google Earth becomes more and more populated with 3D models for buildings and environments, I imagine that it is purely a matter of time before the fly-through mode becomes tangible and rich with textures. Even if the fly-through mode isn’t your cup of tea, there are more flavors available in the form of an interactive elevation chart and slideshows of the circuits and their surrounding attractions.
Besides the fly-through mode, one of the nice features is the fact that choosing a track, especially by country, allows you to not only see the course but it’s surround community as well. I didn’t realize how much time could be lost in exploring the cities surrounding some of these tracks via Google Maps, but it really is entrancing. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the famous Monaco street circuit.
As a fan of racing, I really found GPCircuits.com to be a great tool. From watching MotoGP and F1 to playing games such as Forza and Gran Turismo, I live for circuit racing! It will be interesting to see how many tracks get added this year as well as how the championships get updated. It may be lacking a tad bit of polish, but that is more at fault to Google Maps and the fly-through feature over anything that GPCircuits has done with their site.