Racing thrills: the seven most extreme motorsports

words Al Woods

Fast cars and competitive drivers inevitably make for a rather extreme combinations – there are very few motorsports in the world that are considered tame.

But whether it’s the length of the race or the propensity for violent crashes, some motorsports take the thrill seeking up a notch. Here are seven of the most extreme kind of motorsports in the world.

Rally driving

Rally cars are based on road models, which is part of what makes the sport so thrilling. These are just normal cars with a few minor modifications taking on the myriad challenges of dirt roads and woodland tracks. These all-weather races take place across many different types of terrain with unpredictable levels of grip, making them one of the most extreme ways to drive.

One of the best things about rally driving is how accessible it is to just about anyone. If you’re interested in trying the ultimate rally driving experience, you can simply book yourself onto a beginner circuit and get started straight away.

bike racing


Off-road racing in the mud and the rain might sound dangerous enough in a car, so now imagine that experience but on a motorcycle. Motocross races take place on closed circuits that typically feature steep inclines and sharp bends, with riders constantly battling for position. While these might seem simply like aggressive encounters, motocross shows off unbelievable skill on the part of the driver. Plus, with high-quality racing helmets linked here, riders have the top protection during fast and intense races. It is a true test of both physical and mental endurance.

And if that isn’t thrill-seeking enough, there’s always the opportunity to try freestyle motocross, in which riders launch themselves into the air to perform incredible airborne stunts, tricks and acrobatics. These tricks are then scored by judges.

demolition derby

Demolition derby

In most forms of motorsport, damage to the vehicles is an unfortunately consequence of pushing your car to the limit. But in demolition derby, damage is not only actively encouraged, it is the name of the game! Using banged up old cars, drivers attempt to immobilise their competitor’s vehicles by ramming them and inflicting as much impact as possible.

Incredibly common in the US, the demolition derby might seem completely barbaric, but there are actually rules – for example you typically aren’t allowed to aim for or intentionally hit the driver’s side door.

extreme motorsports

Figure 8 racing

If you’ve never heard of Figure 8 racing, the concept is pretty simple. The race track is arranged in (you guess it) a figure of 8. This of course that it intersects itself in the middle, inevitably leading to the risk of cars crashing directly into each other on a fairly regular basis. There are a lot of near misses and to avoid crashes happened on almost every lap drivers need to display an incredible degree of skill and timing.


Drag racing

Drag racing can take many different forms but the basic premise is usually the same – two cars line up and race over a pre-set distance. Drag races often take place over a quarter of a mile in a straight line, and as such, they have attracted drivers trying to get as fast as is possible. Once again, this form of racing is most popular in the US, with drag strips, organised races and automatic timing quite common.

The speed involved is what makes these races so extreme – some custom-build drag race cars have more than 10,000 horsepower and exceed 300mph.

extreme motorsports

24 hour racing

While drag races are conducted over a matter of seconds, endurance racing does the complete opposite. Famous examples like Le Mans take place over 24 hours and are designed to test the durability and endurance not only of the drivers but of their cars as well. Typically teams will have a number of drivers who can interchange throughout the race. This kind of racing is exhausting and the time that drivers need to be out of the track means it qualifies as a truly extreme motorsport.

Ice racing

Taking place on frozen lakes and rivers, ice racing is popular in the northern parts of Europe as well as Canada and the US – although indoor races also occur throughout the world on ice rinks. Racing on ice comes with its own particular set of challenges, not least of which is the fact that ice provides very little grip compared to a track.

Unsurprisingly then, it takes a great deal of skill to successfully compete in these races. And the chance for spectacular spinouts make it truly exhilarating to watch and take part in.


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