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That One Level / Racing Game

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"This is your crew chief. The course is tough, so good luck!"
Your crew chief on the Advanced and Expert courses, Daytona USA

Even if you're a pro-grade driver, these particular tracks can suck all the fun out of it quickly.

Gran Turismo has it's own page.

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    Mario Kart 


  • The Mario Kart series' Rainbow Road tracks are infamously difficult. In all versions, sliding off the track at any point results in a plummet into the abyss that costs several seconds to recover from. While other tracks feature similar areas (lava pits, water, etc.), the Rainbow Road is unique in having no solid ground anywhere except the actual road surface. Slipping just a little off on a turn means a punishing fall rather than a minor loss of speed from hitting the offroad. Mario Kart 64's is an exception, since it is entirely guardrailed, the only obstacles are occasional zigzagging Chain Chomps, and its only rather big spike is that it's the longest track in the game, taking 4 and a half minutes to finish the race at LEAST - it's so long that, when it was remade for Mario Kart 8, rather than making you do three full laps, you only have to complete one lap with three checkpoints; though it makes up for this by removing the vast majority of the guardrails, bringing the aforementioned punishing falls back into play.
    • Rainbow Road in Super Mario Kart has no rails to block the fall, and the course becomes extremely narrow in parts, and the course has Thwomps that cause an instant spin-out when you run into them, and the other racers are as speedy as in the rest of the Special Cup. Also note also that the CPU racers have a tendency to speed right through those damn invincible Thwomps and never fall off the course. Depending on your skill and racer choice, one valid tactic is to actively avoid gathering coins, which increases your top speed - Except coins are placed exclusively on yellow panels and tricky to spot and avoid. Conversely, if your tactic is to quickly gather enough coins and motor ahead then you'll find that they're tricky to spot and not-avoid.
    • Mario Kart Super Circuit for the GBA, on the other hand, unleashed a Rainbow Road that's something to fear. Rather than going without railings everywhere, the level is almost entirely lined with jump pads, which can be even worse than having no rails at all. But if you know how to use Mushrooms well and get them often, the track offers many shortcuts to take. However, this is still the only Rainbow Road besides the ones in Super and 64 to include on-road hazards in the form of both randomly falling stars to make you spin out, and thunderclouds that will shrink you if you get struck, drastically slowing you down and leaving you open to getting flattened by other racers.
    • Mario Kart: Double Dash!!'s Rainbow Road course shows that even though The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard, even it has trouble with this level!
    • The track is a little easier in Mario Kart Wii ("easier" being relative), as it has guardrails in some areas, but it still features numerous sharp turns, and several jumps that land on very narrow areas, such that hitting the jump plate even a small angle off means a long, long fall. Beating the CPU (and especailly other players) on this level usually requires you to have both skill (to run the whole track at speed without falling) and luck (to avoid weapons and sideswipes that would throw you off the side of the road).
    • Don't underestimate the turns on Mario Kart 8's version. It's very easy to fall off the mostly-railless track if your car doesn't have good handling. If you want to place first on this track on 200cc you better have mastered brake-drifting; if you didn't, forget the podium entirely.
  • Any simple, starting track, like Figure-8 Circuit, Luigi Circuit, or Peach Circuit can function as That One Level. Not because you fall off the track a great deal or anything, but because the item distribution is absolute murder on a flat basic track which is usually rather short. Basically, long fancy tracks can have the item hits made up for by sheer lead and skill based on the track layout, but if you get hit on Luigi Circuit, you're likely to get hit by every single opponent in the race in short order and fall down a few places regardless.
  • The Bowser's Castle tracks are right on par with the Rainbow Roads on being the hardest tracks in the series. While Rainbow Road relies on tight corners, narrow pathways and the almost entire lack of guardrails, Bowser's Castle relies on lots, and lots, and LOTS of very well-placed traps such as fireballs, lava pools, and Thwomps which can squash the racers. The more infamous examples are:
    • the Mario Kart 64 version due to its many Thwomps which even move strategically to squash as many racers as possible, and for being the longest track in the game in its Wii incarnation;
    • the Double Dash!! version again due to the tons of Thwomps — this time mostly put on the narrower parts, and mind you, they cover the entire roadway in such situations — and also at the end a giant Bowser statue which spews fiery boulders FROM BEHIND THE RACERS;
    • the DS version due to its overall snaking track design, a spinning cylinder halfway through the track, and moving platforms at the end;
    • the Wii version for similar reasons to the incarnation in Double Dash;
    • and finally the version in Mario Kart 8, as the anti-gravity mechanics are used to hide the tons of traps from the player and a giant Bowser golem that punches the track (and covers the entire roadway with its fist).note .

Super Mario Kart

  • Both of the Vanilla Lake courses can cause plenty of issues. Due to them being Slippy Slidey Ice Worlds, karts are much more difficult to control. There's also plenty of areas with exposed ice water (Vanilla Lake 2 is around a massive area of it), which when combined with the ice physics can mean plenty of unwelcome visits from Lakitu. Even the stage's exclusive hazard, the breakable ice blocks, are a hassle, because not only are there lots of them in close quarters, but crashing into one will make you lose all of your speed.

Mario Kart 64

  • Toad's Turnpike on Mirror Mode. The track is reversed; the traffic is not. It turns the entire course into a Luck-Based Mission, where every curve and corner is a chance to be hit by an oncoming car. Getting hit by a car launches you into the air, and stops your momentum dead. This is, of course, enough time to get launched again by each of the inevitable cars tailgating the one you hit. It also shows off Mario Kart's infamous Rubber-Band A.I. at its worst; even though the AI has just as much trouble with the traffic as human players do, the AI racers still manage to easily catch up every time.
  • Wario Stadium is a very simple course, consisting mainly of simple turns. What makes it fall into That One Level territory, however, is the jump near the end of the lap. It's very easy to do, but if you happen to get hit by something during it (which is pretty likely considering the AI is in this particular installment, you'll fall down below without Lakitu's mercy, in which case you'll have to redo well over half the course and probably be put in dead last.note  This infamous bit may be the reason why Wario Stadium is the only course from Mario Kart 64 that has yet to return as a retro track in a future game.
  • Sherbet Land. Penguins everywhere, slippery slidey ice, sharp turns early in the lap that are impossible with certain karts or bikes in the Mario Kart Wii version. Good luck if you favor light characters; many vicious online players LOVE to shove lightweights off into the water, costing 4-10 seconds as you have to be to thawed out before you can drive off again!
  • Yoshi Valley is quite hard to navigate, and even harder to stay on the track; if you take a wrong route or fall off, you won't place well at all. It doesn't help that since this track is The Maze, so much so that the developers couldn't figure out how to make the position indicator function properly in the original N64 version of this track, you won't actually know how well/badly you're doing until the race is already over - it's replaced by a "?" instead during gameplay. Thankfully, the Mario Kart 8 remake of this track does not suffer from this issue.

Mario Kart: Super Circuit

  • Shy Guy Beach, particularly the Mario Kart Wii version. The entire track is nothing but sand and water, meaning that every vehicle is constantly being slowed down by the sand. And there are several sections where you are forced into water for brief periods. There is even one section consisting of about 8 of these back-to-back. If you're using Manual, you can hop over them if your timing is perfect. If you're using Automatic, enjoy your loss. Also, there's the Sidesteppers (Crabs) and the cannonballs the Shy Guys' pirate ship keeps firing at the track. Now, course obstacles are nothing new - they're in quite a few tracks throughout the game. But every course obstacle has predictable patterns... except for the Sidesteppers and the cannonballs. Twice the unpredictability, twice the frustration!
  • Luigi Circuit (which returns in Mario Kart DS) is filled with puddles of water which cause you to spin out... and which, of course, the computer never runs through.
  • Lakeside Park. First of all, starting on the second lap, there's a volcanic eruption that work similar to the Shy Guy pirate ship, but then there are the boost jumps that are very easy to fail. Fail those and you'll end up in last place in no time.

Mario Kart: Double Dash!!

  • Baby Park. The layout is very simple; it's seven laps on a simple, smallnote , hazardless oval course. It's so small than an average lap is about 10 seconds. It sounds simple in practice, but due to its tiny size as well as its high abundance of Item Boxes, the entire race essentially becomes a massively chaotic Luck-Based Mission. Expect to find yourself commonly caught in the middle of a hectic hailstorm of Shells, Bob-ombs, and everything in between, since it's often you'll lap players in low places and make yourself a target for high-tier items. When the course immediately returned in Mario Kart DS, its introduction of the Bullet Bill didn't help matters. Mario Kart 8's remake takes this Up to Eleven by making the whole race in anti-gravity, allowing you to boost off other cars by ramming into them (though they will get boosted as well), and the presence of nigh-useless coins in the item rotation greatly thins the line between a legendary victory and a bitter failure.

Mario Kart DS

  • DK Pass. It's already a difficult track in the DS game, but it seems like there at least the snow didn't slow you down as much. In Mario Kart 7 on the other hand... The snow to the side slows you down drastically, the icy road makes it difficult to even charge mini turbos/drift properly and the lack of edges mean that one mistake near the start has you fly off the road to your doom.

Mario Kart Wii

  • Mushroom Gorge is a nightmare for item use. Most of the track is made up of huge pits and you can only cross them by driving onto mushrooms. The green ones behave like regular platforms, but the red ones bounce you, sending you sailing into a pit if your trajectory is off. It's only made harder when you have to bounce from mushroom to mushroom in rapid succession. If you get flipped over/stunned you are jumping, say hello to the abyss. Using a Star, Bullet Bill, or Mushroom? Don't bother using them during the mushroom spans since going too fast can make you overshoot the next mushroom jump and make you fall off the track.
  • Most of Wario's Gold Mine has no guardrails, entering the mine itself always involves negotiating a barrage of Swoopers which can slow the player down massively, and the mine cart segment has many opportunities for players to be knocked over the side by a cart as it switches tracks.note 
  • Grumble Volcano. The track already mainly consists of tight turns, moving terrain, and lack of railing, but starting in the second lap, the course begins to fall apart (watch out for areas where there are long cracks in the track - they might be shaking and about to go when you go by in the second lap, and are gone by the third) usually when you're right over a part about to break off and have just been hit by an item; cue a nice lava bath! And there's also the meteors falling all over the place, with not only lingering lava pit hazards that they leave behind for a short while, but also timing patterns that are incredibly annoying to learn.
  • Moonview Highway is this due to you driving with a bunch of cars, trucks, and even explosive Bob-omb cars from Mario Kart 64, all which either squish you (coming at you) or send you flying (going away from you/Bob-omb car). Even more obnoxiously, some of the cars swerve from lane to lane, making it harder to dodge. Luckily, there's a predictable pattern, but even after recognizing that, many safe driving passages between cars are sometimes incredibly tight and require very precise timing. Moonview Highway also is an issue for players in most countries driving on the right (mainly North America and mainland Europe). Namely, the cars in the level drive on the left side of the road (since the game is Japanese and Japanese drivers drive on the left), so if you don't want to spend you time dodging cars coming at you, you're going to have to ignore your instinct to drive on the right side. Then, once you finally get used to that, Mirror Mode comes along, and right hand drive applies.

Mario Kart 7

  • Piranha Plant Slide/Piranha Plant Pipeway, in both the 7 and 8 versions, is an interesting case in that some players consider it a Best Level Ever, while other players utterly loathe it, with seemingly no space in between. The latter camp cites its extremely tight turns, the overall lack of well-placed coins, and the Piranha Plants being tricky to maneuver around without getting chomped - and the fact that, because of the former camp, it will come up online.
  • Rosalina's Ice World is a living hell if you don't have good reaction times, a vehicle with good handling, and just overall some grand amounts of skill. Not to mention the AI seems to love beaning you every five seconds here, slowing your progress even more than usual thanks to the ice.

Mario Kart 8

  • Dolphin Shoals is Grand Prix hell. With lots of long straightaways, expect the enemy to slipstream off your back and pummel you with shells, fireballs, and boomerangs regularly, and you'd better not fall off the eel while you're tricking off of its narrow back if you don't want to fall into last place.
  • Bone-Dry Dunes, due to its many sharp corners, TONS of sand which slows the player down, and obstacles — such as Dry Bones, Bone Piranha Plants and quicksands — all over the place and put in very troubling positions.
  • In general, most tracks become this when playing in 200cc, as that class's incredibly high speeds give very little reaction time. However, the tracks that become the most difficult in this class are those that have lots of sharp corners in quick succession, such as Bone-Dry Dunes, Rainbow Road, GCN Yoshi Circuit, Dragon Driftway, GBA Cheese Land, and 3DS Neo Bowser City.

    Other Nintendo Games 
  • The F-Zero series:
    • F-Zero:
      • The original F-Zero has the Death Wind courses, in which powerful gusts blow your machine to the side, making for an odd angle to drive at. Death Wind I is not so bad - as it's just an oval, but Death Wind II has extra corners that make the wind much worse. 90-degree corners combined with dash pads which give you an instant boost to 999kph. Hello, wall!
      • FIRE FIELD. It is the final track in the original game for very good reasons: it is the longest track in the game (most races here will go on for over 5 minutes), and features nearly everything you have seen so far in the gamenote : mines, U-turns in quick succession, roads covered in slippery terrain, and magnetic strips that will try to slam you against the wall. Not only that, at the end of the lap you are forced to take a split road, of which the longer road features the (small) obligatory healing strip. That's right, if you need to heal you are forced to take the longer route and potentially lose your positionnote , and even then that's for little if any shield energy, making this track a textbook example of the Drought Level of Doom. And to add insult to injury, this (alongside Death Wind II) is one of several tracks that aren't available in Practice mode!
    • F-Zero X:
      • Big Hand. The final track, this is a rather long course in the shape of, well, a hand, and many parts of it have no guardrails, and there are some patches of ice in these rail-less portions. And it has some brutally difficult turns.
      • The Japan-only Expansion Kit for X has the even harder Big Foot, with even tighter turns in much quicker succession.
    • F-Zero GX:
      • Story Mode chapter 7. It's a pretty bog-standard race with no gimmicks... except it takes place on the most sadistically designed course in the game, which every type of obstacle imaginable, several extremely difficult turns, and much, much better AI for the enemy racers than you're used to. Oh, and the number of laps it lasts increases upon increasing the difficulty. Fortunately, you only need to beat it for 100% Completion and to unlock an average F-Zero AX machine.
      • For regular races in GX, Cosmo Terminal: Trident is an interesting case. It has a lot of very narrow roads without guardrails, and one careless move can easily result in losing your machine. After learning it well though, it becomes Difficult, but Awesome, as you knock out other racers left and right. Destroying 10 or more machines here can become par for the course.
      • GX also has Mute City: Serial Gaps, the final course of the Sapphire Cup series. The Sapphire Cup is bookended by two rather unwieldy courses: Drift Highway at Big Blue and this course. Drift Highway is decent but difficult to actually win in due to the short track length and the tight turns. You make this up by racing steadily through the next three courses (none of which are particularly bad). Then you hit Serial Gaps. Large jumps and a high chance of missing your landing result in burning through all your machines on the last race of the series.
      • Most GX players also get tripped up at Lightning: Half Pipe, the fourth track of the Emerald Cup. While it isn't hard at all to traverse in the first lap - as you have no boost, it suddenly becomes extremely tough to stay on it while you're having your boost engaged. And considering that in the harder difficulties you have to spam the boost like crazy if you even think about placing first...
      • Five words that will make any GX player cower in fear: Phantom Road: Slim-Line Slits. The final track of the original 20, this track has several sections where the track becomes extremely narrow, and while there are guardrails there, it means you're likely to lose a lot of speed on them (and good luck passing any enemy racers there either). It also pulls a nasty design decision where all the health restoration strips end in a drop-off, meaning you have to get out of them much earlier than normal. On top of this, the way the course looks makes it appear that you're going a lot faster than you actually are, which will psyche you out.
    • F-Zero GP Legend has Illusion: Abyss Drop, a technical course with no guardrails. It really says something when the game spares you this track when you play on Novice difficulty...
    • F-Zero Climax has the pre-made custom course White Land - Catharsis, which is more or less a test of how good you are at hairpin turns after being boosted to ludicrous speed. And many of said hairpin turns are over ice so that makes it even easier to hit a wall.
  • Diddy Kong Racing has Greenwood Village, particularly under the Silver Coin Challenge. In the game, the Silver Coin Challenges are unlocked after you win all the races in a world and beat the level's boss. To win a SCC you have to collect 8 silver coins throughout the stage AND get first place. This would be fine if not for the fact that (A) they are REQUIRED to beat a world (which is required for story completion); (B) the coins have ridiculous placements often requiring you to hit all the shortcuts (and some "longcuts") in order to get them all; and (C) the computer racers are not bound by the coin collection requirement and are simply out to win the race. Greenwood Village is the worst level for this, as it has many shortcuts (all housing at least one coin), and the sheer number of them requires that you use all three laps to get them all — on most stages, you can spend the first and second laps getting coins and use the last one to get back into the lead, but GWV has so many coins in non mutual locations you WILL need all three laps to collect. Your only hope is that you do freakishly well while you get all the coins, because the game will not show you any mercy. And for your efforts... you get to race a harder boss! Adding salt to the wound are TASses of the game that don't necessarily use a lot of (obvious) glitches but still lap the AI while collecting all of the silver coins! Oh sure, make it look easy.

    Sonic and Sega All-Stars Racing/Racing Transformed 
  • Detritus Desert from the Super Monkey Ball series in Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing. Monkey Target is a lot of fun once you figure out the trick to it (let go of the accelerator!), and Treetops is equally easy when you get your head around it, but Detritus Desert. A floating character makes it a teeny bit easier, but even then, you will fall off. A lot. While the AI racers carry blissfully on. If you get anywhere, expect to be hit with lots of Rockets. And being hit by a Confusing Star? Hell.
  • Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed's World Tour is a single-player mode with one near-universally frustrating mission type: Traffic Attack. All of them involve navigating dense traffic and hitting checkpoints at the end of each wave. However, in the higher difficulty levels, which are required to unlock all of the characters, Traffic Attacks require you to pass through 15 of these checkpoints with a time limit so strict that, even if you hit every checkpoint and time bonus, each mission would still give you barely enough time to finish even if you didn't hit any cars in the whole mission. These higher difficulty levels also include cars that will try to block your way, meaning you can't just look in front of you and charge a path ahead. it is not uncommon to hear people complaining that they spent hours each time a Traffic Attack came up going through the World Tour.
    • For the individual tracks themselves, there's Burning Depths and Race of Ages. The former is, without a doubt, the most technical track in the game, filled to the brim with sharp turns and narrow curves. The boating sections in the 2nd and 3rd laps have incredibly tight turns that requires you to smoothly drift around them, thus making a driver with a Handling stat of 3 or above a necessity to get a podium finish. The latter is basically the All-Stars Racing Transformed version of Rainbow Road: high-speed, technical, and is severely lacking in rails (one wrong drift or unlucky blow from a weapon and off you go!). The second half of the stage, which can either be an aerial or boating section, is also equally hard; the aerial section tests your maneuvering skills as you fly down an obstacle course consisting of gate-like, rotating steel gratings, electric grids with small safe zones to fly through, and massive, obstructive holograms and satellites flying around the section. The boating section combines the sharp 90-degree turns of Burning Depths with bumpy waters and electric gates that usually activate right as you are driving through them. Good luck trying to finish first here; you'll need it.
    • As well, the Classic Cup tracks, especially Sunshine Tour and Roulette Road, are notoriously difficult to get 1st place finishes in, because of the complete absence of jumps and boost opportunities that literally every other track in the game has.
    • Chilly Castle. Snow piles that slow you to a crawl, crows all over the place, snowmen that take up most of the track, hairpin turns that would make Monaco proud, and overall the track is both too long to afford a bad misstep and too short to allow for correction at the same time.

    Disney Pixar Cars 
  • The original Cars video game had Tractor Tipping (particularly levels 5, 6, and 7; the other levels aren't too terribly difficult) These three levels will give you agony. Level 5 has only 6 tractors, but Frank (the main obstacle; if you run into him, you're screwed) is constantly driving around in circles, and most of the tractors are right in his way. But have fun trying to get the tractor on the ledge. It's really hard (thanks to the spotlights; stay in them for too long, and you're also screwed).
    • Level 6 has 13 tractors in total, with only 4 minutes and 5 seconds to get them all. It's really hard to find the proper path to getting them in the fastest time, really.
    • Level 7. It's a race against the time, of course. But that's not the only thing you're racing against. You're also racing against Frank, too. This is a one-way path (meaning Frank is chasing you the entire time), and some tractors are out of the way. The spotlights only make it worse. Doggone it.
  • The Tractor Tipping mini-game returned in Cars Mater-National, with only 6 levels this time. But the spotlight goes on Level 5. Similar to Level 7 of the first game, Frank is chasing you the entire way. But there's a TON of gravel, and if you happen to simply drive over it, "Frank will hear all that crunching", and his meter will rise (if the meter is full - you guessed it - you're screwed). The only way to drive on gravel without making the meter rise is to sneak on it (drive on it very slowly), but that's not and option, or Frank will catch you. But trying to get the last tractor is like playing Tractor Tipping in hell - it's on a ledge blocked by some bushes; in order to reach it, you have to get Frank to plow the bushes, but to do THAT, you have to go straight south into a small area so you can just barely dodge him. And then you have to romp up the ledge to the tractor - RIGHT NEAR F#!$%NG FRANK! Oh yeah, and if you're near Frank, the meter will rise until you lose. Way to go, THQ.
  • Cars Race-o-Rama had a type of race called Guido Kart, where you play as eight of the small cars (Guido, Luigi, one of Lightning's pit crew, one of Chick's pit crew, a blue pit crew, a white pit crew, Mike, and this yellow car with weird hair on her head). A few of them are really hard, but none of them comes as close as Level 6 does. In Level 6, you have to race around near the entrance to the Rustbucket Arena in Ornament Valley, but the path is so thin and the controls are so sloppy that you'll more than likely end up crashing more than once. There's actually a shortcut after the starting line where you can skip the first U-turn up ahead, but in order to that, you have to pass through the metal rails, which have such small space to get through that there's almost no margin for error to actually take the shortcut. Worse... the items...

    Other Video Games 
  • Monaco is the That One Level of every Formula One game (and in real life, see below). A thin race track where it needs almost inhuman braking and driving skills to not hit a wall, and with at least 20 something cars on the track, this makes for an incredibly difficult track to win, especially for getting first place.
  • The SNES game Top Gear has Bordeaux. Nothing but winding S-curves lined with grapevines that will take your speed from 200 MPH to a dead stop in .1 seconds, and it's 6 laps long as well, so even the fuel-efficient white car can expect to use the pits at least once.
    • Rio is the site of the game's first major Difficulty Spike. It's one of the longer tracks in the game distance-wise, there are very tight corners all over the place, and you have to drive 6 laps around.
    • The final race at Stonehenge can be this if you're using the gas-guzzling red car. Even if you race perfectly, you will still have just barely enough fuel to get to the finish line, and there are no pitstops anywhere.
  • If you haven't mastered powersliding in Daytona USA, its Expert course is gonna give you hell. It seems even harder when you take into account the strict time limits that the game imposes.
    • It can be done, though. You just need to practice, practice, practice.
    • 2001 has Rin Rin Rink. This course has a long, sharp turn at the bottom of the track that is just really hard to slide around properly. Your car never seems to achieve enough drift to stay on the tarmac here and going to the grass is costly. The only way to really take this turn properly is to simply slow down and grip through it. You might lose some standing but it's better than trying to drift through it and ending up on the losing end.
  • In Project Gotham Racing 4, you get to race on multiple Nürburgring tracks. And unless you're in a custom race where you can control the weather, it's always snowing! Add in that you can't always rely on watching the walls to know when a turn's coming (there can be loads of space between the track and the railing sometimes) and you can see why Nürby is PGR4's That One SET Of Tracks.
  • The factory driver challenges in Need for Speed Porsche Unleashed. Particularly the ones involving several 360 degree turns in a row. God.
  • Need for Speed: Most Wanted:
    • The police chases later on in the heat levels 4 and 5 to be exact get more frustrating then anything else. While not a level they get much harder because you have to deal with spike stripes that if you run over them, it's pretty much means that you get busted. The SUV's don't make matter's worse, but what does is the helicopter. If you happen to get away from the police unless you are in a building or in a tunnel the helicopter will be on your ass until it has to leave because it has to refuel.
    • The endgame. Level 6! And you have to last for five minutes just so a path can open to beat the GAME! Then again, you can really, really kill time if you just run around the Rockport freeway, because it goes in a giant loop, its easy to obtain really high speeds, and there are twists, turns, and jumps to help take out or get some distance between the cops. As long as you use speedbreaker on the road blocks, and aim for the rear end of the cars (they are front heavy), you're fine. Then again, if the chopper gets pissed off enough that it swoops down to nail you, you're dead. And getting busted when you can see a clear path out of the police block or can otherwise force your way out through the power of your car, particularly after completing a Pursuit Milestone that can take a long time to get.
    • The 2012 game, set in an open world with random traffic, has the nerve to include "Speed Runs" which, contrary to everything else in the game, require precision driving. You have to maintain a certain average speed over the length of the course, meaning any crashes will ruin your run. The Speed Run courses "Downgraded" (two tight, twisty, blind roads with lots of traffic - and you have to average 120 MPH to beat it) and "Downtown Run" (which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - you're asked to average 150 MPH through downtown rush hour) are particularly chock-full of Classic Video Game Fun Units.
  • Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit 2010 has "Rapid Response" Cop events. Tasked with responding to an emergency call, you have to race from point A to B in a set amount of time. However, thanks to the twisty roads and the random traffic, this becomes more difficult than it sounds. Furthermore, touching any walls or traffic vehicles will incur a time penalty, making those Distinction ratings a bitch to get. To top it off, if the game decides to give you A Taste of Power by letting you loose in, say, a Veyron (in the rain, too!), this will be what you'll do with it. Good luck, rookie!
  • Need for Speed: Carbon for Game Boy Advance has a bad case of this in The Gauntlet. The track Southside appears not only once or twice, but THREE TIMES in this final set of 6 races. As if being 50% of the final area is not bad enough, the track is full of curves, easily missable and nearly useless shortcut, and has two circuit races of 4 and 5 laps!
  • Forza Motorsport 2:
    • the full "King Cobra" variation of the already-annoying Test Track, which includes enough impossibly tight hairpins and 90-degree bends to make a player pine for a NASCAR oval track. One race late in the game's career mode is an invitational with a 700 horsepower limit, and getting cars that powerful around the King Cobra track is a colossal headache for even the most experienced racing sim fans, especially since the shortage of straightaways and the emphasis on extremely tight turns means you're spending a lot of time pushing a car capable of 200+ MPH around the track at roughly 60. Making things worse, this track suffered from a leaderboard glitch (drivers were posting lap times of .008 seconds) that required a complete wipe of the track's online top lap times. Including the hard-won legitimate ones.
    • The Legends World Trophy series is by far the most infuriating event in Forza Motorsport 2. It pits two 1967-era Le Mans racers, the Ferrari 330 P4 and Ford GT40, against each other, with half the grid in Ferraris and half in Fords. These cars run on narrow cross-ply tires that don't provide nearly enough grip to cope with the cars' 500-horsepower engines. Even with stability control and traction control enabled, the GT40 and 330 P4 fishtail wildly when you gun the accelerator even in a straight line. Of course, the immediate thought on most players' minds is to give the car some racing slicks, which would turn it into a pussycat, but in this race, unlike all the other Professional Series races, you are not allowed to modify the cars in any way. It's like one huge "fuck you" to everyone who plays with a controller instead of a wheel. Each race is excruciatingly long as well, lasting up to 20 minutes, and there are six of them. You cannot go to another race without forfeiting the championship so you have to play them all in a row. The R1 championship (the ultimate event in the game, with modern, 800-horsepower Le Mans cars, an absolutely enormous purse, and steep Level Grinding requirements for entry) is a breeze in comparison.
    • Think Forza Motorsport 2's "New York Circuit" is a nightmare, with its long straightaways and extremely sharp turns? You haven't seen the worst of it. In Forza Motorsport 3, they add tire walls to the circuit, in a zig-zagging pattern, which can catch many racers coming from Forza Motorsport 2 off guard. Hell, it catches the computer racers off guard. Set the difficulty to easy, and watch at least one car run head on into a tire barrier without fail, which is funny... unless they get in your way and make you wreck. You'll be glad for the game's rewind button.
  • Initial D Arcade Stage has Irohazaka, a narrow road (thanks to being a one-way street in real life) with at least 27 hairpin turns. It gets worse in Initial D Arcade Stage 4, where getting the best time or winning a round is a matter of grinding against the inner rails to get around the corners very fast. And if you start grinding a rail too early? You get reversed! IDAS4 also has Myougi, where a mechanic involving hanging up your steering if you exceed a hidden, arbitrary speed limit on a corner means that you can't go very fast through this course. And the embarassing part about this course? It's a beginner-level course.
  • Wangan Midnight is a highway racing game...until you get to the Hakone course, which is a mountain pass. Thanks to Maximum Tune's super-drifty physics, you will be hitting guardrails a lot the first few times on this course. Ironically, the two Story Mode stages set on Hakone are the easiest in the entire game, due to the AI being extremely weak on this course.
    • The second game had a notoriously difficult Story Mode, complete with nerve-wracking barricades, variable traction levels, and some truly insane opponents. But by far the most ridiculous stage was 59, where you're against the Devil Z and Blackbird (your two toughest opponents) on a short, tight course with lots of turns, and where the finish line is at the end of the most challenging stretch of road in the entire game. Put it this way: if you can beat this on your fourth attempt, you're doing pretty good.
    • And Hakone. If you think it's a beast in the third game (the one with the extremely weak AI here), be glad that you didn't have to play it in the second, which was tighter, had higher speeds (and higher penalties for hitting the wall), had tougher opponents, and got DARK at night. Anyone who's faced the Kamiyas there knows what a delight that was.
  • Snowboard Kids had a number of hard scenarios and bosses, but one takes the cake as ridiculous. In the second game, you have to bomb a giant Snowman that fires back down a course in the dark. Fun. Later, you have to race a giant dinosaur. Slightly less fun, but not too bad. Then you have to fight a giant robot even harder than the snowman down a fogged course. Actually, that was pretty fun. The horrible part is when you have to race through a down hill course firing newspapers at tiny mailboxes with the bare minimum number of shots WITH A TIME LIMIT. That's not even mentioning that one of the mailboxes is actually hidden on a shortcut behind a normal looking patch of trees.
  • Burnout 3:
    • The final race series with Indy cars. Long races with infuriating rubber band AI (that can pounce on you after one mistake), and the Indy cars handled as well as boats through molasses. Correction: your Indy cars handled that well.
    • The Preview Lap on Tropical Drive. Four minutes long, again with an Indy car, where one crash is enough to ruin the player's chances of a Gold time.
  • The President's Run in Driver. Your felony meter starts at max, so every cop in town is after you and drives at maximum speed, the roads are slick with rain and snow, and you're driving a slow and sluggishly handling limousine, so the cops are much faster than you. Which leads to you being helplessly smashed to scrap metal after being PITted. The PSX version also has FBI cars beside the police, and a taxi blockade at the start in all directions. Also the enemy cars are much faster than on all the other levels. Which means they can easily catch up to you with a lot of speed difference and turn you around even when you'r at full speed in the straights. Also they carry so much momentum, that it breaks the game engine and they push you enough as they ram you to clip through walls. At least your car can take more punishment than usual.
    • That assumes you got past the Forced Tutorial. Many players never actually got to play the game because of it.
    • The Chase in Driv3r. A motorcycle is already hard to control in the first place, in this game it's made doubly hard by the clunky, buggy play controls.
    • Chase the Gunman in Driver 2. The mission starts with you on foot and the gunman quickly driving away. By the time you get in car, chances are the gunman will be far away. Combined with a short time limit and difficult turns on a narrow road filled with traffic and obstacles, makes this one of the most difficult missions in the game.
  • Star Wars Episode I: Racer featured a track on the Invitational circuit called Abyss that got on quite a few nerves. The track did so because it featured three major shortcuts, one of which allows you to skip AN ENTIRE TENTH OF THE TRACK, all of which are either difficult to notice or difficult to use, and all of which are used frequently by the CPU racers (particularly the skip-a-tenth-of-the-track shortcut, which appears right at the beginning and is impossible to miss provided you can stay on a twisty narrow track without railings for a good fifteen seconds while not letting other racers get ahead of you. If you slide off the track, you go to the track below it, which puts you through the full track while 8 of the other 11 racers take the shortcut). You didn't have to beat it to race the Boonta Classic, fortunately, but you DID have to beat it to access Bozzie Baranta (but Bozzie's a pretty unimpressive racer, and you're probably exclusively running Anakin or Bullseye Navoir anyway).
    • One horrible track that you DO have to beat, however, is Grabvine Gateway. Seriously, this thing has so many hairpin turns you'd think it was designed by having a child scribble on a piece of paper; not to mention all the obstacles and visual distractions in the back end of the track.
    • Howler Gorge has steep drops that you could fall down if your pod isn't going fast enough, Frictionless Ice that makes turning difficult, narrow crevices that you have to very carefully go through or you crash, and pieces of ice that sometimes you can fly through, but most times you can't. Expect to spend lots of time restarting and practicing in the time trial mode.
    • Ando Prime Centrum is like this game's equivalent of Mario Kart 64's Yoshi Valley. So many different routes!
    • The Boonta Eve Classic itself can be a climb due to a bouncy, twisty course that offers almost no opportunities to boost. You'll have to rely on pure driving skill in order to stay out in front. Sebulba in particular is a champ here (unsurprisingly) and with the limited boosting opportunities, you'll have to contend with keeping pace out front or slip behind and turn the entire race into a wash.
  • Jak X: Combat Racing is a cart racing game, requiring boosts and weapons to slow your opponents and protect yourself from backstabs. In a particular mission, you are sabotaged and deprived of the ability to use weapons, making you vulnerable and impotent, which means you have to rely on speed and skill alone. The problem with this? If you stay in first for too long (which you'll want to do, to win and stay out of range of basic weapons) you WILL be blown up by a peacemaker, which flawlessly targets and destroys the person in first place.
    • Any of the marathon races, considering that the level of Rubberband AI and The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard in this game matches that of Mario Kart. Basically, they're Point A to Point B races that usually span the entirety of all the other tracks you spent the entire cup doing laps around. It usually takes about 10 minutes to speed through, so it's already long and tedious to begin with, but the aforementioned cheapness of the AI will usually fuck you up right when you're about to cross the finish line. Getting a Gold is no small feat with these marathons, considering that unlike regular races, if you don't do it, you have to sit through another whole ten minutes for each attempt.
  • "24 Hours of Le Mans" in Race Driver: GRID. While actually only being 17 minutes of actual race time in the game (time is greatly accelerated), you're still racing against ruthless AI, who who cheat once night falls (and you can't really see the track anymore) and will happily ram you off the track, no matter how you drive.
  • Fatal Racing. The tracks that will break just about everyone are 2-1 "The Reaper", Bonus 3, and Bonus 4. What's amazing is that one of these has no turns whatsoever, which actually makes it a hell of a lot more difficult, since you can lose all three cars without even starting the engine on the latter two.
  • Mickey's Speedway USA has most of the levels in the last circuit, Frantic Finale- Hawaii has narrow drives over water and falling coconuts that act as blocks, Oregon has a bridge near the course end which requires absolutely perfect powerslides, or you fall into the water and lose several places, and Colorado has ungodly sharp turns and many easy-to-fall-off ledges with ungodly sharp turns. You're gonna need that Unlimited Retries cheat before attempting the last two.
  • Laserdisc game Road Blaster's 9th (and final) stage (which is pretty much either Turn Left to not die, Press this pedal to not die, or both). let's summarize: it starts off with a turn that, if you don't know it's coming, you'll lose a life. the turn commands are strung so close together that the checkpoints in the level actually occur in the middle of a turn command (thankfully, you won't be responsible for the turn in progress). If that was the extent of the problem, it'd be bearable, but NOOOOO, it has to have TWO frame-perfect S-turns in the last stretch of the level. It's one thing to lose a life for getting the command wrong. it's another altogether to lose a life for holding the previous turn just longer than it had to be. oh, and did we mention if you try and cut a turn short, you die?
  • Split Second's Ryback Thunder Challenge can be the bane of many a player's existence. The Ryback Thunder is already a difficult vehicle to control, being a slow, heavy truck which requires you to plan out your turns far in advance (in other words, don't expect to beat this on the first ten tries). Add to that the fact that it's a Detonator challenge, which is a time trial wherein every major disaster on the track is going to occur as you drive by. The gold medal requirement for the challenge is 1:54.00. To say that this is an unfair time limit is akin to putting a gun against your head and lamenting that you won't have enough time to dodge the bullet. Simply knowing which turns to take wide and which turns to cut through and how best to dodge every trap is not enough. Expect to see a lot of times like 1:53.56 taunting you on your many attempts. Once you've perfected the track, it will still come down to luck. It's worth noting that if you haven't patched the game, there is a glitch that can be exploited to get a boost of speed at the beginning that can help out immensely.
  • Wipeout Pulse has Fort Gale White, with insane turns through narrow tunnels that require you to slam down on the airbrakes to avoid crashing into a wall. There's about four of these turns in a row. There are also some other narrow tunnels and a nasty S-curve. Good luck navigating it on Phantom!
    • If you're playing Detonator in HD, Corridon 12 becomes this due to it being split into two halves, and you can only ride on one half per lap. It is entirely possible to go the entire race without seeing any bombs, let alone destroying them!
    • Pure, Pulse's predecessor had Citta Nuova, which was the most technical track in the game, with multiple tight curves and even a 180 degree hairpin. At the higher speed classes, even the autopilot had some difficulties staying off the scenery.
    • HellfireWZ did a good job covering That One Level of this series. But special mention goes to how he tears into Temtesh Bay 2 from Fusion, a course regarded to be so dreadfully hard it was the cause for an in-series disaster which might have led to the fall of AG racing after the events of the game. Repeat: a track so hard it influenced the series's own storyline:
    "Oh my god, this course is horrible! Temtesh Bay Course 2 is an absolute travesty of a circuit. It's difficult for all the wrong reasons. It's littered with sharp blind corners, you have two parallel track sections you can easily jump between, you've got open sections that can send you plowing into a random rock pillar, and those bulkheads...those bloody bulkheads! They don't open until you're practically on top of them; basically, you're completely blind to the track up ahead. And there are loads of them all through the circuit. It's not so bad once you get outside, but there's nothing more difficult than that first section in the entire game."
  • Chocobo Racing. One word: Fantasia. Not mastering how to deal with sharp turns results either in a lot of retries or the track being flat-out unwinnable.
  • Crash Team Racing:
    • The Pinstripe boss race. For those who haven't played it, but have played Mario Kart, imagine Rainbow Road. Now imagine that you are facing one racer who, no matter what, won't fall off and will be faster than you. Now imagine he is constantly throwing infinite green shells (bombs in this game) backwards at you. You have the Pinstripe race.
    • The Pinstripe race is cake compared to the final showdown with Nitros Oxide, however. This is for four reasons: first, he flat-out cheats by giving himself a head-start at the beginning of the race; second, he has the infinite powerups of all four of the previous bosses combined: Ripper's TNT crates, Papu's potions, Komodo Joe's nitro crates and Pinstripe's bombs; third, he's completely immune to being launched, the best you can do is briefly stun him; and fourth, you race him on Oxide Station, a technical course almost entirely comprised of narrow corridors which make dodging his infinite powerups and overtaking him that much harder, on top of maintaining a lead since, like every other boss, Oxide is considerably faster than you. And to add insult to injury, after you've finally beaten him, he declares the win didn't count and makes you collect all the Time Relics - which effectively means you must get 100% Completion, since you need Relics on two courses that must be unlocked by winning all the Gem Cups, which in turn must be unlocked by collecting all the CTR tokens in the normal races. And after all of that, what happens? You have to beat Oxide againnote , and only then does he finally acknowledge his loss.
    • When it comes to the tracks themselves, a good candidate for the hardest track in the game is Tiny Arena. It's the longest track in the game - the maximum time required to beat its Relic challenge is three minutes and forty-five seconds, which you can still only achieve by driving into clock-stopping Time Crates - it's packed full of sharp corners, the track itself is bumpy and littered with mounds, and there are numerous areas caked with mud that slows your kart to a snail's pace - which includes massive mud pits which must be jumped over. If you picked one of the Advanced racers like Tiny Tiger or Dingodile - who have high top speeds but awful handling and acceleration - you'll find the abundance of sharp corners to be a problem, and though you'll have no trouble catching up on the straightaways thanks to all the jumps you can boost off, you may go too fast and slam into a sudden turn; on the other hand, if you picked a Beginner racer like Pura or Polar - who are slow but have great handling - your top speed won't be enough to clear the jumps over the mud pits. To make matters worse, Tiny Arena shows up in the third hub world during Adventure mode, providing a rather nasty Difficulty Spike; by contrast, all the other 'hard' tracks like Oxide Station, Cortex Castle and Hot Air Skyway (the track where the aforementioned Pinstripe race takes place) are all found in the fourth and final world.
    • Potentially every track in the game can be That One Level if you're attempting to beat a CTR challenge to win a CTR Token. To beat the CTR challenge, you must find and collect the letters C, T, and R scattered throughout the track, and win the race in first. There's usually one letter in an off-the-beaten-path area that you'd never drive to normally, forcing you to slow down and go out of your way to get them, a Violation of Common Sense in a racing game - and all the AI Opponents are just trying to win the race like normal, so they will overtake you as you do this. Special mention goes to Crash Cove, probably the first track you'll race in Adventure mode, where one of the letters is on a pier which can only be accessed by executing a tricky bouncing jump midway through the race, and then driving a 90-degree angle across the pier while the other racers literally steal your place from under you. You must do this for every track in the game, and as mentioned before, collecting all the CTR Tokens is mandatory to challenge Oxide a second time and beat the game proper.
  • Driver: San Francisco has one mission somewhere in the 4th chapter where you have to drive from point A to point B. In this game, you play a police who somehow has the ability to hijack the bodies car drivers, and every now and then you may find yourself body-hopping from one car to another to go through the game. Okay, back to that Chapter 4, you have to safely drive your main car to a certain spot. There are two major problems: The distance is insane, and worst of all, your enemy for this mission has the same power as you, meaning that in a given traffic, he can hijack any car and ram it to your car to wreck it. Oh, and the nearer you are to the destination, the higher the chance that your enemy will hijack multiple cars at once. And no, this is not a side quest; you have to finish it to go through the game. And this type of mission will be repeated. Several times.
  • San Francisco Rush 2049 has Track 5, which is right-angle central in a game where all other tracks have relatively gentle curves. It's the one course where, if you are using manual transmission, you will be reaching for second gear a lot. It's not particularly unfair, but it requires more technique than the other courses.
  • R4: Ridge Racer Type 4's GP Mode has the first course of the Final GP, Phantomile. It is only 1.8 kilometers, making it the shortest course in the entire game. Yet it is still only three laps, and you need to get to first place. (To contrast, the final course, Shooting Hoops, is slightly longer but uses six laps.) Thus, a few mistakes can kill your chances of qualifying, even moreso if you've been playing poorly and therefore getting all the bad upgrade cars, in which case you better not make ANY mistakes.
  • The Particle Accelerator level in the first MegaRace game.
  • Park My Big Rig 2. Level 6 has you drive a cement truck underneath a bridge to a parking space. Because the truck is articulated, the cab can be all over the place and it's easy to lose track of it going under the bridge and hit something. Thought you could somehow maneuver the truck so that you pass through in a straight line? Nope, because a school bus will appear from time to time. The level basically comes down to driving under the bridge and hoping for the best.
  • The Sega Master System port of Hang-On has the Circuit leg of the 8th course. This section is the longest in the game, and since it is the first section of the course, you only have 60 seconds to run it. Even worse, the only way you will make it to the checkpoint before the clock runs out is to go at or near full-speed all the way through. The icing on the cake? The section is made almost entirely of hard turns.
  • FAST Racing Neo and its Updated Re-release FAST RMX have the Iceland course. It's F-Zero's Cylinder tracks, but with a bunch of crawler mechs and barriers on the track out to kill you when you can just barely see them. Have fun beating it on Hero mode, where a single crash instantly fails the course!
  • NASCAR Arcade by Sega is already hard enough, being a simulation game where the time limit can only be extended by gaining positions (crossing the start/checkpoint/finish line won't do it), on the two oval courses. Then there's Watkins Glen, a technical course where that rule still applies. If you crash even once — and you will the first time you play the course — you will fall into last place, at which point you may as well be ordered by arcade staff to get off the machine because you simply will not make the next time extension.
  • Asphalt 8: Airborne: Munich Subway, a track added late into the game's life, features a section of rail tracks with trains passing and parked everywhere. And whatever layout you race, there is no escaping from the trains. Have fun avoiding the trains, because a wreck here is costly... especially in Flawless races, where wrecks are instant disqualification.
  • Redout gives us Abruzzo: Unmanned. It's a track full of loops and twists packed so close together that the only way to know what's coming up next is to memorize the track back-to-front, while traveling faster than the sound barrier (which, depending on what Class you're racing, can be quite literal). This is indeed nothing out-of-the-ordinary for a game inspired by the likes of WipeOut and F-Zero, and there are other tracks like this in the game, such as Alaska: Revolving and Vertex: Breakpoint, both of which involve leaps of faith immediately after a disorienting loop, twist or vertical ascent (sometimes more than one). Unmanned takes it up a notch, however, by throwing in the mother of all curveballs at the end - a sudden rise followed by a jump to a piece of track at a higher elevation than the track you were just on, and is slightly off-centre - the first time you attempt this jump, you will crash, one way or another. It's even noted in the track's description as being infamously hard to land!
    • A related category are tracks with tricky jumps in general, such as Europa: Surface Sprint or Sequoia: Kinshijaa. The latter has a trio of platforms right at the end that also curve, the former starts out with an off-centre jump immediately followed by another off-centre jump. Tracks like these can easily catch out beginners in Career mode, as you've probably gotten used to the Cairo or Alaska tracks that have relatively simple jumps, or sometimes no jumps at all. Fortunately, it's often possible to just boost right over these middle platforms entirely - as long as you don't overshoot it.
    • The Moon tracks can also be pretty nasty for beginners due to the moon's low gravity turning jumps into short flight sections, but these aren't too hard to deal with once you've gotten used to controlling your ship in mid-air. The worst of these tracks, Moon: SpacePark, combines all the issues of Abruzzo: Unmanned with flying in low gravity for most of the race, and throws in floating space debris on top of that - the first career event there is an Instagib challenge, meaning a time trial with no respawn if you crash, so it's hard to survive a full lap of the track, let alone make a good time. On the plus side, it can be quite fun once you're accustomed to it, and it helps that your AI opponents in race events on this track are just as accident-prone as you probably are.
    • P-AR219: Durga is almost the opposite of Unmanned - it's a fairly straightforward track with long speed sections and wide turns, with the most difficult areas being some narrow slaloms. It's Durga's straightforward design that makes it tricky during race events, however - the AI can navigate these fast turns and slaloms with superb accuracy, leaving the player in the dust unless they managed to get an early lead - and even then, the margin for error is so slim, one slip-up will cost you your place for the rest of the race. In another example of the developers knowing full well what they were doing, the first race here in Career mode is called 'The Fool's Race', with the description 'good luck with this'.
    • In general, the 'boss' races can be this; they consist of racing two-to-three laps on all five tracks in a given location, all strung together by teleporters, which makes them Marathon Races by definition - laps on such races typically last for three minutes at least. This of course means that you must race consistently well if you don't want to be left so far behind that catching up becomes impossible - though on the other hand, if you're fast enough, you can gain such a vast lead that you can just breeze through laps two and three and the other racers won't get anywhere near you, unless of course you crash - and this is likely to happen on the Abruzzo boss race, given that it includes Unmanned.
    • Volcano: Hell - the final track of the original four locations - is actually a bit of a subversion; it's an example of That One Level in-universe, as the track description notes that the designers called it 'Hell' because they thought their bosses at the SRRL were just showing off and wouldn't actually race on it, and its first six races went by without a single pilot crossing the finish line, to the point that pilots started refusing to race on it for their own safety - mostly due to the massive leap at the end. In actual gameplay, however, it isn't that much harder than the other Volcano tracks, although the AI does seem to have trouble making the final leap without crashing.
  • Most top players of Virtua Racing agree that while the Expert course, Acropolis, is the hardest course in terms of technical skill required, the hardest course to win on (in a single-player game) is the Medium course, the Bay Bridge. Towards the end of the track, there are two particularly tricky turns in a row, one being a fairly hard right turn on a narrow highway off-ramp and the next being a similarly hard left. The player can find themselves having to drop to 5th or even 4th gear speeds if their approach is even the slightest bit off, yet the CPU opponents hit these corners as if they're using cheat tires. Because of this, the player has to take full advantage of slipstreaming and building up advantage on other corners if they want a sliver of a chance at winning, and even the best players on online leaderboards on the Switch version often only manage 2nd place. This gets worse if the Grand Prix setting (20 laps instead of the default 5) is involved, as GP mode introduces tire wear and while the other courses have pit stops where you can get your tires changed, no pit stop exists on the Bay Bridge course. Have fun with severe understeer and poor traction on turns while the opponents glide through the corners with lap 1 tires!

    Real Life Racing 
  • Truth in Television: Monaco is That One Level in Formula One. It's the only track where drivers who failed to finish have won because they made it farther than everyone else! Being composed entirely of narrow city streets don't help either.
    • Many Formula One drivers liken driving Monaco to "flying a helicopter in your living room." That's because it's a tight-turning city track, i.e. the exact kind of course that high-speed F1 cars are not designed for.
    • On two occasions a driver has gone off the course and landed in the harbour. In 1955 Antonio Ascari didn't make the harbour chicane. In 1965 Paul Hawkins did almost the exact same thing.
    • In 1967 Lorenzo Bandini wasn't so lucky. At the harbour chicane his left rear tire touched a guard rail and his car went out of control. Instead of landing in the harbour he hit a light pole, and his car overturned and caught on fire. He died three days later.
    • The 1984 Monaco GP didn't even make it through one turn before there was a 3-car accident. The start was delayed for 45 minutes because of the horribly wet weather. During the delay the tunnel (the only dry part of the track) was flooded as a safety precaution. The race was stopped after the 32nd lap because of how unsafe the conditions were.
    • The wet 1996 Monaco GP was notable in that only 4 out of the 21 cars that started were still running by the end of the race, and one of them was a lap down! The winner, Olivier Panis, started from 14th on the grid. By the end of the first lap, 5 drivers had either spun off or crashed, including Michael Schumacher who started from pole position. Andrea Montermini crashed in a hastily-arranged warmup session an hour before the race; he lacked a spare car and so couldn't even start.
    • A less extreme example was the 1997 race, held in similar conditions. Of the 12 retirements, none of them were due to mechanical failure - they had all crashed.
  • The United States has its own answer to Monaco in the form of the Long Beach Grand Prix Street Circuit. It is as every bit as narrow as Monaco is and thus overtaking is a formidable challenge for many drivers, especially for those who aren't used to driving in such a tightly confined circuit. Fortunately, Long Beach is more forgiving of drivers in that the turns aren't as twisty as its Monegasque counterpart and there are more straights to help with the overtaking. Even so, there are a few turns in the course that still pose major problems to most drivers:
    • Turns 2 and 3 comprise of an undulating semi-hairpin that can catch most drivers off-guard as the corner is blind and will result in crashes if taken at high speed and the driver is too late to hit the brakes.
    • Turn 6 is a hard left corner coming after the semi-straight that should not be taken flat-out at high speed and some over-confident drivers tend to crash into this corner by thinking they'll take it at their comfort level only to find out the hard way.
    • Turn 11, the last of the turns of the circuit, is also the most dangerous part of the course as it is a very tight hairpin with blind corners. Accidents at this turn are of a high occurrence due to most drivers underestimating the sharpness of the corner after driving at a fairly high speed on the mildly sharp Turn 10, giving most drivers a false sense of security. Then Turn 11 shows up suddenly at the end and drivers tend to get caught unawares seeing it, braking a little too late for their comfort. Carnage usually results.
  • Formula One's later street circuits have also been considered among the hardest in the championship's history, with tracks like the now retired Valencia Street Circuit, Singapore's Marina Bay circuit and Azerbaijan's Baku City Circuit worthy of mention. Valencia packed a whopping 25 corners in barely 5 kilometers and a half of track, and has been heavily criticized by the drivers for its lack of overtaking spots despite it not being as narrow as Monaco. Marina Bay is a very bumpy, highly technical track that puts extreme strain on both the driver and the car, arguably even more so than Monaco; turn 10 in particular had very high curbs that even caused suspension damage in some cases, and the extreme South Asian heat despite the race being held at night makes things even more grueling. Finally, Baku features a mix of long straights - one of which is the longest in the calendar at 2.2 km/1.4 miles, punctuated with tight 90 degree corners. But that's not the worst part: halfway through the track, the drivers have to tackle a chicane that leads them through the Old Town; it already sounds rather bad on paper, but the real kicker is that the track narrows drastically to 7.6 mnote , making this corner one of the hardest in the entire Formula One calendar and a common crashing spot.
  • Pescara Circuit is a track that was only used once in Formula One but has nevertheless entered the collective mind of the fans for its ungodly level of difficulty. It is the longest F1 track ever, clocking in at 25.8 kilometers, and traveled up and down the hills of the namesake Italian harbor town with a mixture of extremely narrow country roads and full-throttle blasts all the way to the harborline that were nicknamed "The Flying Kilometer". It was a track so dangerous and so difficult that Enzo Ferrari, a man who was known for his reckless "do or die" attitude, refused to send his drivers to race there for their safety.
  • As universally beloved as it is, Japan's Suzuka Circuit is well-known for its array of challenging corners, oftentimes in a row. The famous S-corner section at the start of the track puts heavy strain on the tires and is tough to navigate cleanly, but after that the pilots have to slingshot through the Dunlop corner - which has most infamously killed French F1 driver Jules Bianchi after 10 months of coma, and then slam the brakes as they approach the blind Denger Curve. After a small stretch of straight uphill road under an overpass, the track dramatically slows down again with a hairpin. The Spoon curve, a long left hander comes after, before leading into a long straight that follows into hands down the most infamous corner on the track: the 130R, an extremely fast left kink just after the overpass that has been the theater of many crashes - including fatal ones, such as the one that claimed the life of motorcyclist Daijiro Kato in 2003. But right after that, the pilots need to slow down again for the Casio Triangle, a right-left chicane immediately followed by a long right-hander that leads to the finish line.
  • The San Jose Grand Prix, a Champ Car World Series course consisting of streets in downtown San Jose, Calfornia, wasn't too popular either. San Jose is notorious for its bumpy, cracked, pothole-filled streets, and to add on to the problem, two sections of the course required cars to drive over light rail tracks at high speed; for reference, the top speed of a car in the CCWS is typically around 220-230 mph. On top of that, the course was very tight and narrow, and half the starting grid dropped out in mid-race in 2005, the first year of the SJGP.
  • The Toronto circuit has what can only be described as a Scrappy Turn: after hitting a car's top speed for several seconds on one of the longest street course straightaways in the world, cars have to navigate a double-hairpin. Carnage inevitably results as two cars enter the turn and, without fail, wind up taking each other out.
  • The two Scrappy Levels in NASCAR are Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. Don't let the long oval layouts fool you into thinking it's easy. Nine times out of ten, races at the two aforementioned tracks WILL have a big wreck taking out at least 10-15 cars, usually more...
    • Two factors here. One, remember that an "easy" course is easy for everybody, meaning that even a slight slipup can be incredibly costly and there is NO margin of error for making passes. Two, Daytona and Talladega are the two courses where the cars are required to have restrictor plates to limit their speed. Trouble is, this limits acceleration as well, making it easy for a driver to get caught in a wreck he'd otherwise be able to speed away from... and it just snowballs from there.
    • If there's a particular 'one level' of NASCAR, it was most definitely Darlington Raceway. The track is laid out and shaped very differently at either end, thanks to obstacles that couldn't be relocated when the track was built, making car setup nearly impossible. The track surface was extremely abrasive and rough on tires, in addition to being very bumpy, which negatively affected car handling. When Darlington was built, its 1.4 mile length made it the longest NASCAR oval on the season calendar, which meant that in addition to the problems already posed by its layout and construction, it allowed the cars to reach previously unheard of speeds, making it even more dangerous. The track is called 'The Lady in Black' because its white walls are typically quite blackened by the end of the race, thanks to the racer's tires hitting the wall. Slapping one's car into the wall at Darlington was long considered a 'rite of passage' for rookie NASCAR drivers.
    • Bristol and Martinsville are the two shortest tracks in the NASCAR season. Trying to fit 43 cars on a track just over half a mile long predictably gets crowded, so contact is inevitable. As a result, they'll almost always have the most yellow flags of any race in the season. To paraphrase Jeff Gordon, at Talladega you're worried about one crash that takes out 17 cars. At Martinsville, you're worried about 17 crashes that take out one or two each.
  • For much the same reason that other ovals can be surprisingly difficult, Indycar drivers can get cold feet at the Indianapolis 500. Unlike a lot of ovals, Indianapolis Motor Speedway is laid out a bit like a rectangle with very rounded and barely banked corners. The turns are comparatively sharp for an oval taken flat out in the highest-downforce cars that attack it, and you need every ounce of downforce you can get just to make the turns at full throttle. Many drivers have likened the Brickyard's Turn One to everything between threading a needle to turning from the freeway into one's own driveway at highway speed, others regard it as a blind corner due to the oval's layout and the pit exit, and in order to win the legendary motor race you have to nail this turn at full speed 200 times in a row. No pressure.
    • The 2005 US Grand Prix was an F1 race held in Indianapolis (IMS has a 2.606mi road course that uses part of the original oval) that saw all but six of the F1 cars retire after the parade lap and before the race even started because their tyres couldn't safely handle taking Turn One (it's turn 13 on the road course) at full throttle for more than about ten laps. That would have meant roughly 7 pit stops for tyre changes just to finish the race. They didn't bother starting because F1 rules that year forbade mid-race tyre changes.
  • And then there's Laguna Seca Raceway, the bane of any racer who can't turn on a dime. Andretti Hairpin right out of the starting block, sharp 90+ degree turns all over the place, sand all around, and the corkscrew. Dear God, the corkscrew! You practically need to stop dead on your approach, as trying to go through it at anything faster than 10 mph will send you into a wall. This is because the preceding straightaway goes uphill to the highest point on-track; the Corkscrew is a left-right chicane immediately after the crest of the hill, ready to catch you unawares.
    • The corkscrew drops both of your left tires out from under you and your right front brake doesn't work anymore because your right front tire is in the air. You don't really drive through the corkscrew. You slam on the brakes and pray you don't crash.
    • If you ever go to Laguna Seca and drive around the track, be prepared to pit just to let the car cool down. The track is a well-known over-heater/destroyer of brakes, and the track's location in the California desert means plenty of engine overheating if you're not careful.
  • Nürburgring Nordschleife, the world's most dangerous racetrack; there's a good reason why it's not used for F1 racing anymore (that's done on the adjoining Nürburgring GP, which is considerably smaller). It's also a Marathon Level, so driver fatigue can play a role in why this course is a problem (particularly the massive straight, which can be taxing on both driver and engine).
  • Circuit de la Sarthe, the famous race course for the 24 Hours of Le Mans; while it's roughly about half of the Nürburgring Nordschleife's length, the circuit is still dauntingly long enough for drivers to take on. Case in point, the infamous Mulsanne Straight (Le Ligne Droite des Hunaudières in French), which held the record for the world's longest straightway out of any race course at a whopping 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) of length; the straight was incredibly taxing to both the car's engine and the driver, and to further compound problems, drivers have to slow from 240+ MPH to about 40 MPH at the end of the straight that leads to a hard right corner which leads to another long and high speed straightway, thus putting significant strain on the brakes and suspension as well. The Mulsanne was configured in the early 90s to have two chicanes during the middle part of the straight to reduce such speeds, and has remained in that configuration ever since (another major reason for this was that the FIA decreed that it would no longer sanction a race course that had straightways longer than 2 km). However, it also once again taxes the brakes and suspension after reaching such high speeds.
    • There is also a smaller section named Bugatti Circuit, which shares the pit stands and starting line with the main circuit. It hosts the French MotoGP races.
    • Since Mulsanne Straight is actually a highway (albeit with two roundabouts instead of two chicanes) for public consumption, it is partially justified. However, you can do a Self-Imposed Challenge by driving on this highway at high speeds (doing so outside Le Mans races will get you into Hot Pursuit).
  • Its sailing, not auto racing, but the longest leg of the next Volvo Ocean Race (an around-world yacht race) deserves mention. 9,707 nautical miles from Recife, Brazil to Abu Dhabi, UAE. That's about 20 straight days averaging 20 knots in a monohull yacht. The 24-hour distance record for a monohull yacht is 596.6nm (24.85 knots).
  • The Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari (AKA Imola Circuit) prior to 1995 had two particular turns that stood out as precarious to Formula One drivers. First, the Villaneuve corner, despite being a seemingly innocuous 6th gear right-hand turn, had a wall protecting the corner which resulted in a few crashes. But the most notorious of the two was the Tamburello corner, a left hand turn that was flat-out, was very bumpy, and had dangerously little room between the track and a concrete wall which protects a creek that runs behind it. This particular corner was the scene of several crashes, most notably the one that tragically ended Ayrton Senna's life during the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Since his death, many safety improvements were made to not only the circuit but Formula One in general to ensure Formula One standards. Unfortunately, Imola had been taken out of the Formula One calendar in 2007 due to its deteriorating facilities and one can only hope when the circuit will return to Formula One again or be used as a host for lower-level racing events. 2020 has its scheduled return, as COVID-19 forced F1 to go after more European circuits to travel less.


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