Road racing can be a term involving road running, road bicycle races, or automobile races. As contemplated in this article, the term will be treated as it relates to motorsport, specifically car and motorcycle racing.
Road racing can be of two types. True road races are run over what are, in fact, actual public roads that have been temporarily closed off to the public for the purpose of conducting a race. Notable examples of this include the Monaco Grand Prix which is conducted on the city streets of the small principality, and the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy, probably the most famous motorcycle race of its type. Alternatively, road races can be conducted on purpose-built racetracks that, due to their irregular shapes and many turns and curves, resemble true road courses. Due to safety and insurance concerns, this style of racing has largely supplanted true road racing, particularly in Europe. In the USA, road racing is also conducted on oval tracks, such as in the NASCAR series.
Global road-racing series such as Formula One car racing and MotoGP motorcycle racing are almost always conducted on dedicated race tracks, with only a few exceptions. Several of these tracks are world-renowned, such as the circuits at Le Mans, Imola, and Silverstone. Recent expansion of these international series has resulted in dedicated tracks being built in Qatar, Shanghai and Sepang (Malaysia).
The most famous U.S. road courses include the tracks at Watkins Glen, New York and Sebring, Florida; others include the road course built at Daytona International Speedway and Infineon Raceway in California. Additionally, Grand Prix-style road course racing over public streets is making something of a comeback; the most famous race of this sort currently held is the one hosted annually in Long Beach, California. The San Jose Grand Prix features a road course passing directly through downtown, and hopes to follow in Long Beach's success.