There has been a long running debate among car club enthusiasts on finding the best driving roads in the world.
Rental car company Avis decided to turn to science to help solve the problem. They recruited experts from across quantum physics, F1 track design, high performance cars and a world renowned British designer of rollercoasters. Professor Mark Hadley, a quantum physicist of Warwick University, led the research to devise a formula measuring driving roads. According to Dr. Hadley there are four key phases of a drive: bends, acceleration, cruising and braking.
“In creating the Avis Driving Ratio (ADR) we have calculated the optimum balance between those components, to scientifically establish the world’s best driving roads.A great driving road strikes just the right balance between the phases so you get the exhilaration of speed and acceleration, while corners test your driving capabilities and long stretches allow you to enjoy the scenery.”
To develop the ADR Dr Hadley used the geometry of the road and driving style together with the average acceleration, lateral acceleration, braking times and distances of a range of cars such as the Porsche Carrera 911, Jaguar XKRS and Mercedes E350. The ADR was then tested with legendary F1 track designer, Hermann Tilke and world renowned roller coaster designer, John Wardley.
The research revealed that best driving roads match an ideal ratio of 10:1 (10 seconds on a straight to every 1 second spent on a bend).
The formula identified the N-222 from Peso de Régua to Pinhão in Portugal as the world’s best overall driving experience. The road cuts right through the heart of the Douro Valley with spectacular views. It takes drivers along the River Douro and the picturesque regional wine towns of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stretching for 27 km, the road includes heart-stopping 93 bends and jaw dropping scenery.
The second best road is the segment of Highway 1 between Castroville and Big Sur in California, which has an ADR of 8.5:1. It hugs the central California coastline and passes through the Carmel region, which is renowned for the scenic views.
For drivers wanting more of a challenge, the Nihon Romantic Highway in Japan with a ratio of 2:1 is full of hairpin bends, whilst in Europe, Italy’s Amalfi Coast will leave drivers holding their breath as they navigate sharp bends and take in the views when they can.
In the UK the A591 from Kendal to Keswick came top in Dr Mark Hadley’s calculation, with a ratio of 14:3. It factored in bends, acceleration, speed and braking, through some of the country’s most stunning scenery. The spectacular 30-mile stretch in the Lake District features driving through stunning views of Lakeland fells and the banks of Windermere and Thirlmere. Ranked second in Britain’s roads is the B3515, which runs from Cheddar to Ashwick, featuring 14 miles of glorious Somerset countryside, with cliff faces rising either side of the as it twists and turns through the gorge. In third place in the Uk is the A535 from Holmes Chapel to Alderley Edge in Cheshire, which passes the 90-metre Lovell Telescope at Jodrell Bank.
Overview best driving roads in the world
UK – A591 from Kendal to Keswick
UK – B3515 from Cheddar to Ashwick
UK – A535 from Holmes Chapel to Alderley Edge
France – D81 from Piana to Porto in Corsica
France – Route de Napoleon
Germany – S165 from Hohnstein to Bad Schandau
Germany – Titisee to Bad Krozingen via L126
Germany – Bad Urach to Burg Hohenzollern
Austria – Melk to Langenlois
Italy – Portofino (GE) to Portofino Vetta (GE)
Italy – The Amalfi Coast route
Switzerland – Flüela Pass from Davos to Susch
Portugal – Peso da Régua to Pinhão
Portugal – N267 São Marcos da Serra to Monchique
Portugal – N247/Avenida do Atlântico, Sintra to Praia das Maças
Spain – Zumaia to Zarauz via theN-634
Spain – Escalona to Rios Bellosvia the HU-631
Spain – San José (Almería) to Cabo de Gata via the ALP-822
Romania – The Transfăgărășan aka the DN7C
Norway – The Lysebotn Road
USA – Highway 1 from Castroville to Big Sur, California
USA – The Overseas Highway from Long Point Key to Florida Keys
USA – Tail of the Dragon, North Carolina
Pictures: courtesy Avis
Categories: Leadership in Automotive