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It’s difficult for most people not to start feeling warm and fuzzy any time the words “road trip” are mentioned. In an instant, memories of breathtaking scenery, forgotten faces and incredible soundtracks come flooding in.
No matter how old you are, chances are those two words will make you feel young again, even if it’s only for a few moments.
For the true petrol-head though your average road trip isn’t always going to cut it. They need something more, something special, a motoring pilgrimage if you will.
Whether it’s travelling Route 66, testing their mettle at the NÃ¼rburgring or taking a moment to reflect at the Imola corner that claimed Ayrton Senna’s life, there are plenty of motoring spots special to people’s hearts.
But what spots will people travel to in the future. Where will they stand, look around reverentially and mutter “so this is where it all started” to themselves?
We’ve selected a few spots we reckon could be serious contenders.
1. Fremont, California (site of the first Tesla factory)
Tesla is by no means the first company to build electric cars, but it is the first to have made the electric car anywhere near viable.
No, while there are still some who rail against Tesla and view its cars as completely impractical, there’s an increasingly vocal sector of society that believes cars like the one built by Tesla could save petrol-driven motoring for pleasure in much the same way as the car saved the horse.
Our money’s on the latter and we reckon that, in the years to come, people will travel to an unassuming industrial estate in Freemont, California and pay tribute to Elon Musk for making sure almost everyone went electric and there was enough petrol for them to keep running their thunderous V8s.
We also know he’d probably hate it, which in turn would probably make a fair portion of our readership pretty happy.
2. Mountain View, California (Google HQ)
In part, that’s because the internet giant has made sure its efforts in the space have been so visible, but it’s also partly down to the fact that it’s pretty much done more than anyone to advance the cause of the autonomous car.
As we recently noted, the pros and cons of autonomous driving have yet to be entirely sorted out and the kind of pilgrimage people make to Mountain View will likely depend on which way the coin falls.
If autonomous motoring turns out to have all the benefits that its proponents claim, then people will gather there to celebrate lives saved, commutes made tolerable and the end of traffic jams.
If it turns out to be the start of the surrender to our robot overlords, then people will gather there to spit on the smiling effigies of Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
3. Beijing, China (site of the first Formula E Grand Prix)
Ever since the first World Championship race was held at Silverstone in 1950, Formula One has been the pinnacle of motor racing technology.
Now though, a new challenger is emerging in the shape of Formula E. After battling to get off the ground for a few years, the electric Grand Prix format finally looks ready to get off the ground, with the first race taking place in China later this year.
With the likes of Richard Branson and Leonardo Dicaprio investing in teams, there’s certainly a fair amount of dosh floating around the code. If it takes off and Formula One continues throttling the power of its cars then expect the motor racing heroes of the future to drive cars with an electric whine rather than a turbo-charged V6 scream
4. Whichever tree Ken Block eventually wraps himself around
If you’ve spent any time on any car site on the web, chances are you’ve seen a Ken Block video. The rally driver’s Gymkhana videos are a YouTube sensation.
Small wonder too, I mean look at some of the insane things this guy’s capable of.
With every Gymkhana though, Block gets his car to do more and more extreme things. At some point his, or the car’s ability will run out and he will crash.
What’s that you say? It’s already happened? Plenty of times? Ah well, travelling to each of his World Rally Championship crash sites doesn’t sound like the worst possible use of your time.