For a lot of people, New Year's resolutions will involve giving up cigarettes, losing weight or hitting the gym more often. All very noble pursuits, but how about for this year you resolve to do something a little more exciting, like embarking on a once in the lifetime road trip? We've put together a list of the top five roads to drive and even suggested the cars to drive them in. So raise a glass of bubbly, hug your loved ones and get planning your New Year's resolution.
Nearly 21 kilometres long and with 90 corners - 40 left-handers and 50 right-handers - the Nordschleife (North loop) is quite possibly the most fearsome road in the world, and yes, it is a road. While most classify the Nordschleife (or the Nürburgring as it is commonly referred to, despite the fact the 'Ring refers to the entire track and not just the North Loop) as a track, it is actually a one-way toll road. You pay your toll at the start and then experience the 'Ring's massive combination of gradient, camber and radius changes, which sees the highest point rise over 1,000 feet above the lowest.
For your first attempt at the 'Ring you should probably try something low-powered like the Rent4Ring Suzuki Swift, but once you have some experience under your belt we can think of no better car than a Porsche 911 GT3 RS.
In its simplest terms the Bundesautobahn 7 (or A7 to give it its colloquial name) is a motorway, but it is a 963km motorway that bisects Germany, running from the border with Denmark in the north to Austria in the south. Being a German motorway it is of course an Autobahn - fabled highways of the speed demons - and while there are large sections with 120km/h speed limits there are conversely large sections of derestricted tarmac on which to reach terminal velocity.
With such an expanse of road to traverse there is only really one car to drive. Yes it may seem cheesy and somewhat undramatic compared to some hypercars but the simple fact is that the Bugatti Veyron is the fastest car in the world and if you want to drive from one end of Germany to the other as quickly as possible we can think of nothing better.
Route 66 is possibly the most famous road in the world (at least among non-petrolheads) and in its heyday it stretched 3,940km (2,448 miles) from Chicago Illinois to Santa Monica pier in California. Its length has been shortened over time but Route 66 is still a mecca for petrolheads who want to get off the beaten track and sample some of the sights and sounds that the American mid-west has to offer.
Riding along Route 66 on a Harley Davidson will always be an iconic image but this is CompleteCar.ie not Complete Bike and for us to do 66 properly it has to be done in a muscle car. Yes you could do it in a Toyota Camry just as easily (and probably more comfortable), but driving along the iconic road in a 1965 Ford Mustang Convertible has got to be the way to go. Thankfully there are many companies out there who will rent you a 'Stang (or Corvette, Camaro, Bel Air etc.) in which to chase your American Dream!
C1 Bayshore Route
Like the A7, the C1 - or Bayshore Route - is a motorway, and is in fact a smaller section of Japan's Shuto Expressway. The C1 runs between Tokyo and Yokohama and during the eighties and nineties was home to The Mid Night Club, a street racing group whose membership criteria included cars that were capable of at least 250km/h (160mph). The members, who are said to include the heads of many prominent Japanese tuning companies such as HKS and Mines, would race along the Wangan (the local name of the C1), not for pink slips (as Fast and Furious would have you believe), but for pride and bragging rights.
Some say that after the witching hour you can still hear the sound of a Nissan RB engine at full chatter and what better car to drive the Wangan than the final car from that manufacturer to feature the twin-turbo straight-six engine - the Skyline R34 GT-R VSpec II.
Deep in the Italian Alps is a 24km ribbon of tarmac that snakes its way up to a height of 2,758 metres above sea level via 48 numbered hairpin turns. This is Stelvio - the road Messers Clarkson, Hammond and May named the greatest driving road... in the wuuurld! Unfortunately, because of its appearance on the world's favourite motoring programme, the Stelvio Pass is a little busier than it used to be, so best get out of bed early to enjoy it.
Though if you have a Ferrari 458 Spider in which to tackle the hill climb we would have to question why you are in bed anyway. The 570hp 4.5-litre V8 engine makes such a delicious noise we would opt for the Spider over the coupé model just to enjoy the aural onslaught.