Get Your Motor Running: 25 of the World’s Best Motorsports Museums

white racecar

If you love all things motorsports, delve into the long history of racing by taking a trip to any of these museums dedicated to roaring engines and cheering crowds. You can see vintage and beloved cars up close while discovering more about worldwide racetracks and organizations.

We’ve found 25 international motorsports museums that will make you want to plan a road trip, stat.

Barber Motorsports Museum, Alabama

Racer George Barber opened the Barber Motorsports Museum in 1988. Although he preferred Porsches, that museum had already been done, so he decided to open a motorcycle museum instead. At least 650 motorcycles, some vintage and some modern, are on display. The bikes are regularly switched out so you can eventually see Barber’s whole collection of 1,400 bikes.

Eastern Museum of Motor Racing, Pennsylvania

A group of motorsports fans called the Williams Grove Old Timers would spend a lot of time together talking shop, so in 1975 they decided to take their collective passion and make a museum dedicated to racing. The Eastern Museum of Motor Racing has 40 acres of space that includes a racetrack. Sometimes, you can even see the display cars being driven.

National Motor Museum, England

In the village of Beaulieu, you can find the National Motor Museum, which mixes motorcycles with other vehicles on display. Some exhibits that you may see include World War I cars, a chronology of the British Land Speed record, an auto garage from the 1930s, the history of the Formula One and more. More than 250 cars and other vehicles comprise these displays.

Grand Prix Museum, Macau

The Macau Grand Prix is a beloved racing event. For the race’s 40th anniversary in 1993, the Grand Prix Museum became a public attraction. Celebrating a motorsports history that dates back to 1954, the museum has since undergone renovations to celebrate later anniversaries.

Motorsports Hall of Fame of America, Florida

Daytona Beach is a famed racing destination, but beyond the track you can also find the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. No matter what kind of racing you enjoy, nearly 50 vehicles are on display at any given time. You can also check out about 100 exhibits chock full of memorabilia. Play driving simulation games and watch videos highlighting the history of racing to close out your day.

old cars in a row

Musee des 24 Heures du Mans, France

A museum established in honor of the 24 Hours of Le Mans event, the Musee des 24 Heures du Mans was actually called the Automobile Museo de la Sarthe when it was built in 1961. It wasn’t until 1991 that it changed focus to the Le Mans race. When you visit, you can see car pictures and videos, race collectibles, and more than 100 vehicles that have participated in Le Mans races over the years.

Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, California

Wally Parks himself opened the NHRA Motorsports Museum in association with the Automobile Club of Southern California. Since 1998, race lovers have been able to stroll across 28,500 square feet of motorsports history. There’s a “Chrisman, Brinker Gallery of Speed” exhibit that opened in 2014 and also artwork, driving uniforms, helmets, race trophies, and almost 50 vehicles from various generations.

Hendrick Motorsports Museum & Team Store, North Carolina

Another major racing city is Charlotte, North Carolina, which is home to the Hendrick Motorsports Museum & Team Store. NASCAR fans should not miss this one, as you can learn more about the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, discovering the technology and thinking that makes these races possible. The museum is free to visit.

Spa-Francorchamps Racetrack Museum, Belgium

Another famous European motorsports museum, the Spa-Francorchamps Racetrack Museum celebrates Belgium’s rich racing history. You can see beloved vehicles such as Coopers, Porsches, Chevrons, Marches and Ferraris across the ages. As you walk through the museum’s cellar, you’ll feel like you took a step back through time when you look at documents and other old memorabilia.

Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing, Florida

Whether you know him as the “King of the Dragsters” or “Big Daddy,” Don Garlits is one of the most popular drag racers in the history of the sport. The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is his creation, and it includes 17 of his own World Championship titles and a slew of classic cars from the beginning of Garlits’ racing career in the 1950s to his retirement.

Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum and the Motorsports Hall of Fame, Arizona

You can keep yourself entertained all day when visiting the Arizona Open Wheel Racing Museum, which shares a building with the Motorsports Hall of Fame. Steve Stroud opened the museum after customers at his Phoenix Parker Store would inquire about his memorabilia. With 16,000 square feet of space, there’s plenty of room for exhibits featuring cars from the Phoenix International Speedway, the Copper World Classic and more.

Richard Childress Racing (RCR) Museum, North Carolina

Richard Childress Racing has won 15 championships in nearly 50 years. Celebrate that heritage at the RCR Museum, which is 47,000 square feet. Any vehicle that Childress or his team drove is on display, including the Monte Carlo that won the 1998 Daytona 500, All Star vehicles driven by Dale Earnhardt between 1995 and 2000, Earnhardt’s No. 3 Goodwrench Chevrolet, and more.

Hajek Motorsports Museum, Oklahoma

Heavily featuring cars and memorabilia from Bill Elliott, Dale Earnhardt, Bob Glidden, Don Nicholson and other racing legends, the Hajek Motorsports Museum was founded by racer Brent Hajek. The museum is a repurposed school that includes the Hajek Motorsports Racing Car Collection. Don’t miss other gear from the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Joe Amato, Dale Jarrett, Kenny Bernstein and more.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, Indiana

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is yet another revered US destination for motorsports fanatics. If you’re here to see a race, make sure to book some time for a trip to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum. Founded in 1956 by Karl Kizer and Anton Hulman Jr., the museum expanded in 1975 and is now 30,000 square feet. The Hall of Fame is still active, while the museum itself features vehicles of all kinds, including drag racers, motorcycles, midget cars, NASCARs and INDYCARs.

Donington Grand Prix Exhibition, England

The Donington Grand Prix Exhibition is also a must-see. You can visit any of its 130 exhibits, full of antique Williams and McLarens. The Wheatcroft Collection, created by Kevin Wheatcroft, features motorcycles and cars driven during World War II. “The time is right to open the doors to some of these treasures,” Wheatcroft said. “I have been badgered for many years to show these vehicles to the public and very much look forward to adding more vehicles as each month goes by.”

fords in museum

Hockenheimring Motor-Sport-Museum, Germany

The Hockenheimring track Baden-Wurttemberg hosts the German Grand Prix. Nearby is the Hockenheimring Motor-Sport-Museum, which was founded in 1986 and has more than 300 exhibits showcasing touring cars, bikes and Formula 1 winners. With 23,680 square feet of space, the cars that you see in the exhibits are switched out regularly. Guided tours are available.

Museu do Automobilismo Brasileiro, Brazil

If you’re ever traveling in Brazil, particularly Passo Fundo, don’t miss the Museu do Automobilismo Brasileiro, which translates to the Museum of Brazilian Auto Racing. The Prix Hotel, erected in 2012, is nearby. The museum opened in 1996 but expanded in later years. Learn more about the history of Brazilian auto racing with more than 100 cars produced in various eras.

World of Speed Museum, Oregon

A nonprofit, the World of Speed Museum encompasses all racing, including hydroplanes, NASCAR, open wheels, motorcycles, land speed racing and drag racing. Any time you visit, you can see nearly 100 cars in changing exhibits, including the 1979 Oldsmobile 442 driven by Cale Yarborough, the 1988 Chevy Monte Carlo driven by Terry Labonte, the 1974 Dodge Charger driven by Jim Vandiver, the 2000 Chevy Impala driven by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and more.

Museo Ferrari, Italy

The Museo Ferrari in Maranello is a Mecca for many and a testament to the history of this luxury car manufacturer. Test your own sharp driving instincts with interactive pit stop walls at the World Championship and Formula One exhibits. Other exhibits are changed out often, so no two experiences are alike. Watch clips of Grand Prix races through the years, take souvenir photos and drive in a Formula One virtual simulator while you check out some seriously impressive vehicles.

New England Auto Racers (NEAR) Mobile Hall of Fame Museum, Connecticut

Dig deep into New England racing history at the NEAR Mobile Hall of Fame Museum. This nonprofit relies on work from volunteer car lovers and donations from Connecticut patrons to keep running. Unlike the other museums on this list, this NEAR establishment is mobile and travels with the organization. You’ll have to check the NEAR calendar to see when the museum is coming to a town near you.

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Museo Juan Manuel Fangio, Argentina

The Museo Juan Manuel Fangio honors Argentinian racing great Juan Manuel Fangio and is just a short stroll from his childhood home. A Formula One champion five times over, Fangio’s prizes are all on display, as are the 27 vehicles that he raced to achieve victory, like his 1939 Chevrolet and 1929 Ford A. Cars that belonged to other popular racers, including Edward House and Juan Galvez, are also proudly shown off.

National Motor Racing Museum, Australia

Expand your horizons as you take in the thrill of Australian motorsports at the National Motor Racing Museum. The Bathurst Light Car Club opened the museum in 1988, and the Bathurst Regional Council became owners in 1997. With 60 motorcycles and 50 cars on the museum’s grounds, it’s a good thing the building is open seven days a week.

Miller Motorsports Park Museum, Utah

Housed inside the Comfort Inn & Suites in Tooele, Utah, is the Miller Motorsports Park Museum. Created by car fanatic Larry H. Miller, the museum began as a place for Miller to teach others about Carroll Shelby’s Cobra. His collection grew to include Shelby Mustangs, Ford GT40s and more. Some of his vehicles have competed in races, like the 1966 MKII Ford GT40, the 1964 Cobra Daytona Coupe and more.

National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum, Iowa

Can’t get enough of sprint cars? The National Sprint Car Hall of Fame & Museum in Knoxville, Iowa, should be your next road trip destination. This nonprofit was established in 1992 and has four stories. The 8,000-square-foot Donald Lamberti National Sprint Car Museum is on the first floor. With 25 vehicles plus various memorabilia such as helmets and trophies, there’s a lot to take in.

NASCAR Hall of Fame, North Carolina

Immerse yourself in all things NASCAR at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte. When you walk in, there’s a huge video screen with a looping video introducing you to the history of this racing giant. The exhibits change during any given month, but some permanent fixtures include race memorabilia such as drivers’ uniforms, photos and original vehicles. You can learn what it’s like to be in a real NASCAR race with a virtual simulator. After you practice, climb into a NASCAR replica vehicle on a recreated track to digitally compete with others.

 

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