As fans of motorsports, we fully appreciate it's multi-sensory entertainment. The sights, smells, and sounds of racing become such critical components of the experience of racing that when one of them isn't just right, we know it. It has gravity on our perceptions, and our emotions.
The recent changes to the spec engine configuration in F1 are a prime example. The new turbo V6 powerplants sound... different. Whether you like the turbo V6 sound or not, it's not likely to make many short lists of the 'best sounding' when compared to what's out there. There are, and have been, some truly incredible sounding vehicles throughout the history of motorsports.
We compiled a collection of 12 motorsports vehicles that sound the part. Or at least we think so. Like our other 10 Best lists, hard decisions had to be made. Cuts were necessary. The Can Am big and small block Chevys couldn't make the list. Sadly, neither did the small block Ford -- a staple of automotive aural pleasure that we love. It's personally painful to have slighted Ducati. The Audi S1 was originally on the list, as was the Norton 750. But the competition was just too much. We couldn't even get it down to 10!
So sit back, connect to the big speakers, or plug in your best headphones, and enjoy.
What do you think? Did we miss something? What would make your list?
The Lamborghini / Audi V10
Not all V10s get it right, but this one does. And among the Lamborghini / Audi V10s out there, the GT3 version is fantastic. Frankly the GT3 class is generally full of nice noises.
The Porsche Flat 6
Part of the charm of the early Porsche air-cooled engines was the mechanical nature of the sound. If Italian cars can sound like musical instruments, Porsches sound like what you'd want machinery to sound like. Even the modern water-cooled versions hit some great notes.
The Porsche 910 air-cooled 2.0
Porsche 991 RSR water-cooled
The Jaguar inline 6
Inline 6s in general hit the right notes, and Jaguars have been doing it right for decades. The racing derivative of the E-Type is a great example of those classic tones.
The Ferrari F1 V10
So many Ferraris could make the list. Sound is such a critical element to the Ferrari brand, they even have people on staff whose sole job is to work the pitch of the exhaust until it meets their standard.
The BMW V8 - Z4 GT3
In production reality, you can't get a V8 in the Z4. That's a shame. A real shame. If they could make a Z4 for the street that sounds the way this race-prepped V8 sounds, they could delete the stereo.
The Porsche 917K
Sure, the 917/30 edition was dramatically faster and more powerful, but this normally-aspirated Porsche flat 12 makes better music.
The BRM V16
This, quite simply, is what mechanical anger sounds like. This is 1.5 liters of supercharged, 12,000 rpm anger.
MV Agusta 750 GP Bike
The Honda RC166 GP Bike
We may have just written about this bike, but it's most certainly going to make this list. It's further proof that inline 6s are just magic.
The Mazda R787B LeMans Car
Much of the time rotaries don't make good noises. But it appears when you add a third, or even a fourth chamber, magic happens. The R787B sounds frenetic. Purposeful.
The Ferrari 512 V12
There's something about a high piston count and small displacement that just works. The 5-liter V12 formula sounds sexy almost irrespective of manufacturer. But Ferrari does it best.
The Matra F1 V12
If this isn't in your top 5, I'd like to know what you think is better. Pure aural sex.
These didn't make the prime cut, but are still quite noteworthy.
The 750 Norton
The Audi S1 WRC Car
The Can Am Lola T70
Any Race-prepped small block Ford
Big tip of the hat to The 19BOZZY92 channel on YouTube, where many of our clips were found. Visit their channel at: