It is 330 kilometers long, has more than 100 hairpin corners, and offers some of the most incredible views in Europe. The breath-taking pass overlooked by “Dracula’s castle” in Romania is one of six routes including Yorkshire’s Blakey Ridge brought to life in “Europe’s Greatest Driving Roads”.
Ford European Performance’s engineers regularly drive roads across the continent to test development models in the most challenging environments. The company also has decades of experience searching out the perfect roads for automotive journalists to test new vehicles. This supported a year-long research and ranking process by a team that covered nearly 10,000 miles in their hunt for the ultimate European road-trip.
Working with Ford and BP/Castrol, motoring journalist Steve Sutcliffe – a veteran of more than 750 car launches across 42 countries – lent his experience to a project that showcases established favorites alongside little-known gems. Over six videos, Sutcliffe gets behind the wheel to explore each road while offering historic and cultural insights for every location.
“It’s amazing some of the roads that didn’t actually make the list – but we weren’t just looking for twisty runs to please the petrol heads. We scored each route for thrills, quality of road surface, accessibility, hospitality, scenery, and food and drink,” said Sutcliffe, a former racing driver. “Enthusiasts will know of some of the roads, like the Transfăgărășan Highway in Romania, but perhaps not the C462, in Spain. In some ways it would be nice to keep these roads to ourselves – but when roads are this good they need to be shared.”
For each “Europe’s Greatest Driving Roads” video, Sutcliffe drove the Ford that best complemented each route, including the new Focus RS, Mustang 5.0 V8 GT, Mustang 2.3 EcoBoost, Focus ST, Focus ST diesel and Fiesta ST.
“Our goal was to share our knowledge of the finest driving roads across Europe with people who love cars and love driving,” said Mark Truby, vice president, Communications & Public Affairs, Ford of Europe. “It’s a true ‘bucket list’ not just for petrol heads, but anyone who wants to plan an amazing road trip.”
Here are the first six roads featured:
ROMANIA, Transfăgărășan Highway: Created by the former Romanian dictator so in the event of an invasion by the USSR his people could flee to the mountains. The highway even passes the castle of Vlad the Impaler’s – the real-life inspiration for Count Dracula.
UNITED KINGDOM, Blakey Ridge: Roughly following the route of an old railway line to the now quiet iron ore mines of the Yorkshire moors.
SPAIN, Catolonia, C462: Leading up to a dam, the road was built for a planned power station, but the power station never appeared creating a road to nowhere.
FRANCE, the Alps, D526 & D926: One of the most grueling stages of the 2015 Tour de France, and equally challenging in a car. This drive reaches a peak of 2000m at the famous Col de la Croix de Fer.
GERMANY, Black Forest Highway, B500: A little over 40 kilometers through the Black Forest, with smaller, equally challenging roads branching from it.
MALLORCA, MA10 “Mountain Road”: A road with Roman origins and a remote monastery called the Sanctuary de Lluc that was built at the road’s peak to be purposefully difficult to get to.