All you need to know about the Isle of Man TT races

Thousands of fans are expected to visit the island over the two-week period of TT. Credit: Isle of Man TT

The Isle of Man TT is often known as the most thrilling and dangerous motorsport event in the world.

'TT' stands for 'Tourist Trophy', which is apt given the thousands of visitors the Island receives during the two-week period to watch.

So here's a guide to all the things you need to know about the iconic races.

New additions for 2023

While much of what fans are familiar with has stayed the same, organisers have introduced some new features to the races.

These include:

  • Senior Race day has been moved to Saturday 10 June.

  • Two extra race days have been added to the schedule, but there will be fewer practice days.

  • Slick tyres will be permitted in all solo classes for the first time.

  • A celebration marking 100 years of sidecars at the TT.

  • A new four-episode docuseries called 'No Room For Error' has been created giving an insight into the riders mentality and the atmosphere around the TT.

The TT Grandstand sits on the outskirts in Douglas and is surrounded by a bike paddock, fan zone and team tents. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Race Schedule

Practice week

  • Monday 29 May: 10:40am - 3:00pm - All Classes

  • Tuesday 30 May: 6:30pm - 9:00pm - All Classes

  • Wednesday 31 May: 6:30pm - 9:00pm - Superbike, Superstock, Supersport, Sidecars

  • Thursday 1 June: 6:30pm - 9:00pm - All Classes

  • Friday 2 June: 1:00pm - 3:30pm - All Classes

Race week

  • Saturday 3 June: 10:30am - 3:00pm - Supersport TT Race 1, Sidecar TT Race 1

  • Sunday 4 June: 1:30pm - 6:00pm - Superbike Race

  • Tuesday 6 June: 10:30am - 3:30pm - Superstock TT Race 1, Supertwin TT Race 1

  • Wednesday 7 June: 10:30am - 4:00pm - Supersport TT Race 2, Sidecar TT Race 2

  • Friday 9 June: 10:30am - 3:30pm - Superstock TT Race 2, Supertwin TT Race 2

  • Saturday 10 June: 10:30am - 4:00pm - Senior TT

The full racing scheduled for 2023 can be found here.

The festival lasts two weeks so riders can practice for the first week, followed by race week in the second.

Bike Classes

Within the TT's collection of races, there are a number of different bike classes.

These are split into: Superbike, Supersport, Supertwin, Superstock and Sidecars.

Some riders race in multiple different classes depending on what bikes are available to them within their teams.

Sidecars are the only class that requires two people - one working as the driver, and the other balancing the bike and helping to steer as a passenger.

The 2023 Isle of Man TT marks 100 years of sidecars racing around the Mountain Course.

Sidecars take on the same 37.77-mile course around the Isle of Man. Credit: Isle of Man TT

The Course

The TT course is made up of 37.73 miles of public roads and is often known as the 'Mountain Course' due to the last quarter of a lap, which sees the rider travel over the Mountain Road from Ramsey to Douglas.

Many of the riders complete the full course in under 20 minutes, averaging speeds of 130mph.

A total of 37 milestones are positioned around the course, one at each mile of the track.

Many of the corners around the track have been named, some after individuals linked to the TT.

For example, the 'Morecambe Missile' John McGuinness has a corner on the course named after him.

The TT course is 37.73-miles of public roads around the Isle of Man. Credit: ITV Granada Reports

Race Format

Riders compete in a time-trial format, setting off at staggered times in an attempt to set the fastest time around the course.

Races take place on public roads which are closed to everyday users at various times throughout the two-week period.

The event consists of one week of practice sessions, where teams can become familiar with their bike on the course, followed by race week.

Riders line up on the start line and set off one at a time racing in a time trial system. Credit: Isle of Man TT

103 Years of Racing

The Isle of Man TT is an annual event that has been held on the Isle of Man for most years since 1907.

It was not until 1911 that the course was extended to what is known today as the 'Mountain Course' made up of 37.73 miles of public roads.

Since then, the event has often been named the 'most dangerous racing even in the world', due to the number of fatalities there has been while racing.

The only times the races were cancelled was from 1915 to 1919 due to the First World War, 1940 to 1945 due to the Second World War, 2001 after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, and in both 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Setting off on the start line at the Isle of Man TT in 1955. Credit: British Pathe

Where can I watch the races?

Those attending the races in-person are encouraged to watch the races at various positions around the course, with the Grandstand being a popular central point.

ITV4 will also be broadcasting an hour-long highlights programme on various nights through the TT fortnight.

The races will be streamed live on TT+ for those who are unable to travel to the Island.

Live TV coverage of the races is streamed on TT+. Credit: Isle of Man TT

TT in Numbers

The current lap record is held by Peter Hickman who set a time of 16 minutes and 42.7 seconds in 2018 with an average speed of 135.452mph.

Out of all of this year's riders, John McGuinness holds the most TT wins having won 23 in his TT career, with 47 podium finishes.

He is then followed by Michael Dunlop with 21 wins and Ian Hutchinson with 16 wins.

The fastest average lap speed set in a sidecar is 119.250mph which was set by Ben and Tom Birchall in 2018.

Since the races started in 1907, 265 riders have died while taking on the course.

Michael Dunlop on the podium during the 2022 Isle of Man TT. Credit: Isle of Man TT

The Marshals

Marshals are an integral part of the TT races making sure the event runs as safely as possible.

Just under 2,000 people registered to become a marshal for the TT in 2019.

Around 25% of those are Manx residents, with 60% from the UK and the remainder from all over the world.

Approximately 600 marshals are needed per racing session.

There are 12 Chief Sector Marshals positioned around the different sectors of the course and ten Deputy Sector Marshals.

Almost 2,000 people registered to be TT marshals in 2019.

The Isle of Man TT 2023 takes place from Monday 29 May to Friday 10 June.