A few thoughts: Incredibly corny, violent, and hilarious, Death Race 2000 is one of those cult movies that has the perfect blend of self-awareness and cheapness, making it fun for anyone with the sense of humor to enjoy something that's totally insane. Unlike the remake series, the racers in this movie drive because they love it, running down pedestrians and crashing into each other with glee, as opposed to being forced into it. This makes a huge difference, as the deeply cynical and satirical nature of the movie is able to take over and make it all the more fun to watch. There's nothing depressing about this movie (somehow), and that lighthearted approach leads to a lot of genuinely funny moments. The gore effects and car designs are every bit as goofy as you might expect from a Corman production, the acting is wonderfully over-the-top, and all of these elements come together amazingly. Maybe it's not the greatest production in the world, but it's one of the most fun movies of its time and a near-perfect satire of media, sports, violence, and politics.
Who would I recommend it to? Anyone who can enjoy a cheesy and satirical action/chase movie. It's one of the best of its breed.