|Suzuka International Racing Course|
|Location||Suzuka, Mie Prefecture, Japan|
|Active from||N/A - present|
|Major events|| FIA Formula One|
Japanese Grand Prix
FIM Endurance World Championship
Suzuka 8 Hours
1000 km Suzuka
|Length||3.609 mi (5.807 km)|
|Lap record||1:31.540 ( Kimi Räikkönen, McLaren MP4-19, 2005, class)|
Suzuka International Racing Course (鈴鹿サーキット, Suzuka Sākitto), Suzuka Circuit for short, is a motorsport race track located in Ino, Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture, Japan and operated by Mobilityland Corporation, the subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd..
Designed as a Honda test track in 1962 by John Hugenholtz, Suzuka is one of few circuits in the world to have a figure 8 layout, with the back straight passing over the front section by means of an overpass.
The circuit can be used in three configurations; the full circuit, the "Suzuka East" and "Suzuka West" configuration. The "East" portion of the course consists of the pit straight to the first half of the Dunlop curve (turn 7), before leading back to the pit straight via a tight right-hander. The "West" course is made up of the other part of the full circuit.
Motorsport events Edit
Suzuka is one of the oldest remaining tracks of the Formula One World Championship, and so has a long history of races as venue of the Japanese Grand Prix. Its traditional role as one of the last Grands Prix of the season means numerous World Championships have been decided at the track.
Suzuka was dropped from the Formula One calendar for the 2007 and 2008 seasons in favour of the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway, after the latter underwent a transformation and redesign by circuit designer Hermann Tilke. Suzuka and Fuji were to alternate hosting the Japanese Grand Prix from 2009. However, after Fuji announced on July 2009 that it would no longer be part of the F1 calendar, Suzuka signed a deal to host the Japanese Grand Prix in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
The circuit closed for a year in order for the renovation to make it F1-compliant for 2009, with the last major event held on November 18, 2007, although some annual events (for instance, the Suzuka 8 Hours and 1000km Suzuka) were still held. The track held a re-opening day on April 12, 2009.
Suzuka also hosts other motorsport events including the Suzuka 1000km endurance race. Previously a part of multiple GT racing series including the now defunct Group C class of the All Japan Sports Prototype Championship, the Suzuka 1000 km as of 2006 is now a points round of the Super GT series, and is the only race of such length in that series.
NASCAR organized the NASCAR Thunder 100, a pair of exhibition 100-lap races on the East Circuit, a 1.4 miles (2.3 km) layout which utilizes the pit straight and esses, before rejoining the main circuit near the Casio Triangle. The cars were Sprint Cup Series and Camping World West Series cars and the field was by invitation for the two races, run after the 1996 and 1997 seasons. The 1996 event was marred by tragedy when during practice, pace car driver Elmo Langley died of a heart attack in the Chevrolet Corvette Pace Car at the esses during an evaluation run. During qualifying for the 1997 race, rain caused Goodyear to use rain tires on Sprint Cup cars for the first time in the modern era.
Following two tremendous accidents in 2002 and 2003, safety has been a concern at the circuit's 130R, a 130 metres (427 ft) radius turn starting past the Crossover which has been compared to Spa's Eau Rouge. In 2002, Toyota F1 driver Allan McNish suffered a high-speed crash through the bump, which sent him through a metal fence; fortunately, he was not seriously injured.
Track officials revised the 130R, redesigning it as a double-apex section, one with an 85 metres (279 ft) radius, and then a second featuring a 340 metres (1,115 ft) radius, leading to a much closer Casio Triangle (chicane), with the chicane becoming a "bus stop" type for motorcycles.
However, the problem continued for the new revised section. During the 2003 MotoGP Grand Prix of Japan, the track's first major event since the revisions, MotoGP rider Daijiro Kato was killed when he crashed in the new section, on his way to the braking zone for the Casio Triangle. MotoGP has not returned to Suzuka since the incident.
Popular culture Edit
Along with Fuji Speedway, Suzuka Circuit was one of the four tracks featured in the video game Pole Position II (the first game featured only the Fuji track). The Suzuka Circuit was also featured in the Final Lap and the Ferrari F355 Challenge arcade games and video games like Forza Motorsport 2, Forza Motorsport 3, Gran Turismo 4 (with a Konami logo visible on the track), Gran Turismo 5 Prologue,R: Racing Evolution, Le Mans 24 Hours, The Cycles, MotoGP 3, MotoGP 4, Tourist Trophy, Auto Modellista and as the final race in Taito's racing game Continental Circus. The circuit appears in most F1 games that have been published since 1987. The East Course was featured in NASCAR 98.
Presumably due to licensing issues on Pole Position II, the track is referred to in the Namco Museum versions as the "Wonder" Circuit ("Orange Circuit" in Namco Museum: Virtual Arcade), after Namco's "Wonder" series of amusement parks, despite its logo appearing on the starter's box since 1983. Under the same issue the open source game TORCS also has the track renamed as "Wheel-2".
- Main article: List of Suzuka Circuit fatal accidents
- Honda NSX, Japanese Supercar influenced by F1 produced by Honda between 1991 and 2005.
- Honda F1 Racing, Japanese Motor Manufacturer participating in F1 Motorsport.
- Mugen, Japanese Engine Tuner & Manufacturer associated with the Honda Motor Company.
- Honda, the Honda Motor Company.
|Formula One circuits|
Former Circuits: A1-Ring (Österreichring) • Adelaide • Aida • Ain-Diab • Aintree • Anderstorp • AVUS • Brands Hatch • Bremgarten • Buenos Aires • Caesars Palace • Clermont-Ferrand • Dallas • Detroit • Dijon • Donington Park • East London • Estoril • Fuji • Imola • Indianapolis • Jacarepaguá • Jarama • Istanbul • Jerez • Kyalami • Le Mans • Long Beach • Magny-Cours • Mexico City • Monsanto • Montjuïc • Mont-Tremblant • Mosport Park • Nivelles-Baulers • Nürburgring • Oporto • Paul Ricard • Pedralbes • Pescara • Phoenix • Reims • Riverside • Rouen • Sebring • Watkins Glen • Zandvoort • Zeltweg • Zolder
- ↑ The Official Formula 1 Website
- ↑ http://f1.gpupdate.net/en/news/2009/07/07/fuji-gives-up-f1-race/
- ↑ http://f1.gpupdate.net/en/news/2009/08/24/suzuka-to-keep-race-until-2011/
- ↑ Bradley, Charles (ed.) (August 2007). "Suzuka to close for a year". Autosport 189 (6): 11.
- ↑ "FIA WTCC TO RACE AT SUZUKA IN 2011". fiawtcc.com. 2010-Jun-21. http://www.fiawtcc.com/Read_News.asp?idnews=585. Retrieved 2010-Jul-20.