Nürburgring

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Nürburgring, or “The Ring”, is a motor racing track situated in Germany. As a truly impressive Formula One circuit, the Nürburgring winds its way through the beautifully wooded hills of Germany’s Eifel plateau. Based around the town of Nürburg, the unique Nürburgring F1 circuit overlooks the remnants of a medieval castle, providing a challenging circuit in remarkable surroundings which attracts large crowds for every event.

The racing circuit of Nürburg was an idea formulated by Dr. Creutz in the 1920s. The original Ring, called Nordschleife, was opened in 1927 and is still used today. This circuit covered an impressive 14 miles or 22.5 km with 172 corners. Many drivers battled to remember the racing line of the complicated Nordschleife circuit. The Nürburgring was actually made up of two circuits, the Nordschleife and the Sudschleife which joined a the paddock with the pits and grandstand. The old Nürburgring was the site of many impressive races such as the time Jackie Stewart won a race in 1968 whilst his wrist was in plaster and the track was covered with fog. Unfortunately, the old track was plagued by safety issues. In 1976 F1 driver Niki Lauda suffered a bad accident in which he sustained severe burns. At the end of 1976 Nürburgring’s license as an F1 circuit was removed.

Over time the Nürburgring was revamped and the new circuit was opened in 1984 covering 4.556km with 14 turns. During the 1984 inaugural race it was decided that they would pit some of Formula One’s greatest drivers against each other in 20 equal Mercedes 190Es. The line-up of famous drivers included Niki Lauda, Alain Prost, Ayrton Senna, Phil Hill, Denny Hulme, Keke Rosberg, James Hunt, John Surtees and Carlos Reutemann. Senna took the lead, beating Lauda by a small margin.

The European Grand Prix was hosted at the Nürburgring F1 track in 1984 and 1985 but not after that due to financial problems. For some time the Nürburgring played no role in Grand Prix, but ran several other events during this time, both on a club and international level. Fans did not abandon the Ring though and turned out in large numbers on race days.

As Michael Schumacher burst onto the F1 scene, Formula One was brought back to the Nürburgring race circuit. The Ring hosted the European GP in 1995 and 1996 and then the new Luxemburg GP in 1997 and 1998. From 1999 through to 2006 it became the resident venue of the European Grand Prix. As of 2007 the Nürburgring Formula One circuit will host the German Grand Prix on alternating years with Hockenheim.

South African Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
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The first South African Grand Prix, took place in 1934, hosted at the Prince George Circuit located in East London, in the Eastern Cape Province. World class drivers such as Dick Seaman, Bernd Rosemeyer and Luigi Villoresi were among the competitors, with Luigi Villoresi winning the South African Grand Prix in 1939.

The start of World War II saw the end of the racing for a time. With South Africa receiving Formula One status in 1962, going on to become a popular event. During to the infamous Apartheid-era in South Africa’s history, the Formula One South African Grand Prix was canceled on many occasions. The very first South African Grand Prix, as part of the Formula One calendar, took place on 29 December 1962. East London, once again, hosted the event and the South African Grand Prix returned to the Prince George Circuit in 1963 and in 1965.

The decision to move the Formula One South African Grand Prix, was made in 1967, and for as long as South Africa remained on the Formula One racing calendar, the Kyalami Circuit in the Gauteng Province (previously known as the Transvaal Province) remained its host. During the years 1962 and 1993, there were 23 Formula One Grand Prix races held at Kyalami Circuit. The Kyalami Circuit takes place over 78 laps, and the total racing distance is 320.112 kilometers.

The fasted lap time was achieved by John Watson in 1977, with a lap time of 1’17.630. This was also a race of great tragedy. A 19 year old student, named Jansen Van Vuuren, together with another mashall, were killed whilst rushing to the aid of Renzo Zorzi, whose Shadow had caught alight, and whilst crossing the track Van Vuuren was struck by Tom Pryce. The impact was so severe it killed both men instantly. Pryces’ injuries were from the fire extinguisher, and Van Vuuren was destroyed by the extreme force of impact. Another tragic loss of life was that of Peter Revson, who died in 1974 during his practice run. The last South African Grand Prix that was held at the Kyalami Circuit was in 1993.

Monaco Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Formula One race that takes place on the streets of the Principality of Monaco, is known as the Monaco Grand Prix, or Grand Prix de Monaco. It has long been one of the most important and prestigious racing events on the Formula One calendar, taking place every year since it’s inception in 1929. It has been ranked with the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Indianapolis 500. This magnificent Grand Prix, has always been associated with glamor, fame and riches, and people from all over the world gather in Monaco to watch the race.

The very first Formula One Monaco Grand Prix was organized by Antony Noghes, with the year 1929 predating any other organized World Championship. The organization of the race, was overseen by Prince Louis II, with the assistance of the A.C.M (Automobile Club de Monaco). William Grover-Williams (also known as Williams), won the first event, behind the wheel of a Bugatti. His car was painted green, and would become Britain’s color, referred to as ‘racing green’. Grover-Williams, however, is not related to the later Williams teams, in any way. The Grand Prix was associated with the pre-Second World War European Championships, and it also included the very first Formula One World Championship that took place in 1950. It remained associated with the European Championship during the years 1936 to 1939. As part of the emergency protocol, divers are on hand to rescue any drivers that may have the misfortune of landing in the harbor.

Ayrton Senna, from Brazil, had six Grand Prix victories at the Monaco Grand Prix, of which five were consecutive from the year 1989 to 1993. He was given the title of “Master of Monaco”, but his predecessor, Graham Hill, was known as the “King of Monaco”.

Every year, the streets of Monte Carlo and La Condamine, becomes the jewel of the Grand Prix season. The Formula One Monaco Grand Prix consists of 78 laps, that covers a total of 260.25 kilometers. It takes six weeks to construct the circuit, and it has many tight corners, various elevation changes and is, in general, a very narrow course. Nelson Piquet once said, that even though the course is like trying to ride a bicycle in your living room, one win at the Monaco Grand Prix, is equivalent to winning two races on any other circuit.

Spa Francorchamps

February 9, 2009 by  
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Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps of Belgium has been described by many as the world’s top motor racing circuit. Host of the renowned Formula One Belgian Grand Prix as well as the Spa 24 hours race, Spa-Francorchamps winds its way along the magnificent Ardennes mountains. A wonderfully challenging course with the famed Eau Rouge complex, the Spa-Francorchamps Formula One circuit is thoroughly enjoyed by F1 drivers and spectators alike.

It was in 1920 Jule de Thier and Henri Langlois Van Ophem came up with the idea of forming a race track in the quiet village of Francorchamps. A triangular circuit was designed along the roads that joined Francorchamps, Malmedy and Stavelot and the new racing circuit of Spa-Francorchamps was set-up for racing in August 1921. Only one competitor registered so the circuit had to be inaugurated by motorcyclists. But 1922 presented a different scenario as motorists began racing on the new track. The exciting 24 Hours of Francorchamps race was established in 1924, and it was also in that year that the Belgian Grand Prix was held at the circuit. The European Grand Prix took place at the circuit of Spa-Francorchamps in 1925. Antonio Ascari in his Alfa Romeo gained the victory that year.

World War II brought a stop to racing at Spa-Francorchamps which became the scene of the famed Battle of Bulge. Fortunately though, racing came back to the F1 circuit in 1947. As time progressed the Spa race track was considered too fast. In 1960 Chris Bristow and Alan Stacey were killed on the track. Jackie Stewart began a campaign to improve safety at Spa-Francorchamps and for a time the Grand Prix was rather held at Nivelles circuit. 1973 was also marred by the death of 3 drivers during the Spa 24 Hours. It was then decided that the track would be redesigned. Finally in 1983 the Spa-Francorchamps was permitted to host F1 again. Today it plays a major part in the world championships.

Spa-Francorchamps F1 circuit has had several modifications over time. Presently it covers a distance of 6.968 km or 4.333 miles with 21 turns. Guiding drivers through the beautiful Ardennes, it is possible to reach speeds greater than 330 km/h. The most impressive section of the Spa-Francochamps circuit is the renowned Eau Rouge/Raidillon combination. Following the La Source hairpin the skilled F1 drivers head down a straight where they hit a steep uphill with left-right-left corners and a blind summit.

The Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps was not included on the 2006 Formula One calendar as certain improvements were not yet made due to financial problems. However the circuit was back on the 2007 calendar, and continues to host the annual Formula One Championship event.

Spanish Grand Prix

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Spanish Grand Prix is held annually at the outstanding Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Forming a part of the Formula One championship, the Spanish Grand Prix is attended by large crowds of eager F1 fans. The Circuit de Catalunya certainly provides the ideal setting for a day at the races, with convenient facilities and excellent views of the thrilling Formula One Action.

In October of 1986 the Catalan parliament decided to begin construction on Barcelona’s very own international racing circuit. Following the purchase of a suitable piece of land, work started on the impressive circuit in 1989. The first ever Spanish Grand Prix to be held at Circuit de Catalunya took place in 1991 in the month of September. It was a very exciting race indeed, with Nigel Mansell taking first place.

This is just the recent history of the Spanish Grand Prix though. In fact, racing began in Spain right back in 1908 with the Catalan Cup. A permanent oval was opened at Sitges in 1923. On 28 October 1923 the second Spanish Grand Prix was held (the first had been a decade earlier). The original Spanish Grand Prix did not take place according to the standard Grand Prix formula at that time, its rules were more like those used for touring cars. The next Spanish Grand Prix was only held in 1926. After years of war the F1 World Championship came to Spain in 1951. For some time the Spanish Grand Prix alternated between the F1 circuits of Montjuic and Jarama. Spanish Grand Prix had a revival in 1991 when Circuit de Catalunya was opened. In no time at all the new circuit in Barcelona became a popular testing ground. Today it remains the host of the Spanish Grand Prix.

Circuit de Catalunya’s 15 grandstands ensure that there is plenty of place for spectators during the Spanish Grand Prix. Large screen televisions around the circuit provide outstanding views of all the fast action. Plenty of public transportation is available to arrive at the Grand Prix on time. Certainly, if you have the opportunity, you don’t want to miss the Spanish Grand Prix.

The Spanish Grand Prix at Catalunya consists of 65 laps around the 4.727 km circuit, totalling 307.324 km. The circuit’s lap record is held by Michael Schumacher who set it in 2004 at 1:17:450. Spanish racing hero Fernando Alonso was the 2006 winner of the Spanish Grand Prix. Following is a list of other winners: Kimi Raikkonen (2005, 2008); Michael Schumacher (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004); Mika Hakkinen (1998, 2000); Filipe Massa (2007); and the most recent win going to Jenson Button (2009). The 2010 Spanish Grand Prix is set to take place on 7-9 May, so don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy one of the world’s most exciting sports, in one of the world’s most hospitable countries.

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