Circuit de Monaco

February 9, 2009 by  
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Circuit de Monaco, opened in 1929, is an outstanding Formula One street circuit. Located in Monte Carlo, the F1 Circuit of Monaco is considered by many to be the grandest in the sport. Well known for its challenging twists, Monaco’s F1 circuit is popular with drivers and spectators alike. Held annually in the month of May, the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix incorporated some of the streets of Monte Carlo and of La Condamine, and the atmosphere among spectators is phenomenal – it is certainly the dream of many F1 fans to attend a race at Circuit de Monaco.

Anthony Noghes of Manegasque car club originally came up with the idea of turning the streets of Monaco into a Formula One circuit. The first race on Monte Carlo’s circuit was held in 1929. William Grover-Williams, racing for Bugatti, gained victory at the inaugural race.

The 2.092 mile or 3.367 km Monaco circuit is known for its tight turns, thus driver skill and ability is of greater importance than the power of the car. Monte Carlo’s roadways are narrow and provide little opportunity for overtaking. A renowned section of the circuit is the tunnel where F1 drivers have to deal with the quick succession of light changes. Certain adjustments have been made to the Monte Carlo F1 track making more space for pit stops. Of course as the Circuit de Monaco is held in the streets it needs to be constructed each year, a process which takes approximately 6 weeks.

Let’s take a look at what the drivers have to deal with when racing at Monte Carlo. The lap begins with a brief drive up to the almost 90 degree St. Devote corner. This is followed by an uphill leading to the Massenet left-hand long turn. Driving through Casino Square the drivers come to the challenging Mirabeau corner and quickly into the Grand Hotel hairpin. Next is the Portier double right-hander which takes the F1 drivers to the tunnel. Just out of the tunnel is a tough left-right chicane. A short straight heads to the Tabac corner. Drivers then accelerate on to the left-right-right-left spot called Piscine. Drivers have a short straight to prepare themselves for a quick left and immediate La Rascasse 180 degree turn. An adversely-cambered straight guides drivers to the Virage Antony Noghes corner, the last of the lap. Drivers make their way down the straight to cross the start-finish line for the next lap.

Although considered by many as a dangerous circuit, Circuit de Monaco is set to remain an important host of Formula One, providing drivers and spectators with breathtaking action.

Sepang International Circuit

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Sepang International Circuit, or as it is also known the Sepang F1 International Circuit, does not only host the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, but is home to the A1 Grand Prix and the Moto GP Malaysian Grand Prix. Many other motor sport events are also hosted here during the year.

Compared to other Grand Prix venues, the Sepang International Circuit ranks amongst the best, with the facilities and the technology to back that statement. The media resources that the circuit has available and the fantastic pit area, are facilities that the Sepang F1 International Circuit can be proud of. The grandstands and amenities for spectators are also superb, ensuring comfort and a great view of the action.

The designer of this amazing circuit was Hermann Tilke, from Germany, who has designed similar superb facilities in Bahrain, Turkey and Shanghai. The 5.54 kilometer main circuit, is usually raced clockwise, and is known for its wide straits and somewhat sweeping corners. The track was built in a very unusual manner, as only an extremely tight hairpin corner, separates the pit straight and the long back straight.

Configurations of the Sepang International Circuit can be varied for use. It allows the clockwise directed north circuit to be utilized, which is situated on the first half of the Sepang F1 Circuit. After turn number six, the track turns toward the pit straight, and is a total of 2.71 kilometers in length. The opposite side of the race track, forms the south circuit. On this circuit, the long back straight, that is used on the main circuit, then becomes the pit straight. The pit straight for the south circuit runs into the main circuits’ number eight corner, which then forms a hairpin corner. As with all the circuits at the Sepang F1 Circuit, the south circuit is also raced in a clockwise direction, and is a total length of 2.61 kilometers. Due to the versatility of the Sepang International Circuit, it is also able to host motocross and kart racing at the track.

Richmond International Raceway

February 9, 2009 by  
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The now very popular Richmond International Raceway started life as a little track known as ‘Strawberry Hill’. It was first used as a racetrack venue in 1946 when Ted Horn drove his champ car to victory on the 0.5-mile dirt track that came to be known as ‘Strawberry Hill Speedway’. These races were usually held once a year on the third Saturday of April. In the period that followed between 1953 and 2000, the track had three name changes and four configuration changes. The surface was changed from dirt to asphalt and lights were added to the facility in 1991. Ever since then, all races have been held ‘under the lights’ – something which helps make Richmond International Raceway somewhat unique.

Today the Richmond International Raceway is known for hosting some of the best NASCAR and IndyCar Series racing. The raceway features a D-shaped, 0.75 mile (1.2 km) asphalt track and is part of the 800-acre, multi-purpose Richmond Raceway Complex. Although the track is fairly short, it’s layout allows for excellent side-by-side racing and drivers are able to reach speeds similar to that of a superspeedway. This means that only the most skilled drivers can make their way to first place and there is plenty of action during the course of the average race. The Richmond International Raceway currently hosts the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup, the Busch Series, the Indy Racing League, the United States Auto Club Silver Crown and National Sprint Car Series. The last 30 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series races have been sold out and the track is known for producing some of the best racing in the sport.

In the past, Richmond International Raceway has been known as the ‘Atlantic Rural Exposition Fairgrounds’, the ‘Atlantic Rural Fairgrounds’, the ‘Virginia State Fairgrounds’ and the ‘Richmond Fairgrounds Raceway’. From these various names it is easy to tell that the Raceway complex is not only used to host racing events. It is also used to host a number of agricultural shows, expositions, sports and crafts shows and seasonal fairs. This means that the raceway complex is almost always busy with some major event but the most popular of these are the races.

Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours

February 9, 2009 by  
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Following the withdrawal of financial support by the French Motorsports Federation (FFSA), Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours has not been included in the 2010 Formula One Championship calendar.

Situated in France, the world renowned F1 French Grand Prix venue of Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, often referred to simply as Magny-Cours, the circuit has been hosting the Grand Prix since 1991. Located close to the towns of Nevers and Magny-Cours, the Magny-Cours F1 track attracts large crowds during the racing season, and with the region being a popular tourist destination in France, many spectators combine the event with some sightseeing.

Formula One’s Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was originally built by Jean Bernigaud in 1960 on a section of land beside his farm. Bernigaud, along with Gerard Crombac and Jean Lucas, established a racing school at Magny-Cours race track, with famous F1 drivers such as Jacques Laffite, Patrick Depailler and Francois Cevert known to have trained there. As racing in France began to expand, Bernigaud saw the need to create an extension of two interconnected circuits totalling 2.39 miles. Sadly, Bernigaud passed away in November of 1971 before putting this into action. Magny-Cours circuit was thereafter managed by ASA Nivernais, and unfortunately by the 1980’s the track was in a bad condition.

The F1 circuit of Magny-Cours was later purchased by the Regional Conseil de la Nievre, and a project was set in place to revamp the circuit. Large amounts of money were invested in the track by interested parties, and the project included the construction of an industrial park, motor museum and 18-hole golf course.

The Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is now a top-class smooth circuit with excellent spectator facilities. In 1991 the French Grand Prix began being hosted at Magny-Cours Formula One track. The circuit is quite challenging as there are few opportunities for overtaking. Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours was witness to one of the greatest achievements in F1 – in 2006 Michael Schumacher was the first F1 driver to win a single Grand Prix 8 times. Races at Magny-Cours F1 track are always set to impress the crowds as are the fine facilities.

Shanghai International Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Viewed from overhead, the shape of Shanghai International Speedway is reminiscent of the Chinese symbol “Shang,” which translates as “high” or “above.” According to computer simulations, current-generation Formula 1 cars will lap the track in about 1:34 at an average speed close to 205 kilometers per hour (roughly 127.4 mph). On the longest, 1175 meter straight, which links Turns 13 and 14, cars should reach a maximum speed of 327 km/h (203mph). This distinctive speedway – which in sheer size will overshadow every other track in the Grand Prix of Nations – incorporates 14 wide-ranging corners, an equal blend of left and right-handers that combine to form a 5.45 kilometer (3.39 mile) lap.

The Shanghai International Speedway has an overall length of 5,451.24 meters and includes seven left and seven right turns. The longest straight runs parallel to the Dragster track between the turns T13 and T14 and has a length of 1.175 m. The standard width of the track is between 13 m and 15 m, expending up to 20 meters in turns, such as T13.

Further unique characteristics of the Shanghai International Speedway are turns with snail-like narrowing (T1 to T3), turns with snail-like expansion (T10 to T12) and two pointed turns (T5 and turn T13).

The axis of the Shanghai International Speedway is at its lowest point on + 4.50 meters above sea level, the highest point in T2 is on + 11.24 meters above sea level. The maximum upward slope amounts to 3%; the maximum downward slope to 8%, the transverse downward slope of the roadway is 2.5%.

The combination of turns and straight lines, with the rising and falling of the gradient, permits top speeds up to 327 km/h on the longest straight line (between T12 and T13) and a deceleration to 87 km/h is required by drivers in close turns.

The constant change between acceleration and deceleration sections, connected by high-speed sections, presents a challenge to driving skills, offers sufficient opportunities for overtaking maneuvers, resulting in an intense motor sport experience for spectators.

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