Bahrain International Circuit

February 9, 2009 by  
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Located in the Persian Gulf and linked to Saudi Arabia by the King Fahd Causeway, the Kingdom of Bahrain plays host to one of the F1 Grand Prix events each year at the Bahrain International Circuit. Bahrain not only hosts the annual Formula One Grand Prix, but it also caters for drag racing and GP2 series races. In 2006, Bahrain was also able to host a V8 Supercar race, the Desert 400, and a 24 Hour Race. Much of the racing takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit – a brilliant circuit that is a source of national pride.

It was the Crown Prince Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa who initiated the construction of the Bahrain Circuit. The project became a national objective for the Kingdom and a lot of effort was put into making it the best racetrack possible. As the Honorary President of the Bahrain Motor Federation, it was easy for the Crown Prince to see the need for a proper racetrack in the country. By the time that the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix was scheduled to take place in 2005, the racetrack was still not complete. However, it was advanced enough for the race to take place which is exactly what happened. The success was phenomenal and the track has hosted an annual Formula One race ever since.

As a desert track, the Bahrain International Circuit has posed rather unique challenges. For one thing, there were concerns that sand would blow onto the circuit and disrupt the races. Organisers managed to overcome this by spraying the sand surrounding the track with a special adhesive to prevent movement. The track was designed by the German architect Hermann Tilke and it cost roughly US $150 million to construct. The circuit features six separate tracks: a Grand Prix track, an inner track, an outer track, a paddock circuit, a drag strip and an oval track. The full circuit measures 6.4 kilometres in length and has 15 turns.

The Bahrain International Circuit hosted the opening race of the 2010 F1 Grand Prix Championship on 12-14 March, with Rubens Barrichello taking first place in his Cosworth-powered Williams.

Mugello Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Located in the beautiful Tuscany region of Italy, with its 5.245 mile track and a total variance in altitude of 41,19 meters, the Mugello Moto GP Circuit presents car and bike manufacturers with ideal conditions for rigorous testing and is regularly used by Ferrari for putting its F1 cars through their paces during development. So although Mugello is not a venue for an FIA Formula One World Championship race event, it is nonetheless closely linked with this exciting sport.

With a history going back to 1914, when the first race was held on a road circuit, Mugello has hosted some legendary drivers and seen the development of innovative racing cars through the decades. The World Wars interrupted events at Mugello, but during the sixties, large crowds of spectators were drawn by the excitement on the track as auto racing started to develop, going from strength to strength.

Today, Mugello Moto GP Circuit boasts up-to-date facilities and hosts a variety of events, as well as being the testing ground for some of the world’s most technologically advanced racing cars.

Pikes Peak International Raceway

February 9, 2009 by  
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Pikes Peak International Raceway was reopened in 2008 and is now under the ownership of a private company, Pikes Peak International Raceway, LLC.

Pikes Peak International Raceway is situated in Fountain, Colorado USA. Just to the north of Pueblo, but south of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak Raceway was originally the site of a horse racing track named Pikes Peak Meadows. The auto racing track of Pikes Peak was constructed in 1997 and was popular for many years. The speedway was purchased in 2005 by International Speedway Corporation who decided to close the facility down.

When Pikes Peak International Raceway was founded in 1997 it was the first super-speedway to be constructed in the Rocky Mountain area. The track itself was a 1 mile oval with a D-shape and a 1.315 mile road course. The width of the paved oval was 60-71 feet and the turns were at 10 degrees. Grandstands at Pikes Peak Raceway were able to accommodate some 42 000 spectators. Added to this was 31 luxury suites for VIP guests. A pedestrian tunnel provided access to the infield which had a care center along with a helipad. Also on the infield was a corporate village. Other convenient facilities at Pikes Peak super-speedway were the Pikes Peak Club, handicapped amenities and overnight RV spots.

A number of exciting races were held at the Pikes Peak International Raceway during its hey-day. Amongst these were IRL Series races, superbike events, sprint car races, midget car racing, the NASCAR Busch Series and many more. During its history there have been many great wins at Pike Peak. NASCAR Busch Series winners at Pikes Peak are as follows: 1998 – Matt Kenseth in a Chevrolet; 1999 – Andy Santerre in a Chevrolet; 2000 – Jeff Green in a Chevrolet; 2001 – Jeff Purvis in a Chevrolet; 2002 – Hank Parker Jr. in a Dodge; 2003 – Scott Wimmer in a Chevrolet; 2004 – Greg Biffle in a Ford and 2005 – David Green in a Ford. It would definitely appear that Chevrolet dominated the Pikes Peak speedway. Perhaps if the NASCAR track had continued operating, Ford would have taken the lead. Unfortunately, that theory will never be put to the test and Pikes Peak International Raceway will become a name mentioned in the history books of NASCAR racing.

Circuit de Catalunya

February 9, 2009 by  
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The Circuit de Catalunya is located in Barcelona, Spain. This impressive F1 track is amongst the most modern and is host to a number of renowned motor racing events. If you have the good fortune to attend a race at the Circuit de Catalunya F1 race track you will find that the 15 grandstands provide spectators with an awesome view of the action. This, together with other superb visitor facilities, ensure an enjoyable day of excitement.

Construction began on the Circuit de Catalunya in February 1989 through funding from the Montmelo Town Council, Catalan Government and Reial Automobil Club de Catalunya. The completed circuit was officially opened on 10 September 1991 with the first race being won by Luis Perez Sala. The circuit itself offers 3 different routes, namely the School track of 1.703 m, the National track of 3.067 m and Grand Prix track of 4.727 m. The Spanish Grand Prix held at Circuit de Catalunya covers a complete distance of 307.323 km with 65 laps. Currently the lap record for the F1 track is held by Michael Schumacher who made it in 1 min 17.481 seconds behind the wheel of a Ferrari. Circuit de Catalunya is also host to other competitive racing events, including those for motorcycles and 24 Hours Endurance. Located at the circuit is the Formula Renault RACC School.

Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona offers a marvelous Formula One race day adventure. Some 23 giant TV screens provide excellent views of the racing from all angles and are easily seen from around the track. During racing season ticket holders may be permitted to tours of the pit garages. Extensive public transport is provided for easy access to the F1 circuit. Disabled individuals are well catered for with special areas reserved for them. A special campsite is set up during the Grand Prix and is serviced with toilets and showers. A fine restaurant at the track has space for 200 people and there are also 8 bars. Formula One viewing is certainly a treat at Circuit de Catalunya. Not only are the facilities comfortable and convenient but the Spanish Grand Prix is always filled with excitement and thrills.

Interlagos Speedway

February 9, 2009 by  
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It was Emerson Fittipaldi’s tremendous championship performance on the international racing circuit in 1973 and ’74 that led to the creation of the Brazilian Grand Prix in the city of Sao Paulo – Fittipaldi’s home town.

With its 5-mile length, the Interlagos Speedway at Sao Paulo is one of the toughest tracks that racers face on the Grand Prix circuit. Sitting in a natural amphitheatre allows spectators a great view of the track from virtually anywhere, but from the vantage point of the driver’s seat, Interlagos is bumpy and irregular. Plus, running the track counter-clockwise and at a high altitude creates added challenges for drivers, as does the unrelenting heat and humidity.

In the early 1980s, Sao Paulo’s city council agreed to a $15m rebuilding program for the Interlagos Speedway, which by this time had fallen into some serious disrepair. It was decided not to retain the old circuit but use sections of it, linked by new sections of road. The new track turned sharply left just after the pits, before diving downhill through an S curve.

Taking a look at the track in modern times — the drivers jet out to the Descida do Sol, which suddenly drops downhill to the left. Then comes “S do Senna” (“Senna’s S”), a series of turns (left, right, then left again) that are considered extremely difficult because each of them has a different angle, a different radius, a different length, a different inclination (inward or outward) and a different shape (besides the terrain goes down and then up again).

“Senna’s S” connects with “Curva do Sol” (“Sun Turn”), a round-shaped large-radius left-turn that leads to “Reta Oposta”, the track’s longest (but not the fastest) straight line. Reta Oposta is succeeded by two leftwise, uphill turns that are called “Subida do Lago” (“Up to the Lake”) and then “Mergulho” (“Dive”), a short straight section that goes down again.

After “Mergulho” comes the slow section, the one most despised by inexperienced drivers for its sheer difficulty, with small, kart-like turns and unpredictable ups-and-downs. These turns are “Ferradura” (“Horseshoe”) rightwise and downhill in two steps; “Pinheirinho” (“Pine Tree”), an S-type section (right, then left) on a plain field; “Bico de Pato” (“Duck’s Beak”), two rightwise turns (one easy, the other very slow and difficult); and then two left turns forming a section called “Juncao” (Junction).

After the slow section begins the long, thrilling and dangerous top-speed section. The first step is “Subida dos Boxes” (“Up to the Pits”), a long, left turn that sometimes seems straight and sometimes bends in more clearly. As the name implies, Subida dos Boxes is uphill (quite steep, indeed) and demands a lot of power from the cars. At the end of it there are two turns (14 and 15) that form what was once called “Cotovelo” (“Elbow”) at this point the track seems inclined inwards (or somewhat crooked).

All in all, the local economy of Sao Paulo has benefited from the upgraded track, and visitors are sure to enjoy the thrills and excitement presented by the Brazilian Grand Prix.

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