Fuji Speedway is a motorsport race track standing in the foothills of Mount Fuji, in Oyama, Suntō District, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. It was built in the early 1960s. In the 1980s, Fuji Speedway was used for national racing. Managed by Mitsubishi Estate Co. Fuji Speedway was acquired by Toyota Motor Corporation in 2000; the circuit hosted the Formula One Japanese Grand Prix in 2007, after an absence of 30 years, replacing the Suzuka Circuit, owned by Honda. After Fuji Speedway hosted the 2008 race, the Japanese Grand Prix returned to Suzuka for the 2009-onward races; the Super GT Fuji 500 km race is held at the racetrack on Golden Week. Fuji Speedway has one of the longest straights in motorsport tracks, at 1.475 km in length. The circuit has FIA Grade 1 license. Fuji Speedway Corporation was established as Japan NASCAR Corporation. At first, the circuit was planned to hold NASCAR-style races in Japan. Therefore, the track was designed to be a 4 km high-banked superspeedway, but there was not enough money to complete the project and thus only one of the bankings was designed.
Mitsubishi Estate Co. invested in the circuit and took over the reins of management in October 1965. Converted to a road course, the circuit opened in December 1965 and proved to be somewhat dangerous with the banked turn resulting in major accidents. Vic Elford said: "In 1969 I spent two months in Japan doing a test contract for Toyota and their Toyota 7, which along with a big Nissan, was destined for CanAm. My last testing and the subsequent Sports Car GP were at Fuji, but the track was run in a clockwise direction; the reason that banking was so horrific, was that at the end of the straight we went over a blind crest at around 190/200 mph and dropped into the banking. At other tracks you climb up the banking. One of the results was that although there were many brave Japanese drivers there were not too many with great skill and the death toll from that one corner was horrendous. To such an extent that the big Gp 7 cars were banned in Japan and thus, neither Nissan or Toyota made it to CanAm."
After a double fatal accident in 1974 on the Daiichi banking where drivers Hiroshi Kazato and Seiichi Suzuki were both killed in a fiery accident that injured 6 other people, a new part of track was built to counteract the problem, the resultant 4.359 km course which eliminated 5 other fast corners proved more successful. In 1966, the track hosted a USAC Indy Car non-championship race, won by Jackie Stewart; the track had a 24-hour race in 1967. The speedway brought the first Formula One race to Japan at the end of the 1976 season; the race had a dramatic World Championship battle between James Hunt and Niki Lauda, in awful rainy conditions, Hunt earned enough points to win the title. Mario Andretti won the race, with Lauda withdrawing due to the dangerous conditions. In 1977, Gilles Villeneuve was involved in a crash that killed two spectators on the side of the track, leading to Formula One leaving the speedway; when Japan earned another race on the F1 schedule ten years it went to Suzuka instead.
The Grand Prix returned to Fuji in 2007. Fuji remained a popular sports car racing venue and FIA World Sportscar Championship visited the track between 1982–1988 and it was used for national races. Speeds continued to be high, two chicanes were added to the track, one just past the first hairpin corner, the second at the entry to the long fast final turn, but with these changes the main feature of the track remained its 1.5 km long straight, one of the longest in all of motorsports. The long pit straight has been utilised for drag racing. NHRA exhibitions were run in 1989, in 1993 Shirley Muldowney ran a 5.30 on the quarter-mile strip at Fuji. Local drag races are common on the circuit; the track continues to be used for Japanese national races, but plans to host a CART event in 1991 were abandoned and it was not until the autumn of 2000 that the majority of the stocks of the track was bought by Toyota from Mitsubishi Estate, as part of its motor racing plans for the future. On May 3, 1998 there was a multi-car crash during a parade lap before a JGTC race, caused by a pace car going at twice the recommended speed in torrential rain.
Ferrari driver Tetsuya Ota suffered serious burns over his entire body after being trapped in his car for 90 seconds. Porsche driver Tomohiko Sunako fractured his right leg. In 2003 the circuit was closed down to accommodate a major reprofiling of the track, using a new design from Hermann Tilke; the track was reopened on April 10, 2005. The circuit hosted its first Formula One championship event in 29 years on September 30, 2007. In circumstances similar to Fuji's first Grand Prix in 1976, the race was run in heavy rain and mist and the first 19 laps were run under the safety car, in a race won by Lewis Hamilton; the circuit has always hosted the NISMO Festival for historic Nissan racers, since the takeover and refurbishment in 2003, the event took place at TI Circuit. When the festival returned in 2005, the organisers allowed the circuit owner to bring in their Toyota 7 CanAm racer to re-enact the old Japanese GP battle. Toyota hosts its own historic event a week before the NISMO festival called Toyota Motorsports Festival.
Close to the circuit is a drifting course, built as part of the refurbishment under the supervision of "Drift King" Keiichi Tsuchiya. The short course nearby was built under the supervision of former works driver and Super GT team manager Masanori Sekiya and there is a Toyota Safety Education Center, a mini circuit. In addition to m
World Sportscar Championship
The World Sportscar Championship was the world series run for sports car racing by the FIA from 1953 to 1992. The championship evolved from a small collection of the most important sportscar and road racing events in Europe and North America with dozens of gentleman drivers at the grid, to a professional racing series where the world's largest automakers spent millions of dollars per year; the official name of the series changed throughout the years, however it has been known as the World Sportscar Championship from its inception in 1953. The World Sportscar Championship was, with the Formula One World Championship, one of the two major world championships in circuit motor racing. In 2012 the World Sportscar Championship was revived and renamed as the World Endurance Championship. Among others, the following races counted towards the championships in certain years: 24 Hours of Le Mans 1953– Mille Miglia 1953–1957 1000 km Nürburgring 1953– RAC Tourist Trophy 1953–1964 12 Hours of Sebring 1953– Carrera Panamericana 1953–1954 Targa Florio 1955–1973 1000 km Monza 1963– 1000 km Spa 1963– 12 Hours of Reims 1964–1965 24 Hours of Daytona 1966–1981 1000 km Buenos Aires 1954–1972 1000 km Zeltweg 1966–1976 1000 km Fuji 1983–1988 Norisring 200 Miles 1984–1988 Watkins Glen 6 Hours 1968-1971,1973-1980 In the early years, now legendary races such as the Mille Miglia, Carrera Panamericana and Targa Florio were part of the calendar, alongside the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Tourist Trophy and Nurburgring 1000 km.
Manufacturers such as Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Aston Martin fielded entries featuring professional racing drivers with experience in Formula One, but the majority of the fields were made up of gentleman drivers in the likes of Nardis and Bandinis. Cars were split into Sports Car and GT categories and were further divided into engine displacement classes; the Ferrari and Maserati works teams were fierce competitors throughout much of the decade, but although Maserati cars won many races the make never managed to clinch the World title. The Mercedes-Benz work team pulled out of the championship after 1955 due to their crash at Le Mans, while the small Aston Martin factory team struggled to find success in 1957 and 1958 until it managed to win the championship in 1959. Notably absent from the overall results were the Jaguar works team, who did not enter any events other than Le Mans, despite the potential of the C- and D-Types. In 1962, the calendar was expanded to include smaller races, while the FIA shifted the focus to production based GT cars.
The World Sportscar Championship title was discontinued, being replaced by the International Championship for GT Manufacturers. They group cars into three categories with specific engine sizes. Hillclimbs, sprint races and smaller races expanded the championship, which now had about 15 races per season; the famous races like Le Mans still counted towards the prototype championship, the points valuation wasn't tabular so the FIA returned to the original form of the championship with about 6 to 10 races. For 1963 the three engine capacity classes remained. For 1965 the engine classes became for cars under 1300 cc, under 2000 cc, over 2000 cc. Class III was designed to attract more American manufacturers, with no upper limit on engine displacement; the period between 1966 and 1971 was the most successful era of the World Championship, with S and P classes, cars such as the Ferrari 512S, Ferrari 330 P4, Ford GT40, Lola T70, Alfa Romeo 33, Porsche's 908 and the 917 battled for supremacy on classic circuits such as Sebring, Nürburgring, Spa-Francorchamps, Targa Florio, Le Mans, in what is now considered the Golden Age of sports car racing.
In 1972 the Group 6 Prototype and Group 5 Sports Car classes were both replaced by a new Group 5 Sports Car class. These cars were limited to 3.0 L engines by the FIA, manufacturers lost interest. The new Group 5 Sports Cars, together with Group 4 Grand Touring Cars, would contest the FIA's newly renamed World Championship for Makes from 1972 to 1975. From 1976 to 1981 the World Championship for Makes was open to Group 5 Special Production Cars and other production based categories including Group 4 Grand Touring cars and it was during this period that the nearly-invincible Porsche 935 dominated the championship. Prototypes returned in 1976 as Group 6 cars with their own series, the World Championship for Sports Cars, but this was to last only for two seasons. In 1981, the FIA instituted a drivers championship. In 1982, the FIA attempted to counter a worrying climb in engine output of the Group 5 Special Production Cars by introducing Group C, a new category for closed sports-prototypes that limited fuel consumption.
While this change was unwelcome amongst some of the private teams, manufacturer support for the new regulations was immense. Several of the'old guard' manufacturers returned to the WSC within the next two years, with each marque adding to the diversity of the series. Under the new rules, it was theoretically possible for aspirated engines to compete with the forced induction engines that had dominated the series in the'70s and early'80s. In addition, most races ran for either 500 or 1000 km going over three and six hours so it was possible to emphasize the "endurance" aspect of the competition as well. Group B cars, a GT class, were allowed to race, but entries in thi
Autopolis is an international racing circuit located near Kamitsue village in Ōita Prefecture, Japan. Opened in 1990, it hosts a range of domestic and international motorsport events throughout the year. Although the track meets a high standard in terms of its facilities, it has never hosted a Formula One race. Due to the circuit ending up in financial difficulties, it has changed hands several times but still operates to this day; the circuit, located within Aso Kujiyu National Park, was built at a cost of $500 million by the wealthy real-estate developer and investment banker Tomonori Tsurumaki who made headlines in 1989, when during a Paris auction, he bid a Pablo Picasso painting Les Noces de Pierrette for $51.3 million from his Tokyo hotel room. Following his successful bid, he announced that his painting was to hang at the art gallery of the auto racing resort, under development at the time; the circuit was designed by Yoshitoshi Sakurai, the project leader of the Honda F1 team during the 1960s.
Tsurumaki ordered 30 Buick powered US built single seater race cars called "Sabre Cars" for a race to take place on his circuit's grand opening, on November 1990 consisting of a mixture of invited US CART drivers such as Stan Fox, Johnny Rutherford, Dick Simon and Tony Bettenhausen, against local Japanese drivers. After the grand opening, Tsurumaki planned on a series with the cars, known as Formula Crane 45. A few races were run with only a handful of cars competing; the only major international race held at Autopolis was the 1991 World Sportscar Championship season final race, the 1991 430km of Autopolis, won by Michael Schumacher and Karl Wendlinger in a Mercedes-Benz C291 fielded by Sauber. To promote the venue's intention to host a Formula One race, it sponsored the Benetton Formula One team in 1990 and 1991; the cars featured prominent Autopolis logos. Visitors criticized the track for being too remote to the hotels which required a several hours bus ride and felt that it was unsuitable for an F1 race.
By hopes were fading, Tsurumaki turned up at the 1992 Portuguese Grand Prix. Whilst staying in Estoril, $250,000 of cash and jewels was stolen from his hotel room. Tsurumaki invested in race horse A. P. Indy and paintings of renowned painters such as Picasso, Van Gogh, Chagall and Magritte before his company, Nippon Tri-Trust collapsed, leading to his bankruptcy in 1993; the circuit plus the paintings and contents ended up in the hands of Hazama, responsible for the construction of the race track. TI Circuit Aida would host a second Japanese race in Formula One calendar in 1994, but suffered from the same location-related criticism and was removed at the end of the following season. By 1995, the company offered the site for sale at 10% of its build cost which consisted of three hotels, swimming pools and an artificial ski slope; the paintings by remained in a bank vault waiting to be sold. Autopolis was purchased by Kawasaki in 2005; the circuit holds events for the Super GT as well as Super Formula, MFJ Superbike and Super Taikyu.
In March 2019, the circuit was featured in the video game Gran Turismo Sport through a game update. The circuit is located in an upland area of the island which means the air is thin with low atmospheric pressure, similar to Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City, it has an elevation change of over 50 metres with the first section downhill and the latter part of the course runs uphill. Official website in Japanese Circuit map and full history at RacingCircuits.info Article about the origins of the Autopolis circuit Circuits' Map Satellite picture by Google Maps
Circuit de la Sarthe
The Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans known as Circuit de la Sarthe located in Le Mans, France, is a semi-permanent motorsport race course chiefly known as the venue for the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race. Comprising private, race-specific sections of track in addition to public roads which remain accessible most of the year, its present configuration is 13.626 kilometres long, making it one of the longest circuits in the world. Capacity of the race stadium, where the short Bugatti Circuit is situated, is 100,000; the Musée des 24 Heures du Mans is a motorsport museum located at the main entrance of the venue. Up to 85% of the lap time is spent on full throttle, putting immense stress on engine and drivetrain components. Additionally, the times spent reaching maximum speed mean tremendous wear on the brakes and suspension as cars must slow from over 320 km/h to around 100 km/h for the sharp corner at the village of Mulsanne; the road racing track, a triangle from Le Mans down south to Mulsanne, northwest to Arnage, back north to Le Mans, has undergone many modifications over the years, with CIRCUIT N° 16 being in use since 2018.
With the modifications put in place over the years, the Sarthe circuit is still known for being fast, with prototype cars achieving average lap speeds in excess of 240 km/h. In the 1920s, the cars drove from the present pits on Rue de Laigné straight into the city, after a sharp right-hand corner near the river Sarthe Pontlieue bridge, before exiting the city again on the rather straight section now named Avenue Georges Durand after the race's founder. 17.261 kilometres long and unpaved, a bypass within the city shortened the track in 1929, but only in 1932 the city was bypassed when the section from the pits via the Dunlop Bridge and the Esses to Tertre Rouge was added. This classic configuration was 8.369 miles long and remained unaltered after the 1955 tragedy. Its frighteningly narrow pit straight was narrowed off to make room for the pits and was part of the road itself, without the road becoming wider just for the pits; the pit straight was about 12 feet wide and the race track and pits were not separated for another 15 years.
The pit area was modified at a cost of 300 million francs, the signalling area was moved to the exit of the slow Mulsanne corner, the track was resurfaced. Car speeds increased in the 1960s, pushing the limits of the "classic circuit" and sparking criticism of the track as being unsafe, after several trials related fatalities occurred. Since 1965, a smaller but permanent Bugatti Circuit was added which shares the pit lane facilities and the first corner with the full "Le Mans" circuit. For the 1968 race, the Ford chicane was added before the pits to slow down the cars; the circuit was fitted with Armco for the 1969 race. The "Maison Blanche" kink was harrowing, claiming many cars over the years and several lives, including the legendary John Woolfe in 1969 behind the wheel of a 917 Porsche; the circuit was modified ten more times—in 1971. Armco was added to the pit straight to separate the track from the pits, in 1972, the last part of the race track was revamped with the addition of the quick Porsche curves bypassing "Maison Blanche" and part of the first straight and all of the second straight between the pits and Maison Blanche.
In 1979, due to the construction of a new public road, the profile of "Tertre Rouge" had to be changed. This redesign saw the removal of the second Dunlop Bridge. In 1986, construction of a new roundabout at the Mulsanne corner demanded the addition a new portion of track in order to avoid the roundabout; this created a right hand kink prior to Mulsanne corner. In 1987, a chicane was added to the fast Dunlop curve where cars would go under the Dunlop bridge at 180 mph, now they would be slowed to 110 mph. In 1990, two chicanes were added onto the Mulsanne Straight, in 1994, the Dunlop chicane was tightened. In 2002, the run to the Esses was reconfigured in the wake of renovations to the Bugatti Circuit; the Le Mans circuit was changed between the Dunlop Bridge and Esses, with the straight now becoming a set of fast sweeping turns. This layout allowed for a better transition from the Le Mans circuit to the Bugatti circuit; this layout change would require the track's infamous carnival to be relocated near the Porsche curves, in 2006, the ACO redeveloped the area around the Dunlop Curve and Dunlop Chicane, moving the Dunlop Curve in tighter to create more run-off area, while turning the Dunlop Chicane into a larger set of turns.
As part of the development, a new extended pit lane exit was created for the Bugatti Circuit. This second pit exit re-enters the track just beyond the Dunlop Chicane and before the Dunlop Bridge. Following the fatal crash of Danish driver Allan Simonsen at the 2013 race at the exit of Tertre Rouge into D338, Tertre Rouge was re-profiled again; the radius will be moved in 200m for safety reasons with new tyre barriers at the exit. Le Mans was most famous for its 6 km long straight, called Ligne Droite des Hunaudières, a part of the route départementale D338; as the Hunaudières leads to the village of Mulsanne, it is called the Mulsanne Straight in English
Rome is the capital city and a special comune of Italy. Rome serves as the capital of the Lazio region. With 2,872,800 residents in 1,285 km2, it is the country's most populated comune, it is the fourth most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. It is the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, which has a population of 4,355,725 residents, thus making it the most populous metropolitan city in Italy. Rome is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio, along the shores of the Tiber; the Vatican City is an independent country inside the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been defined as capital of two states. Rome's history spans 28 centuries. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe; the city's early population originated from a mix of Latins and Sabines.
The city successively became the capital of the Roman Kingdom, the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, is regarded by some as the first metropolis. It was first called The Eternal City by the Roman poet Tibullus in the 1st century BC, the expression was taken up by Ovid and Livy. Rome is called the "Caput Mundi". After the fall of the Western Empire, which marked the beginning of the Middle Ages, Rome fell under the political control of the Papacy, in the 8th century it became the capital of the Papal States, which lasted until 1870. Beginning with the Renaissance all the popes since Nicholas V pursued over four hundred years a coherent architectural and urban programme aimed at making the city the artistic and cultural centre of the world. In this way, Rome became first one of the major centres of the Italian Renaissance, the birthplace of both the Baroque style and Neoclassicism. Famous artists, painters and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city.
In 1871, Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, which, in 1946, became the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. In 2016, Rome ranked as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, the most popular tourist attraction in Italy, its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The famous Vatican Museums are among the world's most visited museums while the Colosseum was the most popular tourist attraction in world with 7.4 million visitors in 2018. Host city for the 1960 Summer Olympics, Rome is the seat of several specialized agencies of the United Nations, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development; the city hosts the Secretariat of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean as well as the headquarters of many international business companies such as Eni, Enel, TIM, Leonardo S.p. A. and national and international banks such as Unicredit and BNL.
Its business district, called EUR, is the base of many companies involved in the oil industry, the pharmaceutical industry, financial services. Rome is an important fashion and design centre thanks to renowned international brands centered in the city. Rome's Cinecittà Studios have been the set of many Academy Award–winning movies. According to the founding myth of the city by the Ancient Romans themselves, the long-held tradition of the origin of the name Roma is believed to have come from the city's founder and first king, Romulus. However, it is a possibility that the name Romulus was derived from Rome itself; as early as the 4th century, there have been alternative theories proposed on the origin of the name Roma. Several hypotheses have been advanced focusing on its linguistic roots which however remain uncertain: from Rumon or Rumen, archaic name of the Tiber, which in turn has the same root as the Greek verb ῥέω and the Latin verb ruo, which both mean "flow". There is archaeological evidence of human occupation of the Rome area from 14,000 years ago, but the dense layer of much younger debris obscures Palaeolithic and Neolithic sites.
Evidence of stone tools and stone weapons attest to about 10,000 years of human presence. Several excavations support the view that Rome grew from pastoral settlements on the Palatine Hill built above the area of the future Roman Forum. Between the end of the bronze age and the beginning of the Iron age, each hill between the sea and the Capitol was topped by a village. However, none of them had yet an urban quality. Nowadays, there is a wide consensus that the city developed through the aggregation of several villages around the largest one, placed above the Palatine; this aggregation was facilitated by the increase of agricultural productivity above the subsistence level, which allowed the establishment of secondary and tertiary activities. These in turn boosted the development of trade with the Greek colonies of southern Italy; these developments, which according to archaeological ev
Autodromo Nazionale Monza
The Autodromo Nazionale Monza is a historic race track located near the city of Monza, north of Milan, in Italy. Built in 1922, it is the world's third purpose-built motor racing circuit after those of Brooklands and Indianapolis; the circuit's biggest event is the Formula One Italian Grand Prix. With the exception of 1980, the race has been hosted there since the series's inception. Built in the Royal Villa of Monza park in a woodland setting, the site has three tracks – the 5.793-kilometre Grand Prix track, the 2.405-kilometre Junior track, a 4.250-kilometre high speed oval track with steep bankings, unused for many decades and is now decaying. The major features of the main Grand Prix track include the Curva Grande, the Curva di Lesmo, the Variante Ascari and the Curva Parabolica; the high speed curve, Curva Grande, is located after the Variante del Rettifilo, located at the end of the front straight or Rettifilo Tribune, is taken flat out by Formula One cars. Drivers are on full throttle for most of the lap due to its long straights and fast corners, is the scenario in which the open-wheeled Formula One cars show the raw speed of which they are capable: 372 kilometres per hour during the mid-2000s V10 engine formula, although in 2012 with the 2.4L V8 engines, top speeds in Formula One reached over 340 kilometres per hour.
The circuit is flat, but has a gradual gradient from the second Lesmos to the Variante Ascari. Due to the low aerodynamic profile needed, with its resulting low downforce, the grip is low. Since both maximum power and minimal drag are keys for speed on the straights, only competitors with enough power or aerodynamic efficiency at their disposal are able to challenge for the top places. In addition to Formula One, the circuit hosted the 1000 km Monza, endurance sports car race held as part of the World Sportscar Championship and the Le Mans Series. Monza featured the unique Race of Two Worlds events, which attempted to run Formula One and USAC National Championship cars against each other; the racetrack previously held rounds of the Grand Prix motorcycle racing, World Touring Car Championship, TCR International Series, Superbike World Championship, Formula Renault 3.5 Series and Auto GP. Monza hosts rounds of the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, International GT Open and Euroformula Open Championship, as well as various local championships such as the TCR Italian Series, Italian GT Championship, Porsche Carrera Cup Italia and Italian F4 Championship.
The Monza circuit has been the site of many fatal accidents in the early years of the Formula One world championship, has claimed the lives of 52 drivers and 35 spectators. Track modifications have continuously occurred, to improve spectator safety and reduce curve speeds, but it is still criticised by the current drivers for its lack of run-off areas, most notoriously at the chicane that cuts the Variante della Roggia; the first track was built from May to July 1922 by 3,500 workers, financed by the Milan Automobile Club – which created the Società Incremento Automobilismo e Sport to run the track. The initial form was a 3.4 square kilometres site with 10 kilometres of macadamised road – comprising a 4.5 kilometres loop track, a 5.5 kilometres road track. The track was opened on 3 September 1922, with the maiden race the second Italian Grand Prix held on 10 September 1922. In 1928, the most serious Italian racing accident to date ended in the death of driver Emilio Materassi and 27 spectators at that year's Grand Prix.
The accident led to further Grand Prix races confinement to the high-speed loop until 1932. The 1933 race was marked by the deaths of three drivers and the Grand Prix layout was changed, with two chicanes added and the longer straights removed. There was major rebuilding in 1938–39, constructing new stands and entrances, resurfacing the track, moving portions of the track and adding two new bends; the resulting layout gave a Grand Prix lap of 6.300 kilometres, in use until 1954. The outbreak of World War II meant racing at the track was suspended until 1948 and parts of the circuit degraded due to the lack of maintenance. Monza was renovated over a period of two months at the beginning of 1948 and a Grand Prix was held on 17 October 1948. In 1954, work began to revamp the circuit, resulting in a 5.750 kilometres course, a new 4.250 kilometres high-speed oval with banked sopraelevata curves. The two circuits could be combined to re-create the former 10 kilometres long circuit, with cars running parallel on the main straight.
The track infrastructure was updated and improved to better accommodate the teams and spectators. The Automobile Club of Italy held 500-mile Race of Two Worlds exhibition competitions, intended to pit United States Auto Club IndyCars against European Formula One and sports cars; the races were held on the oval at the end of June in 1957 and 1958, with three 63 lap 267.67 kilometres heat races each year, races which colloquially became known as the Monzanapolis series. Concerns were raised among the European drivers that flat-out racing on the banking would be too dangerous, so only Ecurie Ecosse and Maserati represented European racing at the
Suzuka International Racing Course
The Suzuka International Racing Course is a motorsport race track located in Ino, Suzuka City, Mie Prefecture and operated by Mobilityland Corporation, a subsidiary of Honda Motor Co, Ltd. It has a capacity of 155,000. Soichiro Honda decided to develop a new permanent circuit in Mie prefecture in the late 1950s. Designed as a Honda test track in 1962 by Dutchman John "Hans" Hugenholtz, Suzuka is one of few circuits in the world to have a "figure eight" layout, with the 1.2 km back straight passing over the front section by means of an overpass. The circuit has been modified four times: In 1983 a chicane was put at the last curve to slow the cars into the pit straight and the Degner curve was made into two corners instead of one long curve. Following the death of Daijiro Kato at the 2003 Japanese motorcycle Grand Prix, Suzuka reconfigured the motorcycle variant of what is now known as the Hitachi Automotive Systems Chicane before the final turn, added a second chicane, between the hairpin and 200R.
The circuit can be used in five configurations. The "east" portion of the course consists of the pit straight to the first half of the Dunlop curve, before leading back to the pit straight via a tight right-hander; the "west" course is made up of the other part including the crossover bridge. The chicane between the hairpin and 200R separates the west and full course sections between cars and motorcycles; the Degner curve was named in honour of Ernst Degner after he crashed his factory Suzuki 50 there during Suzuka's inaugural All Japan Championship Road Race meeting on 3 November 1962. Suzuka touted by F1 drivers and fans as one of the most enjoyed, is one of the oldest remaining tracks of the Formula One World Championship, so has a long history of races as venue of the Japanese Grand Prix since 1987, 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 in 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 were still held. The track held a re-opening day on April 12, 2009. Suzuka hosts other motorsport events including the Suzuka 1000 km endurance race. 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, is the only race of such length in that series. In 2010, the GT500 pole position time was 1:55.237. In 2007, the GT300 pole position time was 2:06.838. Another major motorsport event is the Suzuka 8 Hours for motorcycles, run since 1978.
This event attracts big name riders and with the exception of 2005, due to the importance of the major manufacturers' involvement, the FIM ensures that no motorcycle races clash on the date. NASCAR organized the NASCAR Thunder 100, a pair of exhibition 100-lap races on the east circuit, a 1.4 miles 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. The pole position speed was 83.079 miles per hour. 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, it was announced on June 21, 2010 that the east section of the Suzuka Circuit would host the Japan round of the 2011 WTCC season instead of the Okayama International Circuit.
At the 2012 event, the pole position time was 52.885 seconds, for an average speed of 94.875 miles per hour. Following two major accidents in 2002 and 2003, one of the main issues in safety has been at the corner 130R. In 2002, Toyota F1 driver Allan McNish suffered a high-speed crash through the bump, which sent him through a metal fence. Track officials revised the 130R, redesigning it as a double-apex section, one with an 85 metres radius, a second featuring a 340 metres radius, leading to a much closer Casio triangle, 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 brak