Thursday, October 21, 2010

Autopolis International Circuit

John Marine | 10/21/2010 01:16:00 AM | |
Autopolis International Circuit is a challenging race course on the Japanese island of Kyushu. It was to be a prospective host for the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix, but never had that dream realized. It still remains a very tough 19-turn race course at 2.904 miles (or 4.673 kilometers). The track has been owned by Kawasaki since 2005 and was founded in 1990. Super GT racer, Michael Krumm, said that this track is like a Japanese Nürburgring. Besides various forms of circuit racing, it plays host to a round of the D1 Grand Prix This blog entry concerns the F1 Japanese Grand Prix track... that never hosted an F1 round.

--- Autopolis International Circuit ---
Let's take a look at this track's layout:
Autopolis map
^ from: - Autopolis International Circuit layout.

NOTE: This will be the first blog post in the Race Tracks category where I will forego giving a One-Lap Description.

Granted this track isn't legendary like Suzuka or Fuji, Autopolis is very much a track that will make you pay for not being alert at all times. In fact, many of Japan's race tracks are quite challenging in layout. Perhaps not European tough, they are still anything but easy. Autopolis certainly fits the bill as a competitive racing facility. I would think that because there hasn't been a great deal of activity in this track's bid to host a round of the F1 World Championship,

Here is a video lap, and pay no mind to what happens at the 0:40 mark. :) This was recorded in 2003:

There are many corners that just come up and bite you if you're not careful and alert here. If this is tough for closed-wheel cars, imagine how insane this track can be for open-wheel cars... especially if today's Formula 1 cars raced here!

Track Records.

The track record for the Autopolis full course is 1:27.188 by the Silk Cut Jaguar XJR-14 by Yannick Dalmas in 1991. The track record for Super GT cars are as follows: the fastest time for a GT500 car at Autopolis was 1:39.424 for a GT500 car (ZENT Cerumo Lexus SC430 driven by Yuji Tachikawa in 2007) and 1:48.847 for a GT300 car (houzan DUNLOP Nissan Fairlady Z by Kota Sasaki in 2007).

What if Autopolis Was Given a Second Chance at F1?

Considering a lot of people are disappointed with today's ultra-modern race courses lacking the character of classic F1 racing facilities, the chances would be quite minimal that Autopolis could be given that chance to host a round of the Formula 1 World Championship. However, let's say that an effort was made to renovate Autopolis from top to bottom to where it can fit in with most current F1 tracks (including Fuji and Suzuka)? Would it make a great venue? Oh, absolutely. This track has plenty of challenge and intrigue for it to be disregarded. To me, this track is as tricky to race and important to get right like Magny-Cours. And in a way, this track IS like a Japanese Nürburgring.

Autopolis can possibly be renovated to be a postmodern racing facility with great facilities worthy of a current F1 race. I think this is a great race track with a tough configuration. I'd like to see more series give this track a chance.

To learn more about Autopolis, visit Autopolis Circuit's official homepage (Japanese only) (hover over the link for more information). You can also Become a Fan/Like of Autopolis on Facebook. Thank you for reading!

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