Monday, April 25, 2011

Circuit de Monaco

John Marine | 4/25/2011 04:26:00 AM |
(UPDATED: May 23, 2014)

The city-state of Monaco is home to the most prestigious street course that has hosted the Grand Prix de Monaco since 1929. It is the shortest track on the F1 calendar at 2.075 miles in length. The track itself is a punishing grind on narrow city streets with many elevation changes. While it may be just over 2 miles in length, laps seemingly feel long enough as most proper F1 circuits considering the punishment that cars go through racing this course. It is commonly referred to as Monte Carlo since the majority of the course is through Monte Carlo. However, this track utilizes both Monte Carlo and La Condamine. Monte Carlo, though, is only part of The Principality of Monaco. This blog post is a continuation of my Race Tracks blog label as it's all about Circuit de Monaco.

Information Credit:

Most of my information taken from Wikipedia's entry on Circuit de Monaco.


MAY 23 2014 - removed a link

--- Circuit de Monaco ---

Monaco is a playground for the rich, but it also makes for a great racing facility. Here is today's facility:

Circuit de Monaco
^ from: - Monaco's rich and exotic appeal takes on a different character when it's Grand Prix weekend. It's been this way since 1929.

The original Circuit de Monaco was run between 1929 and 1972 and was 1.954 miles in length. The circuit has since gone through four different variations. Today's Circuit de Monaco is the fifth variation of this course. Circuit de Monaco is a 19-turn racing roller coaster ride with lots of stop-and-go action. The beauty of this course lies in all of the lovely urban scenery whizzing by while at speed. Many beautiful buildings and views make this track truly spectacular. Just the feeling of racing full speed in a very rich locale like Monte Carlo is enough to get any racing fan excited. The most iconic element of this course is the high-speed drive through the tunnel. As soon as you come out of the tunnel, it's like a light being turned on right in your face. I think that many tracks (especially fictional ones in video games) were certainly inspired to have tunnels because of Circuit de Monaco's tunnel. I think the coastal parts of the track (Turns 10 through Turn 17) that make up part of the Port of Monaco are iconic in the character of Monaco and this course. This watery view likely have been inspiration for the Yas Marina Circuit to have its own pier and harbor. So in a lot of ways, Circuit de Monaco is very much a godfather for inspiration for many different courses, both fictional and real.

Having played this track in a number of racing games including Gran Turismo games (where it is called Côte d'Azur), you need the best of EVERYTHING to make the most of lap times around Circuit de Monaco. That includes aerodynamics, tires, suspension, and especially brakes. You'll have to get up to speed quickly while also taking on the undulating roads and sharp corners. The very first corner is very abrupt and tight. Be thankful there's no guard rail to make this corner blind. Otherwise, crashing would be guaranteed! The parts of the track I've struggled the most with are Mirabeau Haute (Turn 5), the super-slow Grand Hotel Hairpin (Turn 6), and especially the Nouvelle Chicane (Turn 10- the first turn after the tunnel). The Nouvelle Chicane is too easy to overshoot. And sometimes, you can't help but overshoot the chicane. It just comes up too abruptly to where you wish this corner wasn't even there. La Rascasse (Turn 17) can be super-slow as well. There is not one easy section on this track except for maybe the deceptive kink in the tunnel. This is NOT a track for novices.

Video Preview.

It's now time for you to experience what many an F1 racer has experienced. The narrow and twisty streets of Monte Carlo are here for you to experience in this video lap. This is Mark Webber in 2010:

And here is a bonus video! Several games were inspired by, or feature Circuit de Monaco. One of them was "Super Monaco GP." This game features a fictional race track inspired by Circuit de Monaco. For some funny reason, you have to qualify on a shorter configuration, then take on the full track for three laps. To be able to complete the race, you must be placed higher than the Position Limit. You need to constantly improve your position to avoid having to retire. This is a video showcasing the arcade version of this 1989 Sega game:

If you want to see a longer video featuring this game, check out this longer video of the arcade version of Super Monaco GP.

Lap Record.

The current lap record around the current Circuit de Monaco was set by Michael Schumacher in 2004. Racing for Scuderia Ferrari, he clocked a lap of 1:14.439 around Circuit de Monaco.

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