Friday, November 4, 2011

Bahrain International Circuit

John Marine | 11/04/2011 01:27:00 PM | |
The Kingdom of Bahrain joined the map of international motorsport when the magnificent Bahrain International Circuit (also known as the Sakhir Circuit) opened in 2004. This small island nation northwest of Qatar is home to one of the finest race tracks in the Middle East. It can be found in the city of Sakhir, Bahrain; which is 12 miles (or 19.31 kilometers) south-southwest from Bahrain's capital city of Manama. It has a variety of configurations ranging from the Grand Prix layout to the interior and exterior tracks. The Endurance layout of Bahrain extended the track from 3.36 miles (5.407 kilometers) to 3.91 miles (or approx. 6.3 kilometers), and extending the number of corners from 15 to 24. This Endurance configuration was used by Formula 1 for 2010. Newer F1 rules and the lengthened track resulted in a race so disliked that rather than call it the "Grand Prix of Bahrain," it was called the "Grand Prix of Boring." There was no 2011 Bahrain Grand Prix because of civil unrest in Bahrain at the time. Assuring Bahrain would have its Grand Prix for 2011, it was ultimately canceled. Bahrain will be the place to kick off the 2012 F1 season. Bahrain and the Bahrain International Circuit are the first to host modern F1 races in the Middle East. Prior to this, there was once a Formula 2(?) exhibition race in Israel in the 1970s.

This blog post is about the Bahrain International Circuit and will be the first of a brief series of two different Race Track posts regarding Middle East tracks. If you are from Bahrain and you're reading this, I send you a special salute and special thanks for visiting John's Blog Space!

--- Bahrain International Circuit ---

Let's take a look at the Bahrain International Circuit:

Bahrain International Circuit Grand Prix
^ from: (best I could find) - The Grand Prix circuit of Bahrain International Circuit is 3.36 miles (5.407 kilometers) long.

Bahrain International Circuit Endurance Layout
^ from: (best I could find) - Bahrain's Endurance layout adds ten more corners after Turn 4 of the Grand Prix course and rejoins at Turn 5 of the Grand Prix course. The total length of this layout equates to a 3.914-mile (6.299-kilometer) layout.

The Bahrain International Circuit was constructed by Hermann Tilke. Ground broke at the track in 2002 and was open for business two years later. This course features a number of different layouts. Its unveiling would help to bring some more circuit motor racing to the Middle East. The primary Grand Prix circuit is 3.36 miles (5.407 kilometers) with some sixteen or so corners. Besides the GP circuit layout, there are about four other layouts:

• The Endurance layout of Bahrain starts at Turn 4 of the Grand Prix circuit and includes ten extra corners leading back onto Turn 5 of the Grand Prix course (Turn 14 of the Endurance course). This was the configuration Formula One raced on in 2010 to lukewarm reception with the new rules that disallowed refueling pit stops.

• From Turn 4 of the Grand Prix course to Turn 14 of the Grand Prix course, four more corners are added to make up the exterior course. The length of this exterior Bahrain course is an estimated 2.20 miles (3.53 kilometers) in length.

• Turns 5 through 13 of the Grand Prix course make up most of the short interior course of Bahrain.

• Finally, this course has a six-turn clockwise oval configuration that is about 1.25 miles (or about 2.01 kilometers) in length.

So when it comes to racing at Bahrain International Circuit, it is very adaptable for many kinds of racing.

In a way, Bahrain has a flow kind of like the Shanghai International Circuit, except that it doesn't have as many offbeat corners like Shanghai has. Turns 1, 4, and 10 of the original layout are the trickiest to me. It is easy to deceive Turns 14 and 15, which seems like a sharp right that is accompanied by a kink. That section is nowhere near as deceptive as... say, the final chicane at Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve. It has a very good balance of top speed with decisive corners.

Video Lap.

This is a video lap around Bahrain from 2006:

Lap Records.

(record as of the initial blog post (November 4, 2011))
The lap record around the Grand Prix circuit was set by Michael Schumacher in 2004 with a time of 1:30.252. He was racing his Scuderia Ferrari to set this lap time. The lap record around the Bahrain Endurance layout was set by another Ferrari. This time, by Fernando Alonso in 2010 with a lap time of 1:58.287.

That's the end of this one. Learn more about the Bahrain International Circuit by visiting Thank you for reading!

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