Fuji Speedway

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Coordinates: 35°22′18″N 138°55′36″E / 35.37167°N 138.92667°E / 35.37167; 138.92667

Fuji International Speedway
Fuji.svg
Location Oyama, Suntō District, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan
Time zone GMT +9
Major Events Japanese Grand Prix, JLMC, Japan GT
5th and current configuration (2005–present)
Circuit Length 4.563 km (2.835 mi)
Turns 16
Lap Record 1:18.426 (Brazil Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 2008)
4th configuration (1993–2004)
Circuit Length 4.469 km (2.777 mi)
Turns 12
Lap Record 1:14.854 (Japan Takuya Kurosawa, Lola, Formula 3000, 2008 )
3rd configuration (1985–1992)
Circuit Length 4.440 km (2.759 mi)
Turns 10
Lap Record 1:14:088 (Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Nissan R92CP, JSPC, 1992 )
2nd configuration (1974–1984)
Circuit Length 4.360 km (2.709 mi)
Turns 8
Lap Record 1:10.02 (Germany Stefan Bellof, Porsche 956, Mount Fuji 1000 km, 1983 )
Original circuit (1965–1973)
Circuit Length 6 km (3.728 mi)
Turns 15
Lap Record 1:32:57 (Australia Vern Schuppan, March-Ford F2, 1973 )

Fuji Speedway (富士スピードウェイ Fuji Supīdowei?) is a race track standing in the foothills of Mount Fuji, in Oyama, Suntō District, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. It was built in the early 1960s and hosted the first Formula One race in Japan in 1976. In the 1980s, Fuji Speedway was used for the FIA World Sportscar Championship and national racing. When it first opened, it was managed by Mitsubishi. Fuji Speedway was purchased by Toyota Motor Corporation in 2000. Fuji Speedway is known for having one of the longest straights in motorsport tracks, at 1.5 km (0.93 mi) in length.[1]

History[change | change source]

F1 launches in Japan[change | change source]

Main gate of the circuit

Fuji Speedway Corporation was established in 1963, as Japan NASCAR Corporation. At first, the circuit was planned to hold NASCAR-style races in Japan. The track was designed to be a 4 km (2.5 mi) high-banked superspeedway. There was not enough money to complete the project and only one of the banked turns was ever designed. Mitsubishi Estate Co. (a part of Mitsubishi) invested in the circuit. They took over the management rights on October 1965.

The track was converted to a road course. Fuji speedway opened in December 1965. The banked turn was somewhat dangerous, and caused several major accidents. According to Vic Elford "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 (Daytona, Monthlery, etc.) you climb up the banking."

A new part of track was built to fix the problem. The new 4.359 km (2.709 mi) course was more successful. In 1966, the track hosted a USAC Indy Car non-championship race, won by Jackie Stewart. The speedway brought the first Formula One race to Japan at the end of the 1976 season. Mario Andretti won the race, and James Hunt earned enough points to win the world championship title.

In 1977 Gilles Villeneuve was involved in a crash that killed two spectators on the side of the track. Formula One stopped racing at the speedway and Japan. When Japan was added back to the F1 schedule ten years later, it went to Suzuka instead. F1 didn't return to Fuji until 2007.

National racing venue[change | change source]

Fuji Speedway former layouts: Red 1965–1985, Green 1986–2004
The abandoned "30° Bank" of the old track

Fuji remained a popular sports car racing venue. FIA World Sportscar Championship visited the track between 1982–1988. Fuji was often used for national races. Two chicanes were added to the track to slow down the speeds. Even with these changes, the main feature of the track remained its long 1.5 km (0.93 mi) straight, one of the longest in all of motorsports.

The long pit straight has also been used for drag racing. NHRA exhibitions were run in 1989. Local drag races are common on the circuit.

The track is still used for Japanese national races. In 2000 the majority of the shares of stock were bought by Toyota.[2] Toyota was making plans for future motor racing.

Renovations[change | change source]

In 2003 the circuit was closed to for a major reprofiling of the track. A new design from Hermann Tilke was used. The circuit reopened on 10 April 2005. It hosted its first Formula One championship event in 29 years on 30 September 2007. The race won by Lewis Hamilton.

Rebuilt grandstand in the 2000s

The circuit hosts the NISMO Festival for historic Nissan racers. Toyota also hosts its own historic event a week before the NISMO called Toyota Motorsports Festival. Nearby is a drifting course, which was built as part of the refurbishment.

The only time the circuit is run on a reverse direction is during the D1 Grand Prix drifting round.[3] The series has hosted its rounds since 2003, with the exception of the 2004 closure. The circuit became the first to take place on an international level racetrack[3] and the first of the three to take place on an F1 circuit.

As part of the 2003 renovations, most of the old banked section of track was removed. Only a small section remains.

Following both poor ticket sales and bad weather it was decided by FOM that the Japanese Grand Prix would be shared between Fuji Speedway and Suzuka on alternate years. Suzuka would hold the next race on 4 October 2009. After the global recession and its own financial problems, Toyota decided to stop hosting of Japanese Grand Prix.[4]

Records[change | change source]

Category Record Driver Car Date
1974–1984[5]
World Sportscar Championship 1:10.02 Germany Stefan Bellof Porsche 956 1 October 1983
Formula One 1:12.23 United States Mario Andretti Lotus 78-Ford 22 October 1977
Formula Two 1:12.62 United Kingdom Geoff Lees March 832-Honda/Mugen 14 August 1983
1984–1992[6]
All Japan Sports Prototype Championship 1:14.088 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Nissan R92CP 2 May 1992
Formula Two 1:18.31 Japan Satoru Nakajima March 842-Honda/Mugen 15 April 1984
Fuji Grand Champion Series 1:21.800 Japan Masanori Sekiya March 89GC Mugen 29 October 1989
1993–2003[6]
Formula 3000 1:14.854 Japan Takuya Kurosawa Lola T92 10 April 1993
Formula Nippon 1:15.304 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Lola T96/52 19 October 1996
Le Mans Prototype 1:16.349 Japan Ukyo Katayama Toyota GT-One TS020 6 November 1999
JGTC (GT500) 1:23.886 Japan Yuji Tachikawa Toyota Supra 3 May 2003
Formula Three 1:26.344 Japan Tatsuya Kataoka Dallara F302 Toyota 6 April 2003
Japanese Touring Car Championship (Group A) 1:31.131 Japan Kazuyoshi Hoshino Nissan Skyline GT-R R32 31 October 1993
JGTC (GT300) 1:31.356 Japan Suga Ichijo Mosler MT900R 3 May 2003
Japanese Touring Car Championship (Super Touring) 1:33.035 Japan Naoki Hattori Honda Accord 1 November 1997
Super Taikyu 1:35.173 Japan Kasuya Shunji Nissan Skyline GT-R R33 7 November 1998
2005–[7]
Formula One 1:17.287 Brazil Felipe Massa Ferrari F2008 11 October 2008
Formula Nippon 1:25.525 France Benoit Treluyer Lola FN06-Toyota 31 March 2007
Le Mans Prototype 1:31.065 Japan Daisuke Ito Courage LC70-Mugen 2 June 2007
Super GT (GT500) 1:33.066 Japan Takashi Kogure Honda NSX 3 May 2007
Japan Le Mans Challenge (LMP1) 1:33.117 Japan Shinsuke Yamazaki Zytek 04S 2 June 2007
Formula Three 1:35.173 Japan Kazuya Oshima Dallara F306-Toyota 3 March 2007
Super GT (GT300) 1:40.682 Japan Haruki Kurosawa Honda NSX 3 May 2005
Super Taikyu (ST-1) 1:46.304 Japan Masataka Yanagida BMW Z4 Coupé 4 August 2007

Fuji Speedway in video games[change | change source]

The Fuji circuit is known to fans of the arcade racing game Pole Position, as cars raced on the circuit.

Fuji is also featured in a number of video games including Top Gear, several Gran Turismo games and TOCA Race Driver.

Fuji Speedway in television[change | change source]

The Fuji circuit is featured prominently in the Japanese television drama Engine as the main setting for the racing scenes. It is also the home of the (fictional) "Regulus Cup".

References[change | change source]

  1. Fuji: Duval, Couto weekend summary
  2. Suzuka responds to Fuji pressure – December 23, 2000
  3. 3.0 3.1 JDM Option Vol.21
  4. "Toyota to pull out of hosting 2010 Japan GP". Mainichi Daily News. July 7, 2009. http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/sports/news/20090707p2g00m0dm031000c.html. Retrieved July 7, 2009.
  5. After abolishing the high-banking in 1974
  6. 6.0 6.1 The chicanes were added in 1984 and 1987.
  7. Reprofiled by Hermann Tilke in 2003

Other websites[change | change source]