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Suzuka International Racing Course



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Suzuka International Racing Course

Suzuka International Racing Course
7992 Ino-Cho
Mie Prefecture

Tel: +81 (0)59 378 1111


Official website:



5.807km (3.608miles)

Race laps:


2013 winner:

Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)


Figure of eight

First GP:


Lap record:

1:31.540 (Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, 2005)


Permanent Circuit

Total races:



Japan wanted a Grand Prix as its fan-base became enormous, and everyone wanted Japan to have a Grand Prix because there were potential sponsors and engine-builders there, but nobody wanted to race at Fuji. The answer was Suzuka, which had been designed by John Hugenholtz as a test track for Honda.

Because it had been designed as a test track, it had a wide range of corners over its 3.641 miles and it also had a feature unique to Grand Prix circuits, a crossover.

Suzuka was first used for a World Championship race in 1987 and hosted the Japanese Grand Prix until 2007, and again in 2008, in favour of the Toyota-owned Fuji Speedway after it underwent a transformation and redesign by 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 calendar, Suzuka signed a deal to host the Japanese Grand Prix exclusively.

The circuit has been modified a couple of times. In 2002, the chicane was slightly modified, 130R was also modified and some of the Snake curves were made a bit straighter and faster. In 2003, the chicane was made slightly faster and closer to the 130R.

Suzuka has frequently seen the Championship decider, never more dramatically than in 1989, when Alain Prost suckered Ayrton Senna and then drove into him, or in 1990 when Senna rammed Prost out of the race at very high speed on the first corner. Japan, after all, is the home of kamikaze.

The Circuit

Turn 1 is almost flat with only a light lift. A quick turn leading into the slower Turn 2. In Turns 3 - 6 ('S' Curves) understeer needs to be minimised for the constant change of direction in this series of turns, with a well-balanced car maintaining the speed.

Turns 8 + 9 (Degner Curve) two tricky turns make up Degner: the first is short and narrow, with a cautious approach required because of the inner kerb. Drivers need to get as close as possible to it without making contact.

Turns 13 + 14 make up the Spoon Curve. Understeer saps speed here so needs to be minimised; a fast exit is necessary onto the following straight.

Turn 15 (130R) is flat out, but more difficult when the cars are heavy with fuel. Turn 16 (Chicane) is the best overtaking opportunity around the circuit layout; DRS effectiveness at this track is less than elsewhere.

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