As Formula One, and in particular Bernie Ecclestone, looked further and further afield in search of fresh pastures and new money, countries were (seemingly) queuing up to get on to the 'bandwagon'.
In 2004, Bahrain and China both hosted their first ever Formula One Grands Prix, with Mexico already signed up for 2006.
With Narain Karthikeyan driving for Jordan in 2005, the Silverstone-based outfit now owned by Russian émigré Alex Shnaider, it was only a matter of time before these two countries also joined the 'F1 Club', India subsequently hosting three rounds between 2011 and 2013 and Russia finally joining the schedule in 2014.
In 2005, however it was Turkey which joined the schedule, the country, which uniquely forms part of both Asia and Europe, still seeking acceptance after years in a sort of political limbo and seemingly close to gaining admission to the European Community.
Work on the Istanbul Park, which is located in the Tuzla region, began on 10th of September 2003, and was inaugurated on 21 August 2005.
The 3.341 mile (5.378 km) track, which runs counter-clockwise, was designed by Hermann Tilke and features 14 corners and various undulations which would hopefully add to the spectacle.
With an average width of 15 m (49 ft) ranging from 14 to 21.5 m (46 to 71 ft), and covers over 2.215 million square metres (547 acres), the circuit runs over four different ground levels with a start/finish straight over 650 m (2,133 ft) in length. The total race distance of the Turkish Grand Prix is 309.356 km (192.225 mi) over 58 laps.
The track has capacity for approximately 125,000 spectators. The main grandstand has a seating capacity of 25,000 spectators, with natural ground stands and temporary stands allowing for around 100,000 more people. The paddock buildings are two-level structures; the ground floor reserved for racing teams, the upper floor serving as hospitality areas, with an additional viewing capacity of 5,000 seats. At each end of the paddock, there are two 7-story VIP towers.
Turn 8 (nicknamed "Diabolica" by some in reference to Monza's Curva Parabolica) particularly caught the imagination. The corner is a fast, sweeping corner with four apexes, similar to one of the multi-apex sections of the old Nurburgring.
Spectators and drivers alike raved about Turn 8, comparing it to legendary corners such as Eau Rouge and 130R.
Another notable corner is Turn 1, a sharp downhill left-hander immediately after the front straight. This corner has been nicknamed by some as the "Turkish Corkscrew" in reference to the famous Corkscrew at Laguna Seca. Both the 2006 F1 and MotoGP races at the circuit featured multiple incidents at this corner.
A third noteworthy area is the uphill kink in the middle of the back straight; due to its similarity to Eau Rouge, it has been jokingly referred to as "Faux Rouge".
Top speed at the speed trap in 2005 was 329.5 km/h (204.8 mph) by F1 cars. In 2006 with the smaller 2.4-litre V8 engines (instead of the 3.0-litre V10s of previous years) the fastest cars reached 320 km/h (200 mph).
The inaugural Grand Prix took place in 2005, however due to financial disagreement, the last Turkish Grand Prix took place in 2011.
Other than GP2 and MotoGP, which raced at the track in 2005 and 2006, from 2005 to 2007, the circuit hosted the World Touring Car Championship (2005 and 2006), DTM (2005), Le Mans Series (2005 and 2006), as well as the International GT Open, Formula-G and the World Series by Renault.
In addition the first leg of the 2012 FIA European Truck Racing Championship was held in 2012, while the Superbike World Championship raced at the track in 2013.
Since 2014, the FIA World Rallycross Championship has organized the World RX of Turkey at Istanbul Park, using an area to the outside of turns 12, 13, 14.
On 25 August 2020, 9 years after last hosting a round of the Formula One World Championship, it was announced that Istanbul Park would form part of the revised schedule introduced by F1 bosses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The race will take place on the weekend of 13 - 15 November.