A street circuit built especially for the Formula E championships, the Beijing ePrix Circuit wound its way around the famous Olympic Park in the Chinese capital. Backdrops included the 'Birds Nest' stadium and the Beijing National Aquatics Centre, complete with its shimmering façade which provided a light show after dark.
Great backdrop though it might have been, the track itself was somewhat stop start, even by Formula E standards, with tight chicanes and a layout that did not always encourage the best racing. It is perhaps best remembered for the dramatic last lap crash between Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld at the final corner the inaugural Formula E race in 2014 .
Penned by Rodrigo Nunes, the circuit was deliberately stop-start in nature, essentially comprising a series of straights, 90-degree corners and four flip-flop chicanes, designed to suit the nature of the electric cars which form the series. Cars needed to have great stability on the brakes in order to maintain the racing line so they could get a clean exit from the corner, while traction was at a premium out of the slow chicanes, particularly given the high-torque nature of the electric racers.
With unyielding concrete walls and limited run-off, survival was the name of the game. The worth of the Tecpro barriers at the final turn was proved when Nico Prost and Nick Heidfeld clashed on the final lap of the inaugural race, launching the German skyward, fortunately without injury. Brazil's Lucas di Grassi inherited the victory after picking his way through the carnage.
Fans were able to get up close to the action at a number of points, not least of which at the unusual pit lane, which featured a U-shaped viewing area giving spectators an excellent opportunity to watch the unique pit stops in which drivers changed cars. The main grandstands were located on the start/finish straight, with additional bleachers at Turn 1 and the Turn 10-11-12-13 chicane.
For the 2015 event the track was modified with the removal of the chicane on the straight after Turn 2, creating a better overtaking opportunity into what was now a new Turn 3. The next chicane was also slightly tightened. The changes were welcomed by the drivers, with Jerome D'Ambrosio of Dragon Racing commenting: "I think the changes are definitely better this year, the left-hander at the end of the back straight is a nicer corner approaching at high speed. The tighter chicane makes it more fair as last year we had a lot of issues with people cutting more or less and gaining a lot of time."
The race was won by Sebastian Buemi but would prove the last event to be held on the course, as Formula E set its sights on new events elsewhere in China.
This is a historic circuit which is no longer in operation.
- Formula E Beijing ePrix, Olympic Village, Beijing, China
Rate This Circuit
The Formula E Beijing ePrix circuit was located in the Olympic Park in Beijing, China. Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is furthest from the city centre, situated in the Shunyi District around 15.5 miles (25km) northeast of Tiananmen Square. The Airport Express tube line connects the airport to the city centre in around 20 minutes. Beijing Nanyuan (NAY) Airport is located in the Fengtai district which is nine miles (14km) from Tiananmen Square, south of downtown Beijing. The airport is considerably smaller but closer the centre, with regular shuttle buses available.
The circuit itself was centred around the famous 'Bird's Nest' Olympic Stadium. The Olympic Park is easiest to reach by tube train - from the city centre take Subway Line 10 and change at Beitucheng Station for Subway Line 8 and get off at Olympic Park ( Olympic Green ). Once you come out from the subway, you are inside the Olympic Park. Alternatively, Beijing's bus system has numerous services to the Olympic Park.