Circuit Overview

Ningbo International Speedway (Chinese: 宁波国际赛车场) is one of a crop of new tracks opening across China under the stewardship of auto maker Geely (owner of Volvo). Located near to the fast-growing Ningbo city in Zhejiang province, the circuit is one of five being built Geely subsidiary Mitime Investments, in order to develop car culture and motorsport in the region.

Opened in 2017, the circuit burst onto the international scene when it hosted the World Touring Car Championship's Race of China.

The circuit has also hosted the China Touring Car Championship, China GT, China Formula 4 (a series promoted by Geely), the Audi R8 LMS GT Cup and Blancpain GT Series Asia among other categories. 

Circuit History

The project was officially launched on December 28, 2015 with construction taking place up to the end of June 2017. The layout was designed by Alan Wilson, well-known for his works in the United States at the Utah Motorsport Campus (which is also operated by Mitime and where Wilson is general manager) and Barber Motorsport Park among many others. Wilson has been retained by Mi Time to pen all five of its new facilities.

The undulating 4.015 km track  has been homologated to FIA Grade 2 standards allowing it to host all bar Formula One competition.

Geely did not scrimping on its investment, with the whole facility costing around 900 million yuan. As well as the main course (which can be split into a shorter circuit and a club racing variants, which can be run simultaneously), the 1,1130-acre facility also boasts a separate 9.85 km kart track and commercial and amusement facilities. The main grandstands will seat around 15,000 spectators and, given their elevated position, offer good views across the majority of the circuit.

The inaugural event was round of the China Formula 4 series in August 2017 before its international debut in October, when it replaced Shanghai International Circuit as the venue for the World Touring Car Championship's Race of China.

Sadly, the weather gods were less than kind, with heavy rain marring the race weekend. Race one was forced to start behind the safety car but when racing eventually got underway, Esteban Guerrieri ran out the winner in his Campos Racing Chevrolet Cruze.  The second race was more than a damp squib, with the cars circulating behind the safety car for just four laps before the race was called off without any green flag running. Polesitter Nestor Girolami was declared the winner and half points awarded. 

Since then, the championship returned in 2018 (as the FIA World Touring Car Cup) and 2019 before the interruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic forced the international series to stay away.  It was scheduled to return in 2021 but once again the far east races were pulled from the schedule due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic.

Since then a dispute between Geely and the FIA WTCR organisers over the balance of performance applied to the Lynk & Co cars lead to Mi Time pulling out of promoting the WTCR Round of China, so it remains to be seen if Ningbo will indeed return in future years, though it seems more than likely to be a firm fixture on national and regional racing calendars.

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Circuit info

Ningbo International Circuit, Beilun District, Ningbo, Zhejiang, China
Official website

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