Circuit Overview

The Shanghai International Circuit (simplified Chinese: 上海奥迪国际赛车场) is a no-expense-spared facility, conceived by the Shanghai authorities as a way to showcase the city to the world, perhaps in retaliation to Beijing's securing of the Olympic Games.

Most famous for hosting the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix since 2004, the track also hosts the annual visit of the FIA World Endurance Championship as well as the MotoGP Chinese Grand Prix, alongside many national championships.

After securing a sponsorship deal with Audi in 2011, the circuit has officially become known as the Shanghai Audi International Circuit and following a similar deal with Chinese manufacturer SAIC (which has a joint venture with Volkswagen), the circuit is also often referenced as the SAIC International Circuit.

Circuit History

A 5.3 sq km site was chosen in the Jiading District in the north west of the city, close to major car parts manufacturing facilities and a budget of 2.6 billion yuan ($450 million) raised though a government-funded joint-venture company. Herman Tilke was chosen to design the track and associated buildings, and between April and May 2003, engineers visited the site to draw up their plans.

The site was actually a swampland, previously used as rice paddy fields, and extensive groundworks had to be completed to construct the circuit. For 18 months some 3,000 workers were on site daily to complete the facility – a remarkable feat of both engineering and logistics.

When it opened, visitors found a vast complex, dominated by the main grandstand and pit complex, which featured wing-like viewing platforms crossing the circuit at either end.  This can hold 30,000 spectators alone, and others around the circuit take the total capacity to 200,000.  Paddock facilities were also unique – each of the F1 teams had its own building, arranged like pavilions in a lake to resemble the ancient Yuyan-Garden in Shanghai. It creates an amazingly tranquil spot for such a high-octane environment!

The track layout has also been inspired by Chinese culture, with the designers claiming to have drawn inspiration from the Chinese 'shang' symbol (上) for the overall configuration – though you do have to stretch your imagination quite a bit to see it in the final layout.

Driver reaction has been mixed – the never-ending turn one tends to divide opinion, and much of the course is quite twisty, until you reach the 1.2km back straight. Motorcycle racers use a different, and less severe, turns 5-6 complex, while the WTCC and V8 Supercars (on their lone visit in 2005) have made use of the intermediate layout which bypasses this section altogether.

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Circuit info

Shanghai International Circuit, No.2000, Yining Rd., Jiading District, Shanghai 201814
+86 21 6956 8888

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