One of China's crop of new circuits to open in the 2010's, Zhejiang Circuit (Chinese: 浙江国际赛车场) is another to adopt a membership model to allow well-heeled locals somewhere to push the limits in their high-powered road cars, as well as hosting domestic and international racing.
Penned by Apex Circuit Design, the course crosses fairly undulating terrain, creating a challenging tight and twisty course with many corners that requires some time to master.
The International TCR Series paid its one and only visit in 2017 before morphing into the WTCR Championship the following year but the circuit has gone on to host the TCR Asia and China Series, China GT Championship, Touring Car Master Challenge, Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific, Asian Formula Renault and GT Asia Series.
Located at Shaoxing, a city of 5 million people a few hours' drive south of Shanghai, Zhejiang Circuit was four years in development. The vision was to provide the ultimate playground for drivers and racing enthusiasts and to give automotive manufacturers and brands a cutting-edge platform to showcase their products to the ever-growing Chinese market.
Construction on the whole facility began in December 2013 and the first phased concluded in-mid 2016, at which point phase two began immediately to add add the car market, the hillside lodges and the office building.
At the heart of the development is a 3.2km circuit penned to FIA Grade 2 standards by Apex Circuit Design in England. The main course can be split into two smaller 'East' and 'West' circuits which can be run simultaneously, while there is also an independent 800m FIA-CIK compliant kart circuit.
Adjacent to the start/finish straight sits the Motorsport Hub, a state-of-the art hospitality facility that will act as home base for visitors to Zhejiang Circuit. The building offers commanding views of the on-track action from each of the six floors. The ground floor offers exhibition, conference and event space ideal for large scale hospitality events and product launches.
The large mezzanine overlooking the exhibition space houses facilities required to prepare drivers for an exhilarating circuit experience; driver registration, briefing and changing rooms are all located on this level. The third floor contains an impressive track viewing bar, western restaurant and crèche facility that is open to the public on a daily basis.
The upper floors of the Motorsport Hub house the exclusive facilities of Z Club, a members-only venture offering China's super rich access to private race sessions, the use of an exclusive private car park and a secure storage facility for their vehicles.
Surrounding the circuit is more than 100,000 square metres of motorsport-focused leisure and commercial development, designed to enhance the on-track experience and create a hub for the region's growing automotive industry. The commercial development is connected to the circuit, hotel and Motorsports Hub by a spacious pedestrian plaza, with a range of leasable units set out over three floors. These will include car showrooms with roadside frontage through to a range of food and beverage and retail outlets.
The Commercial Centre is located in a prominent position on the corner of Keyan Avenue and Hunan Road. It will maximise footfall year round from passing pedestrians as well as the affluent motorsport market drawn to the destination throughout the year for major events and experience days.
The 52-room 'lifestyle' hotel 'Cachet Boutique' opened in late 2016 to showcase an 'East meets West' theme. Designed by architect Katharine Pooley, its unique and contemporary shape is inspired by the exciting, technologically-driven automobile industry, yet seamlessly integrates with the overall appearance of the Zhejiang Circuit. Luxuriously appointed, it boasts the signature restaurant Le Sheng serving a range of Chinese cuisine, a swimming pool, saunas, steam rooms and a fitness centre.
The latest images from Zhejiang Circuit.