Bira Circuit (Thai: พีระเซอร์กิต) was Thailand's first permanent motor racing venue, opening in 1985 a short distance from the seaside resort of Pattaya. The track quickly became a focal point for the local racing scene, though it has rarely captured international attention.
Covering just 65 acres, the track is necessarily compact, with its U-shaped course featuring short straights, several chicanes and a relatively fast downhill double-apex corner. It's bumpy too and, thanks to the Thai climate, racing is often a hot and humid affair.
Today it hosts rounds of the Thailand Super Series, the Yamaha Championship and a host of other local racing championships.
Construction on the facility began and was completed in 1985, when it was simply known as the Pattaya Circuit.
The circuit changed its name a short time later in memory of Siamese Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh - better known as Prince Bira - who died aged 71 in December 1985. He was the only Thai person to have raced at the highest level of world motorsport until Alex Albon's more recent Formula One exploits. Between 1950 and 1954 he competed in 19 Formula One World Championship events, with a best finish of fourth.
Bira Circuit became hugely important in the development of Thai motorsport, with the Mobil One Grand Prix beginning in 1986. An early highlight was the visit of the McLaren Formula One team in 1990, with Allan McNish turning demonstration laps in the McLaren-Honda MP4/5.
The South East Asia Touring Car Zone Challenge (SEATCZC) has been run at Bira Circuit since 1992 and the Asian Formula 2000 (AF2000) since 1997. When not hosting race events, the circuit is fully equipped to host private functions such as driving schools, testing programs and corporate events.
The pit complex boasts garages for cars or motorbikes, plus a control tower, medical centre and meeting room. Opposite sits the main grandstand and spectator area, which can accommodate up to 30,000 people.
As well as the permanent circuit, the complex also includes an offroad track, a rally stage and a karting circuit, which was renovated in 2006 to meet Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK) racing standards.