Circuit type: Permanent road course
Finland's latest motor racing circuit has been designed from the outset to allow the return of top-level international racing to the country for the first time since the early 1980s. The KymiRing looks set to host MotoGP from 2018 onwards, having signed an agreement with the sport's promoters, Dorna.
Plans for the facility, located at Tillola near to the city of Kouvola, were first mooted in 2006, with the Pohjola Racing organisation making an official announcement in 2009. With the closure of a paper mill, the local government was keen to encourage new projects that would boost employment and the KymiRing complex fitted the bill. The project aims to create a new place for motorsport with infrastructure that will allow the hosting of significant events while also offering a year-round safe environment for driver training on two and four wheels.
Apex Circuit Design was brought on board in 2010, to review the initial circuit designs, taking into account FIA guidelines, optimised land use, reduced material quantities and to employ ideas to establish greater commercial yield and revenue. The track's master plan was prepared with FIA funding under the Facility Improvement Programme 2010.
The 4.6km main track has been designed in accordance with FIA Grade 2 classification, but by modifying the safety areas, it could be adapted to meet F1 requirements. On the two-wheeled side, the track meets the requirements of FIM Grade A classification. One aim of the design has been to take advantage of the shape of the undulating terrain; the circuit provides an 18-metre difference in height between the highest and lowest points. The camber of the bends varies at different points of the track with a maximum of 10% on three bends increasing mechanical grip for adjacent driving and overtaking possibilities.
The main track will be negotiated in a clockwise direction will consist of 17 bends, 9 to the right and 8 to the left, each different in terms of speed and radius (some combining different radii), also offering smooth and exciting driving stretches with four discernible key overtaking points.
Alongside the Grand Prix circuit will be a separate kart track and off-road course, while a rallycross course shares part of the main course and infield area. While motorsport may grab the headlines, it is not the only activity at the facility. A dedicated driver-training facility has been designed by Alex and Franz Wurz's Test & Training company, which will offer diverse training possibilities from passenger cars to heavy goods vehicles, buses and motorcycles.
In what will become the largest facility of its kind in Scandinavia when it opens (overtaking Norway's Vålerbanen in the process), the driver training facility features sections for practising driving in slippery conditions, tracks for practising negotiating obstacles, skid simulation and speed displays.
Construction is already well under way with a projected opening in early 2018. With MotoGP looking all-but-confirmed, it remains to be seen what other categories may also feature, with the likes of the DTM, WTCC and perhaps even the Blancpain GT Series potential targets.
The KymiRing is located at Tillola near to the city of Kouvola in southern Finland. The nearest airport is Lappeenranta Airport, just over an hour's drive east on Highway 6. This currently does not have scheduled passenger services, only seasonal charter flights (this may change if a MotoGP round materialises). Helsinki's Vaanta International airport is only half an hour longer away to the south-west, however.
The track is located alongside Highway 12, just west of Kouvola. Please note that the circuit is currently under construction and therefore there is no public access to the site.