Circuit Overview

The fact that Lithuania has only one permanent circuit has not prevented its motorsport community from growing - and indeed its most famous event has grown up on a true street course. Each July a 1000km race takes place at Palanga on what is essentially several sections of closed dual carriageway for a 10-hour marathon.

The event has become the largest festival of long-distance racing in the Baltic States, with competitors flocking to take part from across Europe.

One unusual feature is that for refuelling, competitors take advantage of using the petrol station which is located on one of the straights, rather than doing so in the temporary pits.

Circuit History

First established in 2000, the race has grown in stature to entice the occasional international driver to take part, with an eclectic range of vehicles competing each year. Peter Dumbreck and Ralf Kelleners were actually part of the winning crew in 2008, when the Spyker works team decided to enter its unusual C8 Spyder GT2 car, while Sebastiaan Bleekemolen was among the winners in a Porsche in 2016.

The track itself uses the carriageways of A13 and A11 highways, a few miles out of Palanga itself. Based around the intersection between the two roads, complete with a Suzuka-style crossover, the circuit essentially comprises a pair of straights with temporary bends, the exit ramps from the intersection and a sweeping final curve.

Originally the track was 2.994 km long, but it was shortened by 300m for the 2014 race when an extension to the bypass resulted in the reconfiguration of the clover-leaf intersection. As well as running in an anti-clockwise direction, the circuit is unusual in making use of an Eneos petrol filling station which forms a refuelling bay during the race. 

The track record belongs to Latvian Konstantin Calko, who set a fastest time of 1:07.046 on the revised course in his Speed Factory Racing Radical SR8 in 2014. Ramūnas Čapkauskas holds the record for original course at 1:17.270 in an Aquila CR1, set during the 2012 race.

By far and away the most successful driver in the event's history is former Porsche Carrera GB competitor Jonas Gelžinis, who has six wins to his credit. Remarkably, the wins have come in a wide variety of machinery and classes - including everything from the aforementioned Spyker, to Porsche Cup cars, a Ferrari Challenge racer and a BMW M3. Two of his wins have been family affairs, with younger brother Ignas also being part of the lineup.

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