Circuit type: Temporary street course
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 the Eneos 1000km race takes place at Palanga on what is essentially several sections of closed dual carriageway for a 10-hour marathon.
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 refueling bay during the race. By happy coincidence, Eneos is also the event's main sponsor!
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.
The Palanga circuit is located at Vilimiškė, just to the east of the coastal resort town of Palanga, Lithuania. Palanga International Airport is around 15 minutes' away by car, with flights to the UK, Norway and across the Baltic region.
The circuit can be found by heading out of Palanga on the A11 - though with the road partially in use for the race, on event weekends diversions will be in place. Check the event website for details of road closures and the best route to the race.
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