Norway's Vålerbanen has a twin-life, being both a racing circuit and an all-purpose driver training facility, as comfortable accommodating buses and trucks as it is race cars, in both summer and winter driving conditions. Owned by the Norwegian Automobile Federation, it is the largest facility of its kind in Scandinavia.
Among the more popular events hosted at Vålerbanen are the annual Gatebil event and Norway's largest amateur racing event and sports car display, Classic & Sportscar Meeting. It has also previously held rounds of the STCC.
The complex features a number of secondary layouts which, while not used for racing, see regular use for track days and driver training events.
The facility first opened in 1993, with a 1.4 km short loop which saw occasional racing action. It was extended in 1997 to 2.35 km and it is this longer version which remains the version used today for racing action. While relatively short, Vålerbanen offers a higher speed lap than its nearest rival Rudskogen - and the layout is generally more conducive to overtaking.
The circuit had its racing high points between 2007 and 2009, when it hosted a round of the Swedish Touring Car Championship - a fact that also ensured it became known to a much wider audience when it was digitally recreated for STCC The Game. In the 2007 event, a rainstorm deluged the track causing plenty of incident before BMW driver Richard Göransson snuck past Robert Dahlgren for the win.
The Volvo driver got his revenge the following year, with Dahlgren taking the first win for the C30. The race ended under the safety car when privateer Dick Sahlén rolled his BMW after an over-ambitious move at the final corner.
The home crowd had the perfect result in 2009 when local hero Tommy Rustad won both races for Volvo - victories which helped secure the Norwegian the overall championship by seasons end. Dick Sahlén avenged his spectacular exit in the previous year's race by taking the privateer's win in race two.
The STCC has not returned since, but Våler remains busy year-round thanks to its training school, plus its use for testing and manufacturer days. To assist with this, in 2008 the track received a new extension, which offered a variety of new layouts, though these are not licensed for racing. At the same time, a number of chicanes were added to the main course to offer further variations.
The circuit has continued to invest in recent years. As well as a fleet of new Toyota GT86 cars for the racing school, November 2016 saw the opening of a 346-bed hotel, restaurant and conference centre on the grounds, further enhancing its attraction for corporate use.