Circuit Grading

Delegates sit around a table looking at a circuit map

An FIM circuit inspection meeting takes place at Circuit of the Americas. Photo: MotoGP

Circuit safety has evolved considerably since the dawn of motor racing, to the point where today there are very strict standards that must be adhered to in order to host racing events sanctioned by the governing bodies of motorsport.

There is a regular process of inspection and evaluation to ensure circuits adhere to the right standards. This can include computer simulation of proposed circuit designs, with input from drivers and riders as well as engineers.

Both the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (the governing body of car and truck racing) and the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (which governs motorcycle and sidecar racing) issue strict guidelines for circuit construction. While largely complementary, there are some differences to cater for the more exposed nature of motorcycle racers in a crash.

The category of license varies dependent on the level of motorsport to be hosted. For example, only FIA Grade 1 circuits may host Formula One events or tests, while only FIA Grade A-rated circuits can accommodate MotoGP races.

Once the circuit is built, a very thorough verification of the safety level of the track is performed by an FIA or FIM inspector before a licence can be issued.

Circuits not homologated by the FIA or FIM are licensed by their local motorsport governing bodies and can still conform to the requirements of the various FIA and FIM gradings, but have not paid to be homologated as they only intend holding national and local level racing.

FIA Gradings as published December 15, 2022 .

These are licensed to hold events involving "Automobiles of Groups D (FIA International Formula) and E (Free formula) with a weight/power ratio of between 1 and 2 kg/hp. This includes most categories of sportscars, GT cars, touring cars and single seaters.

The Macau Guia street circuit is offically homologated as Grade 2 (Restricted) in recognition of its special status in hosting Formula 3 events despite not strictly meeting the normal criteria.

Circuits holding Grade Four certification may host events involving "Category I Automobiles. Category II Automobiles with a weight/power ratio higher than 3 kg/hp.

FIM circuit licences are issued in grades from A to F according to the categories and groups of motorcycles for which the circuit is considered suitable and are issued with the sole purpose of permitting the registration of races in the FIM Calendar for the categories of motorcycles specified.

The types and groups indicated below correspond to the classification established in the relevant FIM regulation. Each licence grade is also valid for all categories of motorcycles in the grades below it, except Grade F for Sidecars.

They are:

Grade Grand Prix Superbike
Endurance Junior/Moto 3 Moto E Sidecar
A -
B - -
C - - -
D - - - -
E - - - - -
F - - - - -