Address: Losail International Circuit, PO Box 8708, Doha, Qatar
PH: +974 4379 788
Circuit type: Permanent road course
Losail International Circuit was the third of the desert-based circuits that sprang up at the turn of the century and is the only motorsport facility in Qatar. Lying on the outskirts of Doha, the capital city of Qatar, it is the only circuit in the region to have both FIA and FIM homologation licenses.
The circuit was built in little over a year at a cost of US $58 million by the Qatar Motor and Motorcycle Federation. Almost 1,000 workers had to be on site round-the-clock in order to get it ready for the inaugural event, the Marlboro Grand Prix of Qatar on the 2nd October 2004.
Designed primarily with motorcycling in mind, the track itself is a flowing layout of 5.4 kilometres, surrounded by artificial grass designed to prevent sand from the neighbouring desert from blowing onto the circuit. The main straight is over a kilometre in length and there is a good mix of medium and high-speed corners, including a couple of quick left-handers which has proved particularly popular with the riders.
In 2008, the circuit added permanent outdoor lighting for night races, creating what was at the time the largest lit venue in the world (a title later claimed by the Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi). Musco Lighting, which had experience of racetrack lighting from its fitment at the Daytona Speedway in the USA, took just 175 days to install Losail's lighting system of over 1,000 structures, 3 million kilos of concrete and 500km of wire. There were considerable complexities to resolve; providing enough high light levels for television without creating glare for the spectators or riders while also eliminating shadows and enabling riders to see the warning flags and braking markers were just a few of the challenges. The night lighting allowed MotoGP to run its first night race in 2008, won by the Ducati of Casey Stoner.
Four wheeled action has also taken place at Losail; in 2006 the short-live GP Masters series debuted, with Nigel Mansell taking victory. GP2 Asia also paid a visit in 2009, Nico Hülkenberg taking the victory under the lights and Davide Rigon setting the track record at 1:38.699.
In 2021, the venue was announced as the host of the Formula One Qatar Grand Prix, an in-season replacement for the cancelled Australian event. For the Grand Prix cars minor modifications were made to the kerbs, with sausage kerbs added at several corners to discourage track cutting, while the pit lane entry was completely remodelled, now beginning ahead of the final turn instead of after it. There were also a significant number of barrier upgrades, including the installation of Tecpro and tyres around the entire venue.
Losail International Circuit is located approximately 22 miles north of Doha in Qatar. The nearest international airport is at Doha, some 30 miles to the south and approximately an hour's drive away.
By car from Doha Airport the circuit can be reached by heading through Al-Matar Street and turning right at Toyota Tower. Keep going through the C-Ring Road, then drive along Corniche Road until reaching the Sheraton Hotel and turing left towards the city Centre. Drive to Al-Wahda Street and turn right into Istiqlal Street. Keep straight then turn left going to Doha Golf Club. Turn to the right on the roundabout going north to Al-Khor Highway until you get to Losail International Circuit.
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