- Twin Ring Motegi
Name = Twin Ring Motegi
Location = 120-1 Hiyama, Motegi
Haga, Tochigi, 321-3597
Opened = August 1997
Operator = Mobilityland Corporation, Ltd.
Construction_cost = ¥5 billion
Events = IRL
IndyCar Series Indy Japan 300
MotoGP World Championship
Grand Prix of Japan
Capacity = 68,156
Layout1 = Oval
Length_km = 2.493
Length_mi = 1.549
Banking = Turns - 10°
Layout2 = Road Course
Length_km2 = 4.8
Length_mi2 = 3.0
Twin Ring Motegi is an automobile racing track located at Motegi,
Japan. Its name comes from the fact that there are two race tracks at the facility: a convert|2.493|km|mi|adj=on|sp=us oval and a convert|4.8|km|mi|2|adj=on|sp=us road course. It was built in 1997by Honda, as part of Honda's effort to bring the IndyCar Seriesto Japan, helping to increase their knowledge of American open-wheel racing.
The oval course is the only one of its kind in Japan, and currently is only used once a year for racing. It is a low-banked, 1.549-mile-long egg-shaped course, with turns 3 and 4 being much tighter than turns 1 and 2. On March 28, 1998,
CARTheld the inaugural race at Twin Ring Motegi Speedway. The race was won by Mexican driver, Adrian Fernandez. CARTcontinued racing at Twin Ring Motegi Speedway from 1998-2002. In 2003, Honda entered the Indy Racing Leagueand the race became a part of the IRL schedule. In addition to IndyCar Racing, the track has also hosted a single NASCAR exhibition race in 1998.
Honda, which had built the oval for the express purpose of developing its oval-racing program for Indycar Racing, did not win a race at the track for its first six years of operation. In
2004, Dan Wheldontook the first win for Honda on the oval. In 2008, the Motegi oval gained additional notoriety when Danica Patrickbecame the first woman to win an Indy car race there. [http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/21/sports/othersports/21patrick.html?_r=1&ex=1366430400&en=9540f543d1680315&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin]
"For race results, see
Indy Japan 300"
Mike Skinner won the only NASCAR Winston Cup exhibition race held at the track in 1998. Skinner won driving the #31 Lowe's Chevrolet for
Richard Childress Racing. The race was most notable for being the first oval NASCAR race in Japan as well as being the first in which Dale Earnhardt& his son, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.competed with one another, driving #3 & #1 Coca-ColaChevrolets, respectively.
The road course is 4.8 kilometers long, and is unique in sharing garage and grandstand facilities with the oval course, but being entirely separate otherwise. Although they are separate tracks, it is impossible for races to occur simultaneously on the two courses at the same time; to access the oval track, teams must cross the road-course pit and front straight. The road course also runs in the opposite direction from the oval; clockwise, rather than counter-clockwise.
The course itself is built in a stop-start straight/hairpin style; this less than flowing arrangement has attracted criticism from various figures, including
Valentino Rossi. By Japanese standards the circuit is exceptionally flat, with only a slight elevation rise towards the hairpin turn. The road course is much busier than the oval track, with Formula Nipponvisiting twice, Super GTand Super Taikyucars once each, and local events almost every weekend. The road course can be used in three ways: the full course, or two 'Short Courses' can be made, using connecting roadways. These short courses are usually used for junior formula events, such as Formula 4or FJ1600.
The road course is also a popular motorbike racing spot, with the
MotoGPusually visiting once a year, as well as several Japanese national bike racing series.
In addition to the main racing complex, Twin Ring Motegi features a second road course (called the North Short Course) for karting and Formula 4 events, as well as a 1/4 mile dirt track for modified and sprint car racing. In addition, the FIM Trials series has visited the track, and an outdoor trail course exists on the facility as well.
Outside of racing, Twin Ring has the
Honda Collection Hall, which features historic Honda racing and production cars and motorcycles, and Honda Fan Fun Lab, which features Honda's next generation technologies such as robotics, fuel-cell vehicleand aviation. Honda also operates a technology demonstration center on the site, as well as educational centers.
Twin Ring is a separate-but-combined road-and-oval track (as opposed to '
roval' tracks common in the United States), and the decision to include a full road course contained largely within the oval necessitated some design compromises. For the spectator, sightlines can be extremely poor for road course races, as the grandstands are much further back than is usually the case. The oval course blocks the view of much of the road course, including the best passing point on the track, and several large-screen TVs are needed. Seating outside of the grandstand is limited to certain areas of the infield, and along the backstraight of the road course.
Access to the track is a major point of concern, with only two entry and exit points by two-lane public road. Motegi is not a particularly large town, and accommodation is virtually non-existent close to the track, outside of the on-site hotel. Train links to the area are extremely limited (the major lines of the region, JR East and
Tobu Railwaynot servicing the area), nor has a planned superhighway been completed. Thus the stated capacity of the track (about 65,000) is dictated largely by traffic flow, not by actual seating capacity(estimated to be nearly 100,000 for road-course events, 80,000 for oval).
In Popular Media
Forza Motorsport 2" In downloaded content/three configurations of the road course, as well as the oval.
Ferrari F355 Challenge" features this course as the first selectable track.
Gran Turismo 4" – three configurations of the road course, as well as the oval.
* "Tourist Trophy" – three configurations of the road course, as well as the oval.
* "" – oval track.
* "MotoGP '07" and in its predecessors on
XBox 360and PS2
GT Championship" – a GBA game which featured the track as part of the championship, SuperGT
* In Honda's 2005
Clio Awardswinning commercial Impossible Dream, the sequence in which the BAR Formula Onecar is driven into the bridge is filmed at the circuit.
*During the opening sequence of "
Kamen Rider Agito", the three main Kamen Riders are shown riding around the circuit, as Honda is the series sponsor.
*During the ending sequence of "
Engine Sentai Go-Onger" the series' characters are shown dancing in the main straight of the Motegi's road course. The racetrack's sign is also shown in the series' second episode, at the beginning of a flashback sequence depicting the primary Go-Onger team's origin.
* [http://www.twinring.jp/ Twin Ring Motegi] - in Japanese
* [http://www.mobilityland.co.jp/english/motegi/ Twin Ring Motegi] - in English
* [http://www.trackpedia.com/wiki/Twinring_Motegi Trackpedia's guide to driving the Twin Ring Motegi Circuit]
* [http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=Motegi,+Japan&layer=&ie=UTF8&z=14&ll=36.533571,140.229406&spn=0.031448,0.084028&t=k&om=1 Satellite picture by Google Maps]
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