Official logo of the Istanbul Park.
|Capacity||26,250 permanent covered seats, 125,000 temporary seats|
|Major events||Formula One (Turkish Grand Prix)
FIA World Touring Car Championship
Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters
Le Mans Series
FIA World RX of Turkey
|Length||5.338 km (3.317 mi)|
|Lap record||1:24.770 (Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren-Mercedes, 2005)|
Istanbul Park (Turkish: İstanbul Park), also known as the Istanbul Racing Circuit, or initially as the Istanbul Otodrom, is a 155,000 capacity motor sports race track in Akfırat village east of Istanbul, Turkey. It was inaugurated on 21 August 2005. It has been called "the best race track in the world" by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone.
The venue of the Turkish Grand Prix is located in crossing of boundaries of Pendik and Tuzla districts on the Asian side of Istanbul, close to the junction of Kurtköy on the north side of the Otoyol 4, linking Istanbul to Ankara. It is adjacent to the newly constructed Sabiha Gökçen International Airport and is surrounded by forests and fields.
The Istanbul Park racing circuit was one of only five circuits running anticlockwise in the 2011 Formula One season, the others being Autódromo José Carlos Pace (used for the Brazilian Grand Prix), the Marina Bay Street Circuit (used for the Singapore Grand Prix), the Korea International Circuit (used for the Korean Grand Prix) and the Yas Marina Circuit (used for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix). The circuit is 5.338 km (3.317 mi) long, with an average width of 15 m (49 ft) ranging from 14 to 21.5 m (46 to 71 ft), and covers over 2.215 million square metres (547 acres). With a total of 14 corners, the sharpest with a radius of merely 15 m (49 ft), the circuit runs over four different ground levels with a start/finish straight over 650 m (2,133 ft) in length. The total race distance of the Turkish Grand Prix is 309.356 km (192.225 mi) over 58 laps.
The main grandstand has a seating capacity of 25,000 spectators. In addition, natural ground stands and temporary stands can provide a total capacity of over 155,000. The paddock buildings are two-level structures; the ground floor reserved for racing teams, the upper floor serving as hospitality areas, with an additional viewing capacity of 5,000 seats. At each end of the paddock, there are two 7-story VIP towers.
The circuit and its facilities were designed by the well-known racetrack architect Hermann Tilke, who said he designed the track to try to catch the drivers out. The inaugural Turkish Grand Prix certainly caught the drivers out, with many drivers spinning off throughout the weekend.
Turn 8 (nicknamed "Diabolica" by some in reference to Monza's Curva Parabolica) particularly caught the imagination. The corner is a fast, sweeping corner with four apexes, similar to one of the multi-apex sections of the old Nürburgring. Spectators and drivers alike raved about Turn 8, comparing it to legendary corners such as Eau Rouge and 130R. The circuit itself has already been compared to Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps. Another notable corner is Turn 1, a sharp downhill left-hander immediately after the front straight. This corner has been nicknamed by some as the "Turkish Corkscrew" in reference to the famous Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Both the 2006 F1 and MotoGP races at the circuit featured multiple incidents at this corner. A third noteworthy area is the uphill kink in the middle of the back straight; due to its similarity to Eau Rouge, it has been jokingly referred to as "Faux Rouge".
The circuit is not, however, without its critics. After qualifying, Jenson Button claimed that the track was getting bumpier as the weekend went on, particularly at Turn 8, which was what caused so many drivers to spin off. This harks back to another circuit designed by Hermann Tilke, Shanghai International Circuit, which is said to be sinking in places because it was built on the site of a former swamp. Jarno Trulli was notable for his lukewarm feeling towards the circuit, saying that he felt the circuit was easy to learn, and that good performance was down more to the car than the driver.
Major motorsports events
The first Grand Prix of Turkey took place in 2005. Due to financial disagreement, the last Turkish Grand Prix took place in 2011, despite earlier agreements concerning Istanbul Park. Top speed at the speed trap in 2005 was 329.5 km/h (204.8 mph) by F1 cars. In 2006 with the smaller 2.4-litre V8 engines (instead of the 3.0-litre V10s of previous years) the fastest cars reached 320 km/h (200 mph).
Felipe Massa has an affinity with this circuit, with the Brazilian winning three of the seven Grands Prix held at Istanbul Park.
The fastest race lap was achieved by Juan Pablo Montoya in 1'24.770, a time which is yet to be surpassed.
The fastest race lap was achieved by Michael Schumacher in 1'28.005.
The winner of the 2007 Turkish Grand Prix was the Brazilian Felipe Massa (Ferrari), who won the race for the second year in a row having qualified in pole position. During the press conference following the race, he commented that "the Istanbul Park was the track where he made his career turn-around, and finally began winning races." He also praised the track as well as the city.
The fastest race lap was achieved by Kimi Räikkönen in 1'27.295.
The winner of the 2008 Turkish Grand Prix was the Brazilian Felipe Massa (Ferrari), who won the race for the third year in a row, also starting in pole position.
The fastest race lap was achieved by Kimi Räikkönen in 1'26.506.
The fastest race lap was achieved by eventual winner, Jenson Button with a 1'27.579.
Sebastian Vettel won the 2011 event for Red Bull Racing, ahead of team-mate Mark Webber and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso. The race featured the greatest recorded number of pit stops and overtaking manoeuvres in a dry race in F1 history.
In 2006, the winner of the GP2 race was Nelson Piquet, Jr., however the real battle was with Lewis Hamilton who, at the beginning of the race, spun off and dropped right down the field from 2nd to 16th. However he raced his way back through the pack with some spectacular overtaking moves to finish in second.
Fifteen racers completed the race while eleven drivers were not classified. The winner was Russian Vitaly Petrov of Barwa Addax, who moved up to second place in the championship table with 29 points ahead of Jérôme d'Ambrosio having 18 points. Petrov's teammate Romain Grosjean, who retired from the race, leading the championship with 31 points. The Italians Luca Filippi of Super Nova Racing and Davide Valsecchi of Durango finished second and third.
The winner of the MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix Round 16 was the Italian Marco Melandri (Team Movistar Honda MotoGP) with 41'44.139. Second was Valentino Rossi (Gauloises Fortuna Yamaha), also from Italy, and third was the American Nicky Hayden (Repsol Honda Team).
Marco Melandri from Fortuna Honda Team won once again despite his 14th starting position. The Australian Casey Stoner of Team Honda LCR came second with Nicky Hayden of the Repsol Honda Team in third.
From 2005 to 2007, Istanbul Park hosted the FIA World Touring Car Championship (2005 and 2006), Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (2005), Le Mans Series (2005 and 2006), as well as the International GT Open, Formula-G and the World Series by Renault
The first leg of the 2012 FIA European Truck Racing Championship was held on 13 May 2012 at Istanbul Park. The Superbike World Championship raced at the track in 2013. The FIA World Rallycross Championship has organized the World RX of Turkey at Istanbul Park since 2014, using an area to the outside of turns 12, 13, 14. This is one of only a few circuits to host such diverse vehicles (FIA trucks weigh 5400 kg, while some MotoGP bikes weigh 135 kg).
Record lap times
- Tilke GmbH: Istanbul Park
- BBC Sport: Turkey to keep F1 race until 2021
- Trulli unmoved by Istanbul - www.itv-f1.com
- "GP2 News". Paddock Talk. 2009-06-07. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- "FIA European Truck Racing Championships - Calendars". FIA. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Istanbul Park.|
- Intercity Istanbul Park homepage
- Istanbul Park on Trackpedia
- Track info from the official Formula1 website
- Istanbul Park Circuit on Google Maps