Pacific Grand Prix
|Laguna Seca Raceway (1960-63)
TI Circuit (1994-95)
|Number of times held||6|
|Most wins (drivers)|| Michael Schumacher
Stirling Moss (2)
|Most wins (constructors)|| Benetton
|Circuit length||3.703 km (2.300 mi)|
|Last race (1995)|
The Pacific Grand Prix was a round of the Formula One World Championship twice in the mid-1990s. Both races were held at the Tanaka International Aida circuit (now Okayama International Circuit), a slow, twisty 3.7-kilometre (2.3-mile) track deep in the countryside in Aida (near Kobe), Japan. Following the 1995 Kobe earthquake, the Pacific Grand Prix was moved from early in the calendar to the end.
The Pacific Grand Prix has also been held at Laguna Seca from 1960 through 1963, but these events were non-Championship.
The inaugural Championship race in 1994 saw Michael Schumacher take an easy victory after Ayrton Senna was involved in a first corner accident with Mika Häkkinen and Nicola Larini. Schumacher overtook Senna into the first corner and was never threatened for the lead from that point onward. Schumacher could have lapped second placed Gerhard Berger in the last third of the race, but chose not to. The fastest lap was set on lap 3. The race was notable for the Jordan team and Rubens Barrichello's first podium finishes in F1 with third place. The more recent Pacific Grand Prix in 1995 was a more eventful affair, with some close racing throughout the field. The race culminated in a tactical victory for Michael Schumacher, securing his second World Championship, and making him the youngest double World Champion at the time. Fernando Alonso surpassed Schumacher's record by winning his second World Championship in 2006. Alonso's record was in turn surpassed by Sebastian Vettel in 2011.
This race made Japan one of only seven countries (the others being Great Britain, Spain, Germany, Italy, France and the USA) to ever host more than one Formula One event in the same year. It was discontinued primarily due to the TI Circuit's location in a remote area of Japan.
With the announcement that the Japanese Grand Prix would switch from the Suzuka Circuit to the Fuji Speedway from 2007, there had been media speculation that Suzuka may retain a race under a resurrection of the Pacific Grand Prix title. However, it was later announced that the Japanese Grand Prix would alternate between Fuji and Suzuka from 2009 onward although the alternation was cancelled as Toyota, the current Fuji Speedway owner discontinued further F1 races at Fuji.
Winners of the Pacific Grand Prix
A pink background indicates an event which was not part of the Formula One World Championship.
|1995||Michael Schumacher||Benetton-Renault||TI Circuit||Report|
|1963||Dave MacDonald||Cooper-Ford||Laguna Seca||Report|
|1962||Roger Penske||Zerex Special–Climax||Report|
- "Fuji signs deal for 2007". grandprix.com. 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2007-09-18.
- "Japanese Grand Prix to alternate between Fuji and Suzuka". formula1.com. 2007-09-08. Retrieved 2007-09-09.
- Toyota's Fuji Speedway Cancels Formula One Grand Prix From 2010 Bloomberg.com, retrieved 06-12-2012