The Shanghai International Circuit (simplified Chinese: 上海国际赛车场; traditional Chinese: 上海國際賽車場; pinyin: Shànghǎi Guójì Sàichēchǎng) is a motorsport race track, situated in the Jiading District, Shanghai. The circuit is best known as the venue for the annual Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix which has been hosted since 2004.


Shanghai International Circuit is a no-expense-spared facility, conceived by the Shanghai authorities as a way to showcase the city to the world. A 5.3 sq km site was chosen in the Jiading District in the north west of the city, close to major car parts manufacturing facilities and a budget of 2.6 billion yuan ($450 million) raised through a government-funded joint-venture company, the Shanghai Jiushi Group.

Herman Tilke was chosen to design the track and associated buildings, and between April and May 2003, engineers visited the site to draw up their plans. The site was actually a swampland, previously used as rice paddy fields, and extensive groundworks had to be completed to construct the circuit. For 18 months some 3,000 workers were on site daily to complete the facility – a remarkable feat of both engineering and logistics.

When it opened, visitors found a vast complex, dominated by the main grandstand and pit complex, which featured wing-like viewing platforms crossing the circuit at either end. This can hold 30,000 spectators alone, and others around the circuit take the total capacity to 200,000. Paddock facilities were also unique – each of the F1 teams had its own building, arranged like pavilions in a lake to resemble the ancient Yu Garden in Shanghai.[1]


Satellite image of the circuit, as it appeared in April 2018

The track layout was inspired from the Chinese character shang (上), the first character in the name of the city Shanghai , meaning "above" or "ascend".[2]

There’s a unique start to the lap as the drivers fly into the ever-tightening Turns 1 and 2, before they dart left through 3 and 4. The super-high g force Turns 7 and 8 are loved by the drivers, while the circuit also features one of the longest straights on the calendar, the 1.2 km stretch that separates turns 13 and 14.[3]

Motorsport events

The Shanghai International Circuit is the first in China to be purpose-built for Formula One and it hosts FIA Formula One World Championship Chinese Grand Prix every year since 2004.[4] The circuit also holds a number of global high-profile series, including the FIA World Endurance Championship and the Blancpain GT Series Asia.

In the past, the circuit has hosted the MotoGP world championship, and a one-off V8 Supercars China Round of the Australian-based V8 Supercar championship in 2005, and also the final round of the A1 Grand Prix in 2006/2007.

A lap in a Formula One car

The first two bends make a 185 km/h right-hand curve which leads immediately into turns 3 and 4 taken at 105 km/h. One and two are far more difficult – a lift on entry followed by various taps of the throttle and brakes are needed so the car maintains balance throughout. It also becomes blind towards the middle of the corner.[5] Three and four are less complicated, with three being a simple hairpin, but a good exit is needed from four to gain speed down the following straight and through turn 5. The complex of turns 1–4 makes up the first of two "snails" on the circuit, the other being turns 11–13.[6] Turn 6 is a second gear, right-handed hairpin with plentiful run-off. Turns 7 and 8 make up a high speed chicane – the left-right complex sees a constant G-force of 3[5] and a minimum speed of about 160 km/h. Turns 9 and 10 immediately follow – two slow left-handers which require a good exit to gain speed down the next straight. Turns 11 and 12 effectively make up a slow left-right chicane where the use of kerbs are important but traction is low. Turn 13 is a very long right-hander which becomes less and less tight, and a very good exit is important as DRS is available down the following straight. At 1170m, it is the equivalent to 11 football pitches laid end to end, or the same length as three and a half of the world's biggest aircraft carriers[7] Turn 14 is a hairpin at the end of the straight – the second gear corner is a prime overtaking spot as DRS is available in the run up to the corner. Turn 16 is the last corner – a fourth-gear[5] left-hander which requires a quick tap on the brakes – braking early can be more effective as you can then carry more speed through the corner and then down the pit straight.

The total length of the circuit is 5.451 km (3.387 mi), which is about average for a Formula One circuit. Michael Schumacher's lap record of 1:32.238 has stood since 2004. In Q3 of 2018 Chinese Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole position with a time of 1:31.095, a new track record.[8]


Category Record Circuit Length Circuit Layout Driver/Rider Team Bike/Chassis Date
Formula One 1:32.238 5451m Shanghai International Racing Circuit track map.svg Germany Michael Schumacher Scuderia Ferrari Ferrari F2004 September 26, 2004
LMP1 1:45.892[9] Switzerland Sébastien Buemi Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid 2017 November 5, 2017
GP2 Asia 1:46.407 Japan Kamui Kobayashi DAMS Dallara GP2/08 October 18, 2008
LMP2 1:51.793[9] Brazil Bruno Senna Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson November 5, 2017
A1 Grand Prix 1:51.832 United Kingdom Darren Manning A1 Team Great Britain Lola B05/52 April 1, 2006
LM GTE 2:00.948[9] France Kévin Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR-19 November 10, 2019
LMP3 2:01.049[10] United Kingdom Nigel Moore Viper Niza Racing Ligier JS P3 Nissan November 25, 2018
Formula 3 2:01.400[11] China Tatuus F.3 T-318 September 27, 2019
GT3 2:05.458[10] China TianShi Racing Team Audi R8 LMS November 25, 2018
TCR Touring Car 2:17.039[12] Germany Luca Engstler Liqui Moly Team Engstler Volkswagen Golf GTI TCR October 5, 2018
MotoGP 1:59.273 5281m Shanghai International Circuit moto map.svg Italy Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha YZR-M1 May 4, 2008
250cc 2:05.738 Spain Jorge Lorenzo Fortuna Aprilia Aprilia RSW 250 May 6, 2007
125cc 2:12.131 Spain Álvaro Bautista Master - MVA Aspar Aprilia RS 125 R May 14, 2006
A1 Grand Prix 1:35.177 4603m Shanghai International Circuit wtcc.png Canada Robert Wickens A1 Team Canada Lola B05/52 April 13, 2008
WTCC 1:50.833 China Ma Qing Hua Citroën Total WTCC Citroën C-Elysée WTCC October 12, 2014
V8 Supercars 1:51.056[13] Australia Todd Kelly Holden Racing Team Holden VZ Commodore June 12, 2005



  1. ^ "Shanghai International Circuit". Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  2. ^ "Chinese Grand Prix Preview". Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile. April 13, 2009. Archived from the original on April 17, 2009. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  3. ^ "China". Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  4. ^ "China". Retrieved December 3, 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "Shanghai International Circuit guide". F1 Fanatic. Archived from the original on December 16, 2018. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  6. ^ (May 4, 2012). "Circuit Guide: Shanghai International Circuit". Red Bull Motorsports. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
  7. ^ "Straight-line power – the engine in Shanghai". Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  8. ^ Takle, Abhishek (April 14, 2018). "Vettel snatches pole position in Ferrari one-two". Retrieved September 28, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c "2019 4 Hours of Shanghai results" (PDF).
  10. ^ a b "4H of Shanghai - Asian Le Mans Series 2018-2019 Fastest Lap Times" (PDF).
  11. ^ "2019 F3 Asia Round 5 Race 13 Results".
  12. ^ "2018 TCR Asia Shanghai Race 2 Results" (PDF).
  13. ^ 2005 V8 Supercar Shanghai round results Archived May 27, 2008, at the Wayback Machine

External links