The TT Circuit Assen is a motorsport race track built in 1955 and located in Assen, Netherlands. Host of the Dutch TT, it is popularly referred to as "The Cathedral" of motorcycling by the fans of the sport. The venue holds the record for being the only circuit to have hosted a Grand Prix motorcycle event every year since the series was created in 1949.[1] It has a capacity of 110,000 spectators, including 60,000 seats. Since 1992, the circuit has also been part of the Superbike World Championship calendar.

History

Original Dutch TT Van Drenthe Circuit (1926–1954)
Training session in front of the grandstand
Panoramic view of the TT Circuit Assen

The original Assen track was first used for the 1926 Dutch TT (Tourist Trophy) race, after the first 1925 event was held on country roads through the villages of Rolde, Borger, Schoonloo and Grolloo, and organized by the Motorclub Assen en Omstreken. The brick- and semi-paved track had a length of 28.57 km (17.75 mi). The winner was Piet van Wijngaarden on a 500 cc Norton with an average speed of 91.4 km/h (56.8 mph). From 1926 on the Dutch TT was held at Assen on a street circuit through De Haar, Barteldsbocht, Oude Tol, Hooghalen, Laaghalen and Laaghalerveen.

In 1951 the Italian Umberto Masetti took the record on a 500 cc Gilera with an average speed of 162.35 km/h (100.88 mph). In 1954, Geoff Duke of Great Britain reached 170.69 km/h (106.06 mph). The circuit remained unchanged until 1955, when a whole new circuit was built by using a third of the original street circuit, joined with purpose-built sections, but less than a third of the length and much more like a modern road racing circuit.

In the period of 1999-2002, the circuit invested millions in upgrades. In 1999, the circuit management placed a new main grandstand and hospitality buildings. In 2000, a new Race Control tower was built, as well as 34 newly equipped pit boxes, a new media and medical centre. Between September 2001 and April 2002, another 9 million Euro's is spent on the enlargement of the paddock area from 40 to 60.000 square metres. This upgrade meant that the Veenslang and Ruskenhoek corners had to be altered. The main straight has also moved about 50 metres eastwards and a new two-lane tunnel now connects the paddock with the main entrance road and the media accreditation / welcome centre. The Mandeveen and Duikersloot corners have been moved back by 10 metres to accommodate larger run-offs and gravel beds at the southern part of the circuit. That part of the track has also been resurfaced with new asphalt. In total, the circuit has been shortened from 6.049 to 6.027 miles. The total amount of costs on these upgrades is 23 million Euro's.[2]

In 2005, the grandstand at the Geert Timmer corner was slightly altered. In order to improve the gravel run-off length, the grandstand was made in a 'floating' manner to accommodate the extra space that was needed. The lay-out of the circuit was also slightly altered.[3]

The circuit was fundamentally redesigned again in 2006, becoming the so-called A-Style Assen TT Circuit. All alterations aside, only one section of the circuit is original; the finish line never moved. On 21 September 2009 it was announced that a new chicane will be added, after a request from the A1GP organization,[4] however A1GP was unable to start the 2009–2010 season and as a substitute the Superleague Formula replaced A1GP.

Current racetrack

Main straight.

Assen race track was built in 1955, and initially had a length of 7,705 meters (4.788 mi). The current track has a length of 4,555 meters (2.830 mi) with the mixture of super fast flat-out and slow corners. The longest straight is 560 meters (0.348 mi).[5] The curves in Assen were traditionally banked and the surface is extremely grippy, so the riders were able to drive much faster on the course than other circuits. Today these sloped or curved bends have been modified due to safety issues.

Lap records

The official fastest race lap records at the TT Circuit Assen are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Event Circuit Map
Motorcycle Circuit: 4.542 km (2010–present)
MotoGP 1:32.869 Fabio Quartararo Yamaha YZR-M1 2021 Dutch TT TT Circuit Assen moto.svg
World SBK 1:34.564[6] Álvaro Bautista Ducati Panigale V4 R 2019 Assen World SBK round
Moto2 1:36.690 Raúl Fernández Kalex Moto2 2021 Dutch TT
World SSP 1:37.688[7] Dominique Aegerter Yamaha YZF-R6 2021 Assen World SSP round
Moto3 1:41.618 Pedro Acosta KTM RC250GP 2021 Dutch TT
MotoE 1:43.184 Eric Granado Energica Ego 2021 Dutch TT
Supersport 300 1:49.055[8] Kawasaki Ninja 400 2021 Assen Supersport 300 round
Grand Prix Circuit: 4.555 km (2006–present)
BOSS GP 1:18.298 Toro Rosso STR1 2018 Assen BOSS GP Series round TT Assen.svg
Champ Car 1:20.727 Dan Clarke Panoz DP01 2007 Bavaria Champ Car Grand Prix
Superleague Formula 1:23.547 Yelmer Buurman Panoz DP09 2010 Assen Superleague Formula round
DTM 1:26.123[9] Fabio Scherer Audi RS5 Turbo DTM 2020 2020 Assen DTM round
FA1 1:26.831[10] Dani Clos Lola B05/52 2014 Acceleration in Assen
GT3 1:33.743[11] Mike Rockenfeller Audi R8 LMS Evo 2021 Assen DTM round
W Series 1:35.384 Emma Kimiläinen Tatuus F.3 T-318 2019 W Series Assen round
MotoGP 1:36.558 Valentino Rossi Yamaha YZR-M1 2009 Dutch TT
World SBK 1:38.680 Noriyuki Haga Ducati 1098R 2009 Assen World SBK round
250cc 1:40.340 Álvaro Bautista Aprilia RSA 250 2008 Dutch TT
World SSP 1:40.836 Cal Crutchlow Yamaha YZF-R6 2009 Assen World SSP round
125cc 1:45.098 Sergio Gadea Aprilia RS125R 2006 Dutch TT
TCR Touring Car 1:45.592[12] Attila Tassi Honda Civic Type R TCR (FK8) 2018 Assen TCR Europe round
Grand Prix Circuit: 5.997 km (2005)
MotoGP 2:00.991 Valentino Rossi Yamaha YZR-M1 2005 Dutch TT TT Circuit Assen 2005.svg
World SBK 2:04.685[13] Chris Vermeulen Honda CBR1000RR 2005 Assen World SBK round
250cc 2:05.191 Sebastián Porto Aprilia RSV 250 2005 Dutch TT
World SSP 2:08.865[14] Katsuaki Fujiwara Honda CBR600RR
125cc 2:13.536 Héctor Faubel Aprilia RS125R 2005 Dutch TT
Grand Prix Circuit: 6.027 km (2002-2004)
MotoGP 1:59.472 Valentino Rossi Yamaha YZR-M1 2004 Dutch TT TT Circuit Assen 2002-2004.svg
World SBK 2:02.395[15] Colin Edwards Honda VTR1000SP2 2002 Assen World SBK round
250cc 2:03.469 Dani Pedrosa Honda RS250R 2004 Dutch TT
World SSP 2:06.922[16] Katsuaki Fujiwara Suzuki GSX600R
125cc 2:10.123 Jorge Lorenzo Derbi RSA 125 2004 Dutch TT
Grand Prix Circuit: 6.049 km (1984-2001)
500cc 2:02.471 Tadayuki Okada Honda NSR500 1999 Dutch TT TT Circuit Assen 1984-2001.svg
World SBK 2:03.914[17] Carl Fogarty Ducati 996 RS 1999 Assen World SBK round
250cc 2:05.696 Valentino Rossi Aprilia RSV 250 1999 Dutch TT
World SSP 2:09.581[18] Honda CBR600F4i
125cc 2:13.225 Noboru Ueda Honda RS125R 1999 Dutch TT

Innovation

On 6 July 2004 the organization announced plans for an amusement park located to the north of the track. In 2006 the northern loop was removed and the length was shortened to 4,555 meters. The new center is expected to be visited by 300,000 people, and the total investment is approximately €85 million.

Events

See also

References

External links