Intercity Istanbul Park (Turkish: İstanbul Park), also known as the Istanbul Racing Circuit or initially as the Istanbul Otodrom, is a motor sports race track in the Tuzla district of Istanbul, Turkey. It was designed by the well-known racetrack architect Hermann Tilke and was inaugurated on 19–21 August 2005. It has been called "the best race track in the world" by former Formula One Chief Executive Bernie Ecclestone, who held the managing rights of the circuit between 2007 and 2011.[4][5][6] The circuit has been currently managed by the Turkish company Intercity since 2012.[7]

Description

Istanbul Park is in a rural area and is paved with tarmac. It has large concrete and gravel run-off areas, large grandstands and a substantial pit building and paddock.
Aerial view of Istanbul Park

The venue of the Turkish Grand Prix is located in the 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 O–4 motorway, linking Istanbul to Ankara; and close to the junction of Istanbul Park on the south side of the O–7 motorway. It is near Sabiha Gökçen International Airport and is surrounded by forests and fields.

Aerial shot, 2022

The Istanbul Park racing circuit was one of only seven circuits running anticlockwise in the 2021 Formula One season, the others being the Imola Circuit (used for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix), the Baku City Circuit (used for the Azerbaijan Grand Prix), Circuit of the Americas (used for the United States Grand Prix), the Interlagos Circuit (used for the Brazilian Grand Prix), the Jeddah Corniche Circuit (used for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix), and the Yas Marina Circuit (used for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix). This unusual anti-clockwise layout leads to increased strain on the other side of the driver's neck than they would experience at most other circuits, especially through the long high-speed left-hander at turn 8.[8]

Start of the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix, the first Formula One race at Istanbul Park.

The circuit is 5.338 km (3.317 mi) long, with an average width of 15 m (16 yd) ranging from 14 to 21.5 m (15.3 to 23.5 yd), 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 (16 yd), the circuit runs over four different ground levels with a start/finish straight over 650 m (710 yd) in length.

A view of the main grandstand

The track has capacity for approximately 125,000 spectators. The main grandstand has a seating capacity of 25,000 spectators, with natural ground stands and temporary stands allowing for around 100,000 more people. 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.

A view of the pit lane
A view of the pit lane exit

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 corner eventually became the basis of some of Tilke's newer track turns, such as turns 17 and 18 at the Circuit of the Americas, turn 3 at the Sochi Autodrom, and Buddh International Circuit's turns 10 to 11. The high loads exerted through this corner contribute to the circuit's reputation for rapid tyre wear.[9]

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 WeatherTech 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.[10]

Major motorsport events

Formula One

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 reports that the event would take place until at least 2021.[4] The top speed measured of an F1 car by the speed trap was 329.5 km/h (204.7 mph) in 2005. F1 cars equipped with the smaller 2.4-litre V8 engines (instead of the 3.0-litre V10s of previous years) reached 320 km/h (200 mph) in 2006. Felipe Massa has an affinity with this circuit, with the Brazilian winning three of the nine Grands Prix held at Istanbul Park with Lewis Hamilton winning two and Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Kimi Räikkönen and Valtteri Bottas having won one race each.

Istanbul Park returned for the 2020 Formula One World Championship, after a nine-year absence.[11]

Istanbul Park was due to replace the cancelled Canadian Grand Prix for the 2021 Formula One World Championship.[12] Then it was postponed indefinitely due to Covid-19 travel restrictions imposed on the country by the UK government and was replaced by the Styrian Grand Prix.[13] It was later re-added to the 2021 calendar in place of the cancelled Singapore Grand Prix.

GP2

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 in 2009 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, was leading the championship with 31 points. The Italians Luca Filippi of Super Nova Racing and Davide Valsecchi of Durango finished second and third in the race.

MotoGP

MotoGP raced at Istanbul Park for three years between 2005 and 2007. Marco Melandri won the races in 2005 and 2006 with the 2007 race being won by Casey Stoner. After the venue was taken over by now ex-Formula One chief executive Bernie Ecclestone in 2007, the venue was dropped from the 2008 calendar.

Other motorsport events

The first leg of the 2012 FIA European Truck Racing Championship was held on 13 May 2012 at Istanbul Park.[14] 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 in 2014 and 2015, using an area to the outside of turns 12, 13, 14.

Events

2015 World RX of Turkey race in Istanbul Park
Current
  • May: Intercity Cup
  • June: Intercity Cup
  • July: Intercity Cup
  • September: Intercity Cup
  • October: Intercity Cup
  • November: Intercity Cup
Former

Lap records

World RX layout of Istanbul Park, used in 2014–2015

The official lap record for the current circuit layout is 1:24.770, set by Juan Pablo Montoya during the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix. While the unofficial all-time track record is 1:22.868, set by Lewis Hamilton in the qualifying of the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix. The official race lap records at the Intercity Istanbul Park are listed as:

Category Time Driver Vehicle Event
Formula One 1:24.770 Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren MP4-20 2005 Turkish Grand Prix
GP2 1:33.482[15] United Arab Emirates Andreas Zuber Dallara GP2/08 2008 Istanbul GP2 Series round
LMP1 1:41.281[16] France Emmanuel Collard Pescarolo C60 Hybrid 2006 1000 km of Istanbul
Formula Renault 3.5 1:41.342[17] Venezuela Pastor Maldonado Dallara T05 2006 Istanbul Formula Renault 3.5 Series round
LMP2 1:43.031[16] Portugal João Barbosa Radical SR9 2006 1000 km of Istanbul
F3000 Masters 1:45.708[18] Czech Republic Tomáš Kostka Lola B02/50 2006 Istanbul F3000 Masters round
GP3 1:47.227 Italy Andrea Caldarelli Dallara GP3/10 2011 Istanbul GP3 Series round
GT1 (GTS) 1:49.469[16] Portugal Pedro Lamy Aston Martin DBR9 2006 1000 km of Istanbul
MotoGP 1:52.877 Spain Toni Elías Honda RC211V 2006 Turkish motorcycle Grand Prix
Formula Renault 2.0 1:55.524[19] Spain Dani Clos Tatuus FR2000 2006 Istanbul Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 round
GT2 1:55.658[20] Germany Mike Rockenfeller Porsche 911 (996) GT3-RSR 2005 FIA GT Istanbul 2 Hours
World SBK 1:55.673 United Kingdom Tom Sykes Kawasaki ZX-10R 2013 Istanbul World SBK round
250cc 1:57.595 Spain Dani Pedrosa Honda RS250R 2005 Turkish motorcycle Grand Prix
GT3 1:58.612[21] Netherlands Jaap van Lagen Porsche 911 (997) GT3 Cup 2008 Istanbul Porsche Supercup round
World SSP 1:59.157 United Kingdom Sam Lowes Yamaha YZF-R6 2013 Istanbul World SSP round
DTM 2:00.130[22] Finland Mika Hakkinen Mercedes-Benz AMG C-Class DTM (W203) 2005 Istanbul DTM Round
Ferrari Challenge 2:00.718[23] Italy Dario Caso Ferrari 458 Challenge Evo 2014 Istanbul Ferrari Challenge Europe round
Eurocup Mégane Trophy 2:02.560[24] Portugal César Campaniço Renault Mégane Renault Sport 2006 Istanbul Eurocup Mégane Trophy round
125cc 2:03.825 Spain Joan Olivé Aprilia RS125R 2006 Turkish motorcycle Grand Prix
WTCC 2:05.771 Italy Gabriele Tarquini Alfa Romeo 156 WTCC 2005 FIA WTCC Race of Turkey

See also

References

  1. ^ "Intercity İstanbul Park". intercitypark.com.
  2. ^ "tilke-ac.de". www.tilke-ac.de.
  3. ^ Dodgins, Tony; Hamilton, Maurice; Hughes, Mark; Kirby, Gordon (8 January 2021). Autocourse 2020-2021. Cheltenham, United Kingdom: Icon Publishing Limited. p. 280. ISBN 978-1910584-42-2.
  4. ^ a b "Turkey to keep F1 race until 2021". 23 April 2007 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  5. ^ "Ecclestone İstanbul Park'ı bırakıyor". CNN Türk (cnnturk.com). 15 January 2009.
  6. ^ "Ecclestone İstanbul Park'ı bırakıyor". NTV (ntv.com.tr). 4 September 2011.
  7. ^ "Intercity Istanbul Park". intercitypark.com. Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  8. ^ "How Turkey was established as Tilke's F1 gold standard".
  9. ^ Hughes, Mark (9 November 2020). "MPH: Is a perfect lap at Istanbul Park possible?". Motor Sport. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  10. ^ Trulli unmoved by Istanbul - www.itv-f1.com Archived 12 March 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "F1 confirms return of Turkish GP on final 17-race calendar". ESPN.com. 25 August 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Turkey to replace Canada on 2021 F1 race calendar". Formula1.com. 28 April 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  13. ^ "2021 F1 calendar reshuffled as Turkey drops off and extra Austria race added". Formula1.com. 14 May 2021. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  14. ^ "FIA European Truck Racing Championships - Calendars". FIA. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
  15. ^ "2008 GP2 Series Istanbul Feature Race Statistics". Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  16. ^ a b c "2006 European Le Mans Series 1000kms Istanbul". Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  17. ^ "2006 Renault World Series Round 3: Turkey World Series Race 1 Final Classification" (PDF). Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  18. ^ "2006 Istanbul F3000 Masters". Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  19. ^ "2006 Formula Renault 2.0 Euro Istanbul Race 2 Statistics". Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  20. ^ "FIA GT Championship Istanbul 2005". Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  21. ^ "Rennergebnis Porsche Supercup Istanbul 11.05.2008". Archived from the original on 24 December 2013. Retrieved 16 July 2022.
  22. ^ "DTM 2005 » Istanbul Park Round 10 Results". Retrieved 26 July 2022.
  23. ^ "2014 Trofeo Pirelli Istanbul Race 2 (30') Final Classification" (PDF). Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  24. ^ "Round 2: Turkey Eurocup Megane Trophy Results Booklet" (PDF). Retrieved 24 March 2021.

External links