Suzuka Circuit: The Need for Speed

Suzuka Circuit: The Need for Speed

Since time immemorial Ise Jingu Shrine in Mie Prefecture has drawn countless devotees from all over Japan. However, in 1962, a new “sacred site” for motorsports fans sparked a different kind of pilgrimage, as a great number of people crossed the globe to Suzuka Circuit, praised as one of the best racing tracks ever built.

Based on the thinking of Soichiro Honda, the founder of Honda Motor Company, that “vehicles cannot improve without racing,” Japan’s first full-scale road circuit was conceived as a test site to create cars of the highest safety standard. After considering sites nationwide, Suzuka in Mie was selected.
Suzuka is located in the northern part of Mie Prefecture, between Yokkaichi City, the largest city in Mie Prefecture, and Tsu City, home to Mie Prefectural Government, and is easily accessible from Osaka and Nagoya. It has a long history since the ancient time around the 8th century when Kokufu (the capital of the historical Province those days) of Ise no Kuni. Facing Ise Bay to the east and Suzuka mountain range to the west, Suzuka is in the rich nature environment.

At first, although the proposed site included a lot of flat paddy fields unlike Suzuka, with Mr. Honda’s stance of prioritizing coexistence with the local and not destroying important rice fields, the track was built by cutting through mountain and forest areas.
Gathering the best technology worldwide, the Suzuka Circuit International Racing Course opened in September 1962. Just a couple months later a new era in Japanese motor racing was born to the scream of motorcycle engines in the 1st All Japan Championship Road Race in November. Though now one of the oldest F1 tracks in the world, it remains one of the most popular circuits among motorsport fans, drivers, and fans of race games such as Grand Turismo, too.

Suzuka is one of the fastest tracks in history, reaching a roaring climax on the 1.2 km West Straight where racers go full throttle.

The most famous race at Suzuka Circuit is F1, but two-wheel categories like the one that opened the track in ‘63 continue today. This culminates in the intense challenge of the Suzuka 8-hour Endurance Race, where stalwart riders race for eight consecutive hours under the crushing heat of a Japanese July.

The final hour of the “Suzuka 8” is raced after nightfall, so the goal in front of a large crowd in the lit up main straight and the fireworks at the time of award usually make a beautiful and fantastic finale. The main attraction though is the cutting-edge specs of racing machines built by Japanese motorcycle makers like Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki that fight a fierce battle for the victory. Though F1 and the Suzuka 8 are considered paramount, major events are held at the Circuit almost every month, including Super GT, and Super Formula among many others.

Coming not only for the race, a lot of families also visit the adjacent amusement park. It has many attractions, such as ones where even little children can play and ones where children fascinated with motorsports can play safely. All family members both children and adults can enjoy all day here. It must be fun to drive on the F1 track with a state-of-art EV machine.

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Japan is home to not only many of the world’s most competitaive car companies but also one of the deepest, most diverse car cultures as well. Suzuka is the pounding heart of this world on wheels where racers thrill the cheering crowd. For daring drama, lightning speed and the roar of state-of-the-art engines pushed to their limit, there’s nowhere better.
At present in 2021, while races held here is limited, Suzuka Circuit distributes live-streaming and opens videos of past “Suzuka 8” races to the public on Youtube.

Records of F1 races held at Suzuka Circuit in the past also can be read in English. Those who love motor sports will feel a dynamic Suzuka Circuit’s atmosphere even at home.

After enjoying all day at Suzuka Circuit, don’t you want to have something sweet? Japanese confectionery shop Toraya Shogetsu in Suzuka City offers “Suzuka no Shippu Rider Monaka” (Monaka of Swift Wind of Suzuka), a sweet made of azuki bean paste sandwiched between two thin crisp wafers made from rice flour, with a package of ink brush painting by artist Hiroshi Tarui.

Tourist attractions covered by this article