Grand Prix Circuit
3.387 miles / 5.451 km
Motorcycle Grand Prix Circuit
3.282 miles / 5.281 km
2.858 miles / 4.603 km
West Long Circuit
1.906 miles / 3.067 km
Motorcycle West Long Circuit
1.837 miles / 2.957 km
West Short Circuit
1.378 miles / 2.217 km
East Handling Circuit 1
1.791 miles / 2.883 km
East Handling Circuit 2
0.769 miles / 1.237 km
East Handling Circuit 3
0.622 miles / 1.001 km
Address: Shanghai International Circuit, No.2000, Yining Rd., Jiading District, Shanghai 201814
PH: +86 21 6956 8888
Circuit type: Permanent road course
Shanghai International Circuit is a no-expense-spared facility, conceived by the Shanghai authorities as a way to showcase the city to the world, perhaps in retaliation to Beijing's securing of the Olympic Games.
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 though a government-funded joint-venture company. 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 Yuyan-Garden in Shanghai. It creates an amazingly tranquil spot for such a high-octane environment!
The track layout has also been inspired by Chinese culture, with the designers claiming to have drawn inspiration from the Chinese 'shang' symbol (上) for the overall configuration – though you do have to stretch your imagination quite a bit to see it in the final layout.
Driver reaction has been mixed – the never-ending turn one tends to divide opinion, and much of the course is quite twisty, until you reach the 1.2km back straight. Motorcycle racers use a different, and less severe, turns 5-6 complex, while the WTCC and V8 Supercars (on their lone visit in 2005) have made use of the intermediate layout which bypasses this section altogether.
The circuit is in the Jiading district in north west Shanghai. The city has two major airports: Pudong, 30 kilometres south east of the city centre, is the bigger of the two, but Hongqiao in the western suburbs also handles some international flights. Pudong is approximately an hour's drive from the circuit, while Hongqiao is around 30 minutes away.
Public transport is the easiest way to get to and from the track. SIC has its own Metro station, or special buses will take you to the circuit from selected points around the city.
Arriving by car is another option, although remember that International Driver's Permits are not recognised by China, so foreign drivers will need to obtain a local licence to drive legally (and if you don't, and get caught, the penalty is a 14-day jail term). As a consequence, most visitors find it easier to hire a Chinese driver when renting a car - rates for this are relatively cheap and give the added advantage of not having to deal with Chinese traffic and questionable driving standards. The circuit can be approached via a variety of highways; S5 (Hu Jia), G15 (Ka), G2 (Nanjing) and G1501 (suburban ring).