Address: Zhejiang Circuit, Keqiao Qu, Shaoxing Shi, Zhejiang Sheng, China
Circuit type: Permanent road course
China's latest racing circuit may well prove to be its best to date, with world class facilities and an interesting layout with - whisper it - some reasonable elevation changes thrown in for good measure.
Located at Shaoxing, a city of 5 million people a few hours' drive south of Shanghai, Zhejiang Circuit has been four years in development. The vision is to provide the ultimate playground for drivers and racing enthusiasts and to give automotive manufacturers and brands a cutting-edge platform to showcase their products to the ever-growing Chinese market.
At the heart of the development is a 3.2km FIA Grade 2 circuit penned by Apex Circuit Design in England. The main course can be split into two smaller 'East' and 'West' circuits which can be run simultaneously, while there is also an independent 800m FIA-CIK compliant kart circuit.
Adjacent to the start/finish straight sits the Motorsport Hub, a state-of-the art hospitality facility that will act as home base for visitors to Zhejiang Circuit. The building offers commanding views of the on-track action from each of the six floors. The ground floor offers exhibition, conference and event space ideal for large scale hospitality events and product launches.
The large mezzanine overlooking the exhibition space will house facilities required to prepare drivers for an exhilarating circuit experience; driver registration, briefing and changing rooms are all located on this level. The third floor will contain an impressive track viewing bar, western restaurant and crèche facility that will be open to the public on a daily basis.
The upper floors of the Motorsport Hub will house the exclusive facilities of Z Club, a members-only venture offering China's super rich access to private race sessions, the use of an exclusive private car park and a secure storage facility for their vehicles.
Surrounding the circuit is more than 100,000 square metres of motorsport-focused leisure and commercial development, designed to enhance the on-track experience and create a hub for the region's growing automotive industry. The commercial development will be connected to the circuit, hotel and Motorsports Hub by a spacious pedestrian plaza, with a range of leasable units set out over three floors. These will include car showrooms with roadside frontage through to a range of food and beverage and retail outlets.
The Commercial Centre is located in a prominent position on the corner of Keyan Avenue and Hunan Road. It will maximise footfall year round from passing pedestrians as well as the affluent motorsport market drawn to the destination throughout the year for major events and experience days.
Opening in late 2016 is a 52-room 'lifestyle' hotel, which intendeds to showcase an 'East meets West' theme. Luxuriously appointed, it will feature signature restaurant Le Sheng, which will serve a range of Chinese cuisine, a swimming pool, saunas, steam rooms and a fitness centre.
Construction on the whole facility began in December 2013 and will conclude in-mid 2016, at which point phase two will begin immediately to add add the car market, the hillside lodges and the office building.
The first international motorsport championship to commit to Zhejiang is the TCR Asia Series, which will visit on October 22-23 - it's highly likely that others will follow.
Zhejiang Circuit is located in the Keyan area of Shaoxing, approximately 50km south of Hangzhou in the commercial heartland of Zhejiang Province. The new high speed rail link means Shanghai is now just over an hour away, bringing its 27 million residents and growing international business community within easy reach.
For international visitors, the nearest airport is Xiaoshan International in Hangzhou, which connects the region to the rest of mainland China. Daily flights arrive from major hubs in Europe, Asia and Africa.