Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Designed in the mid-1970's by John Hugenholtz , Suzuka is a unique circuit, being one of the very few in the world to have a figure 8 layout. Naturally, the track doesn't actually intersect with itself; instead, the backstraight passes over the front section by means of an overpass.
Suzuka is one of the oldest remaining tracks on the Grand Prix circuit, and so has a long history of exciting races. Japan's traditional role as the penultimate or final Grand Prix of the season means numerous World Championships have been decided at the track.
Safety has been a concern at the track following two tremendous accidents in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, Toyota driver Allan McNish suffered a high-speed crash at Turn 130R, which sent him through a metal fence; fortunately, he was not seriously injured, though he hasn't competed in Formula One since. More tragically, in 2003 MotoGP rider Daijiro Kato was killed when he crashed into a concrete wall at the chicane. Both corners have been substantially reprofiled.
The NASCAR Winston Cup Series ran at this track in 1996 and 1997. 1996 saw a dark day in NASCAR when official Pace Car driver Elmo Langley was killed in the Chevy Corvette Pace Car at the esses. In 1997, one of NASCAR's top officials had an appearent heart attack and survived.
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