Twin Ring Motegi
Located about 90 miles north of Tokyo and nestled in the foothills of the Hakko mountains, Twin Ring Motegi opened in 1997. The site, whose natural contours protect the surrounding area from the loud noises of racing, was constructed by Honda as a way to bring enthusiastic fans of all sorts of motorsports together at a site with a dual purpose—a venue for two kinds of racing. Honda executives visiting a NASCAR race in Charlotte, North Carolina were amazed by the huge and enthusiastic crowd, and the great sightlines that the oval circuit provided. Motegi’s “Super Speedway” oval circuit resulted from this trip. In addition, Honda wanted to include a world-class road course. Thus, the “Twin Ring” concept was born. Construction of Twin Ring Motegi became the largest private construction project in Japan up to that point, although in typical Honda fashion environmental concerns were not ignored—many of the trees on the site were saved and a rare local species of dragonfly was successfully relocated to a new site. With two available circuit types, Motegi hosts a wide variety of racing. The oval hosts the Indy Japan 300 through 2011, and was also the host of the of an exhibition NASCAR race, the Coca-Cola 500, in 1998. With its main turns of two different diameters to challenge drivers, the oval is the site of exciting pack racing. Overlaying the Super Speedway oval (and at times snaking underneath it) is the road course, popular for MotoGP, Formula Nippon, Super GT, and Super Taikyu racing. The road course’s combination of long straights and tight hairpins make for great racing action with plenty of places to test your nerve at outbraking and overtaking opponents.