Fuji to close in September

The Mount Fuji racing circuit will close this autumn so that construction can bring the track up to full Formula 1 specification. The program of work is huge and it will mean that the Toyota-owned circuit will not be opening again until the Spring of 2005, at which point it is expected to bid for the Japanese GP in 2007 and beyond.

F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke was commissioned by Toyota to redesign the circuit, which sits in the shadow of Mount Fuji, within easy reach of Tokyo. The plans will retain the general shape of the original race track, the topography making it difficult to do otherwise, but the actual track layout will be very different. The character of the track will not however change, with the long main straight being retained, but all the corners will be reprofiled to a lesser or greater extent with the result being a circuit which will be 150m longer than the current track. Safety will be completely revamped with wider run-off areas, better drainage, FIA specification spectator zone protection and new service roads. The rebuild will include a completely new pit and garage area which will house a Media Center capable of housing 500 journalists and all the necessary race control functions. The vast main grandstand will be revamped to give individual spectators more space and a huge new grandstand will be built at the first corner. This will provide views of most of the rest of the circuit.

In order to improve access two new entry roads will be built.

The plans also include two other zones: one for a driving training facility and the other for a "natural ecology zone".

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