Balaton Park Circuit opens in Hungary



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Balaton Park racetrack opens in Hungary Image: Balaton Park Circuit

The new Balaton Park Circuit officially opened in Hungary on May 16th, becoming the highest Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) standard race track to be built in Central Europe in over 15 years.

‘motorsport.com’ stated that the circuit, next to the Balaton Lake, has applied for an FIA Grade 2 license, allowing it to host junior single-seater categories and sports car racing, but has been built in accordance with Grade 1 specifications.

Paris (France)-based the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) is an association established on June 20th, 1904 to represent the interests of motoring organizations and motor car users. It is the governing body for many auto racing events, including Formula One. The FIA also promotes road safety around the world. The 2.55-mile anti-clockwise track with six right and 10 left-hand corners, has permanent seating for 10,000 fans but the capacity to increase that to 120,000 with temporary grandstands.

‘motorsport.com’ further stated that the first event to be held at the circuit will be Porsche on Track, a two-week driving program as part of the German marquee’s 75th-anniversary celebrations, followed by a one-day Festival of Dreams on June 10th.

The facility, which hopes to host international racing from the 2024 season, has received over €200 million in investment and will be accompanied by a four-star hotel and museum.

Three-time Formula 1 race winner Giancarlo Fisichella was on hand for the launch and said of the circuit, “Driving Balaton Park Circuit for the first time, I was impressed by its character. The track really has it all – a thrilling blends of high-speed corners, challenging hairpins and cool chicanes. It’s a track that flows nicely, giving you a great racing feeling. The first corner and the end of the back straight are prime spots for overtakes. All in all, the Balaton Park is a treat to drive.”

The circuit’s President is Chanoch Nissany, father of Formula 2 stalwart Roy Nissany, who made an F1 free practice appearance for Minardi at the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Minardi was an Italian automobile racing team and constructor founded in Faenza in 1979 by Giancarlo Minardi. It competed in the Formula One World Championship from 1985 until 2005 with little success, nevertheless acquiring a loyal following of fans.

The Balaton Park Circuit Board Member Gianpaolo Matteucci said, “We are very proud to be celebrating today (May 16th) the official opening of Balaton Park Circuit, a unique project that began as a dream and is now a reality thanks to the unwavering commitment of the Balaton Park Group. The main phase of construction began four years ago and was executed with particular attention to safety, innovation and with special care for the environment. As we are ready to host international motorsport events, the Balaton Park Circuit has been built in accordance to the highest standards as required by FIA and International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) regulations.”

The track was designed by Hungarian Ferenc Gulacsi, who explained what he wanted to achieve with his layout, “I designed the course with three aspects in mind: Safety, challenge for the competitors and sustainability. I am glad we arrived at this point today (May 16th), that the track is ready for use. The first flag can be waved.”

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