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Bangkok street race circuit layout decided

27 April 2013

The proposed night race on the streets of Bangkok in Thailand took one step closer to reality this week, with local newspapers reporting that the Sports Authority of Thailand has signed off on a 3.725-mile (5.995km) circuit right through the heart of the capital city.

The start/finish straight would be at the Royal Thai Naval Dockyard on the Chao Phraya river near the Rama VIII Bridge, and the street circuit would enclose Bangkok's famous Khao San Road, well known to backpackers the world over.

"As the starting and finishing point would be on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, we may be able to build the main stands in the river," the governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand told the Bangkok Post on Friday.

After the green flag, the race would head south towards one of the city's chief tourist attractions, the Grand Palace and then head up Ratchadamnoen Avenue, the site of Mark Webber's demonstration run in 2010 in his Red Bull car before 100,000 enthusiastic spectators.

The circuit would then take in the Democracy Monument and would include other sights including the red Giant Swing of Wat Suthat, Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) and the Navy Club before following Phra Sumen back to the start/finish line. The paddock and spectator stands would be at Sanam Luang.

"Only a small group of residents would be affected by the proposed route," said Kanokphand Chulakasem, who heds the sports authority. "It would also be convenient for transportation of equipment."

While it might be logistically appealing for the city and its tourism office, the proposed layout hasn't gone down a storm with fans, however. The circuit would lack any big challenges or sharp ninety degree corners that would make for an exciting race or allow for many obvious overtaking opportunities.

Now that the sports body had made its decision on the route, the proposed street circuit will have to be submitted to the national government for review and approval before it is formally signed off and preparations for the event can really get under way.

The event is currently on schedule to d├ębut on the F1 calendar for the 2015 world championship season. A Thai GP has been mooted for several years in various forms, with Red Bull a particularly enthusiastic proponent of the event.

Earlier this year, a leading local opposition politician suggested that he was considering building a permanent F1 circuit in the town of Buri Ram, 400km to the north of Bangkok, and that he had approached track designer Hermann Tilke about carrying out the work. (See separate story.)


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