First FIA standard track for 15 years in Central Europe opens its doors

Balaton Park in Hungary becomes the first Central European circuit to be built to FIA standards for 15 years

Balaton Park in Hungary becomes the first Central European circuit to be built to FIA standards for 15 years

Former F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella has helped officially open the doors on what is the first circuit in Central Europe to be built to FIA standards for over 15 years.

After a four-year build at a cost of €200 million (AUD$325m), the 4.115-kilometre anti-clockwise Balaton Park circuit in Hungary, situated just over 87 kilometres (55 miles) south-west of Budapest, has been built to FIA Grade 1 specification and to FIM regulations.

A Grade 2 licence has initially been applied for as the track, which has six right- and 10 left-hand corners, will host international race events.

After savouring the circuit, Fisichella, who won two grands prix from his 229 F1 starts across a career that ran from 1996 to 2009, said:  “Driving Balaton Park Circuit for the first time, I was impressed by its character.

“The track really has it all – a thrilling blend 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, Balaton Park is a treat to drive.”

The circuit houses 48 garages, has three separate paddocks adjacent to one another, and includes state-of-the-art facilities for fans, media and VIP guests.

At present, there is permanent seating for 10,000 fans, but this can be increased to 120,000 with the erection of temporary grandstands.

A luxury four-star hotel is due to be completed for next season, whilst there are also plans to build a car museum, along with additional attractions.

Balaton Park Circuit board member Gianpaolo Matteucci has described the project as “unique”, one that “began as a dream and is now a reality thanks to the unwavering commitment of Balaton Park Group”.

He added: “The main phase of construction began four years ago and was executed with particular attention to safety, innovation and special care for the environment.

“As we are ready to host international motorsport events, Balaton Park Circuit has been built in accordance with the highest standards as required by FIA and FIM regulations.”

Track designer Ferenc Gulácsi said he designed the circuit with three aspects in mind – “safety, challenge for the competitors and sustainability.

“I am glad we have arrived at this point, that the track is ready for use. The first flag can be waved.”

For the first event, the circuit plays host to Porsche as the German manufacturing giant celebrates its 75th anniversary with a two-week driving programme entitled ‘Porsche on Track’, followed by a one-day ‘Festival of Dreams’ event on June 10.

Check out the images of the Balaton Park Circuit and clink on this link for the track map.

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