F1 fans’ guide to the Japanese Grand Prix

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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The superb Suzuka circuit and the famously eager Japanese fans are two reasons why the next race is one of the best on the calendar.

Japan’s major car builders Honda and Toyota may no longer be competing in F1 but the crowd do have local driver Kamui Kobayashi, who made his first appearance in an F1 car at this race three years ago.

Several F1 Fanatic readers have made the trip to Suzuka. Here’s what they had to say about visiting the race.

Where to watch

@Australian was at last year’s race and has lots of good advice on where to watch:

The best seats are R stand or any upper level on the main straight, you can see across to the pits. A cheaper alternative is at the S bends, you can see a great stretch of track. A Friday/Saturday/Sunday ticket for say R stand is about $450. Directly on the start line you will pay about $1,000 for a weekend pass.

R stand has good cheaper seats coming onto the main straight, you can see all the way up to the chicane. Also on the back section, after turn two, cars get good speed and you can see up through the Esses.

The main stand only gives you a limited view of the straight and across to the pits, plus it’s facing direct west so come race day you will be looking straight into the sun.

Once you pass the entrance gates, walk to the rear of the main straight grandstand, turn right and you will walk up past the chicane. Keep walking, probably about seven minutes, it’s a nice spot, right at 130R, a super high-speed part of the track. You should also be able to see cars doing the right-hander [Degner] before they pass under the bridge.

Most of the merchandise stalls are behind the main straight grandstand, there will also be some displays, last year they had a cool Bridgestone used F1 tyre display.

Kamui Kobayashi stand

Kamui Kobayashi enjoys plenty of support at his home race and there’s even a dedicated stand for his supporters. Last year he pulled over there during the drivers’ parade to greet his fans.

@Tigerlily says “You can see the second corner and the S-curve” from the stand:

You will get original goods for “Kamui cheer stand”, it may be T-shirt and flag or something like that. You will get a photo card signed by Kamui Kobayashi too.

Thursday activities

Although the track action doesn’t start until Friday, there’s plenty going on the day before.

Anyone who has the ticket can access to the circuit on Thursday.

The main gate of the circuit will open at 08:00
Pit lane walk: 09:00-11:30 (the last admission is 11:15)
East Course walk: 09:00-12:30 (the last admission is 11:30)
Pit lane walk for family: 11:30-12:30 (with children of junior high school age or under. The last admission is 12:15)
Autograph session: 16:00-17:00 (participants are chosen by lottery)

At the entrance of the circuit you will get a special postcard and the postcard is also the lottery ticket and the entrance ticket for the East Course walk. Those selected for the autograph session will be announced on screens at around 13:15.

I have V2 tickets, opposite the pits in the main grandstand.

I think the idea of being able to sit where ever you want of the Friday is excellent and will start with the Esses then go from there.

Finding accommodation

Inexpensive hotels can be tricky to find:

Hotels or Ryoken (Japan’s small hotels) near the track are impossible to book. Suzuka circuit has a small hotel that a lot of drivers and team principles stay at. You want to stay there? Try two nights $3,500 for a budget-style hotel that is right at the track. It has a small bowling alley – you may catch a game with Sebastian Vettel. Seriously. Guests only may visit.

Alternatively (and more common) is to stay at a larger hotel – think Marriot, Hilton etc… – in Nagoya.

F1 Fanatics going to the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix

Here are some of the F1 Fanatic readers who’ve said they’re going to this year’s race. Have a great time everyone and remember to share your images and videos with us when you get back!

@Chrstphr, Emily (@Aussieadl), @Garns, @Yoshif8tures, @Adhoc, @LordHesketh and John Fryer (@FryerTuck)

If you’re heading to the race join in the discussion in the forum:

And remember to share your pictures and video here:

Going to a Grand Prix on F1 Fanatic is sponsored by Grandstand Motor Sports

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    3 comments on “F1 fans’ guide to the Japanese Grand Prix”

    1. Such a shame this place is on the other side of the world :( Maybe one day. I’d love to go.

      Enjoy it if you’re going folks!

    2. Here in Canada, I’ve been to circuit Gilles Villeneuve a couple of times, but damn, it’s my dream to go to Suzuka one day.

    3. Hope it’s a good race, might be the only gaijin in the kamui stand

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