Video: When NASCAR raced at Suzuka

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  • #351511

    F1 is heading to Suzuka this weekend but 20 years ago some very different machines raced at the Japanese Grand Prix venue.

    NASCAR held a pair of exhibition races using the short East Course configuration. That meant they didn’t get to tackle the full grand prix circuit including the mighty Spoon Curve and 130R, but it’s fascinating to see how they handled the rest of the course.

    Of course NASCAR machines were never designed tracks like this which really highlighted the gulf in performance between them and F1 machines. The performance difference is really noticeable at turn one and the Esses.

    The races, which did not count towards the championship, were held in 1996 and 1997. They did 100 laps of the course broken into two 50-lap stages. At the end of the first 50 laps the top ten drivers had their running order reversed:


    In 1997 they had to use wet weather tyres during qualifying but the race was dry:

    Siben Croswell

    This is fascinating! Thanks for sharing, Keith!

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