Work will begin this summer at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi to improve overtaking opportunities and “keep product offerings fresh”, with work set to be begin over the summer.
Management at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi have approved three major changes to the layout of the Grand Prix venue in an effort to improve overtaking opportunities, with work set to begin this summer.
Identifying what circuit bosses have called “ways in which [they] can evolve, keep [their] product offerings fresh and retain the support of [their] loyal fanbase,” significant modifications will be made at both the northernmost and southernmost corners of the circuit as well as the stop-start infield that passes beneath the neighbouring Viceroy hotel, all in an effort to open up overtaking opportunities. The changes are set to be completed “well in advance” of the Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November, and, consequently, the Hankook 6H ABU DHABI, due to take place next year on 21-22 January.
Modifications begin at turn seven, in front of the North Grandstand. Previously, competitors entered the hairpin via a slow-speed left-right chicane, which will be removed altogether. The track, now a straight-shot into the hairpin (now turn five), will also be enlarged. While this theoretically provides more racing lines and increased overtaking opportunities into the hairpin, it’s also believed this adjustment will make it easier for cars to slipstream down the first of two back straights.
At the end of the second back straight, the left-right-left-left sequence of second and third gear corners in front of the South Grandstand – turns 11 through 14 – will also be replaced with a higher-speed horseshoe left hairpin (now turn nine). Allowing cars to go wheel-to-wheel into the new left-hander – at upwards of 300kph in the case of the Grand Prix machines – this new layout also filters competitors seamlessly into the complex under the Viceroy Hotel.
Though revisions to the former turns 17 through 20 (now turns 12 through 15) are minimised by the position of both the marina and the Viceroy, the radii of the corner are set to be opened up in an effort to create a faster and more flowing section through which cars can followed more closely than before.
The established 5.554km length of the circuit is also expected to change once construction is complete.
“The reason we’re making these changes is because we’ve listened to the spectators and fans, we’ve listened to the teams and drivers, and we’ve built these modifications taking into consideration the feedback we’ve received,” explains Saif Al Noaimi, acting CEO of Abu Dhabi Motorsports Management. “Ultimately our objective is to create more overtaking opportunities, closer wheel-to-wheel racing and a faster, free-flowing circuit.”
Following its inaugural run earlier this year in January, a second edition of the non-championship Hankook 6H ABU DHABI has also been confirmed for next season on 21-22 January, one week after the season-opening Hankook 24H DUBAI at the Dubai Autodrome on 13-14-15 January. At this year’s event, Car Collection Motorsport took a hard-earned victory with its Audi R8 LMS ahead of Leipert Motorsport’s Lamborghini Huracán Super Trofeo and 991-class winner, PROFILDOORS by Huber Racing. In the TG division, Canada’s ST Racing secured its second class win in succession of the season with its BMW M4 GT4 ahead of the Sally Racing and PK Carsport.
- Images – Yas Marina Circuit and Petr Frýba