So, plenty of us agree that the recent influx of countries without motor racing circuits of an F1 grade (or even without any at all!) has seen many new Tilkedromes added to the calendar. Sometimes these tracks are good, occasionally they’re bad, and a lot of the time they’re just un-inspired and dull, considering the complete blank canvas they start with.
Anyway, this got me thinking. All the best circuits were either created from existing roads (Spa, Le Mans, Monte Carlo) or were built with the terrain in mind (Interlagos, Suzuka). But speaking of terrain, what could be more natural than the shape of a country itself? There’s nothing more natural than the shape of a coastline, and political borders, although man-made in a sense, have traditionally followed natural courses, such as rivers or mountain ranges.
So what better than having a go at making a race track from the shape of a country? Sure, smooth out the wiggles a bit and try and find an edge to add in a start-finish straight and pit lane, but having spent my Saturday afternoon coming up with these (yeah, didn’t have much else to do, but it’s been a while since I put pen to paper, and it made a change), I think it throws up some pretty interesting layouts.
Where possible I tried to include shorter or alternate circuits within each, like real-life circuits, but never did I stray outside of the confines of the country in question. I’ve also drawn the layouts at different angles to the way you usally view the maps of the countries (ie north = up) so that it’s easier to see the track, and not just a country map.
So to start: the USA. We know it has a track coming next year that takes the terrain into account, and borrows from other circuits, but that about having one that follows the outline of that new world?
The 49th degree divide provided the perfect start line, and imagine the track diving down hill through the esses formed by the great lakes to ‘Pine Tree’ and ‘Atlantic’, then a fairly flat section down to ‘Bayou Bend’, which dips even further before slowly rising up and over ‘Mexico Way’ and dips back down to ‘Caliafornia Kink’, before gradually rising along ‘Pacific’, and a steep uphill chicane to complete the lap. A second shorter circuit cuts from the end of the pit straight through to Bayou Bend, roughly following the course of the Mississippi river.
Britain: Silverstone is great, and even after that we have Donington, Brands Hatch, Snetterton, Rockingham, Thruxton, Oulton Park, Croft… I could go on. But what about this twisty little number (Sorry Northern Island, including you would have made this too difficult).
The ‘Scotch Loop’ provides a lot of the twists and turns, with several switchbacks. the ‘Circuit Cymru’ section provides more, but can be missed out if the addition of a straight is required, and the English section provides a faster length of track. Included is a small pitlane for the ‘Circuit Cymru’ school circuit, and the short ‘England Circuit’ can be used on its own for club-level races.
France: France has no Grand Prix at the moment, which seems silly as that’s like asking America to stop playing Basketball, Japan to leave Sumo alone, or taking Brazil’s beach vollyball away! According to Bernie, they don’t even have a track suitable, so what about this’un?
The start/finish line aptly cuts along the edge of the Champagne region, before wiggling it’s way along the English Channel and through a hairpin caused by Brittany’s Brest (what? it’s a place, look it up!) The Biscay coast forms a fast sweeping ‘tournes à la droite’ before a sharp 90 at Basque. An optional chicane at Andorra breaks up the next stright if need be, before the circuit ends with a tight twisty section formed by the wiggly borders with Italy and Switzerland. Also in this area is a shorter ‘Alpine Test Track’ I imagine this section to include a fair amount of gradiant.
Bahrain: In the news at the moment for reasons more important than F1, but the quality of the track is hotly debated amongst F1 fans. To be honest, this desert island’s outline doesn’t provide something that looks much better, including a real ‘Micky-Mouse’ section towards the end of the lap.
The first half of the lap looks fast and sweeping, but the urban north-east of the island (along with its land reclaimation) adds some twists and turns, although whether this would be any good for overtaking in an F1 car will remain to be seen forevermore, I should think. It does provide a multi-layout mini-circuit though.
And, as a bonus (and because my girlfriend requested it, because she likes Japan) Japan:
The 4 main islands of Japan gave me the idea of making each one into its own circuit, and so makes this track more like a private test facility (like Paul Ricard). Hokkaido provides a tight twisty layout, Kyushu a short, quick lap, and Shikoku gives somewhere for the karting magic to happen. Linking them all is the main island of Honshu, which has a pretty good looking layout of it’s own, but can have a circuit added on at either end (or both ends at once) to provide a long, varied lap that would test a somewhat compromised setup for a car.
So, does anyone else want to have a go? Maybe make a layout for your own country, or one that has an interesting outline?