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  • #216433
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    I too was lucky enough to get to the Japanese Grand Prix this year (2013). My own observations and ideas which might help anyone in the future.

    1) Firstly if you are considering going to Suzuka for the race, do it if at all possible. The track is right up there with Spa and the people attending are just wonderful – enthusiastic, friendly and helpful. You will not regret it and it is no more difficult than any other race to get to.

    2) Stay in Nagoya and book the hotel a few months earlier – you can always cancel if your trip falls through. The city is very lively of an evening. We stayed in Hotel Trusty – very friendly and just a short taxi ride from the train station.

    3) Get a Japan Rail Pass before you go to Japan – £180 may seem a lot but considering that the journey from Tokyo to Nagoya is much of that it becomes clear that it is something of an investment as wondrous as the Shinkansen bullet train is, it does cost a pretty penny. It covers all your journey right up to the circuit which itself is about 45 minutes from Nagoya and one stop after Suzuka itself. We didn’t feel the need to prebook a seat to the circuit and started queuing at 8am for the 8.37am train – we got seats.

    4) Friday allows you to sit in any stand. We were on 130R for the race and those tickets were only £88 for the whole weekend. Having sat around the circuit I would say C is a great spot as previously mentioned but the Q stand gives you a view of most of the track and indeed you must be able to see the cars for a good 30 seconds or so in total from that spot. 130R did not disappoint for the price.

    5) No radio commentary in English but take your ipad or smartphone and rent one of the mobile WiFi units they have in Japan (I rented from Global Advanced Communications – https://www.globaladvancedcomm.com/pocketwifi.html – who deliver it to your hotel and you just pop it in the post afterwards for about £30). If you install a VPN such as Tunnelbear you can listen to five live and even get Sky and BBC coverage live with very little delay. The signal worked fine even with 80,000 race fans checking their emails every minute.

    6) If it’s your thing you could rent a car (you need an international driving licence) and drive to the circuit. Quite a lot of parking available and you can go on Friday and reserve a spot in a field 5 minutes from the circuit for the remaining days. Traffic was not bad at 9.30am on race day.

    7) You can take food in if you wish but there are plenty of wonderful things to eat with very little in the way of queues compared to Silverstone. Beer, wine and champagne is all well priced. Do go on the Ferris wheel – barely any queue, and it is free for ticket holders as is the Autopia theme park 5 minutes next door.

    8) Every evening they open up the main grandstands to all at about 5pm or so. You can sit opposite the pits on Friday and Saturday evening and on the Sunday they replay the race on the big screens. Don’t rush off – stay until about 8pm and let the train queues die away. If you do get to the station and there is a large queue go to the wonderful Chinese restaurant and bar up the stairs to the right of the road by the station, before the bridge. It will be full of race staff and we even saw Kobayashi there on the Friday.

    9) Dress up in F1 kit…if you don’t you will be one of the, say, six people who have not done so! Also take a small towel – everyone has one to keep your neck from burning in the sun and to dry you off in the rain.

    10) Don’t go straight back to Tokyo on the Monday…use that rail pass and go to Kyoto even if its just for one day. It’s entirely different to Tokyo and is beautiful.

    Monza for me in 2014 but I will be back to Suzuka in 2015 if all goes to plan. Have fun.

    #211652
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    A flickr set from 2013. A wonderful weekend.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulvinternet/sets/72157636754548684/

    #242891
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    I was at the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend and I saw several people using these on tablets. From what I could see it looked really good. I streamed Radio 5 Live using a VPN which gave us good commentary but the Zume system seemed very good indeed. Fuji do have the rights in Japan but it is on a pay channel rather than being broadcast for free as it was there ten years ago.

    #243164
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    https://mobile.twitter.com/f1zone/status/389300795679571968/photo/1

    It was shocking to watch… I have no idea how he recovered it. He earned an impromptu round of applause from all in the stand.

    #231888
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    I had never seen that. Senna appears to be wondering if it was all worth it.

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-DwOAiK3ZBIs/T4RHL-wpLsI/AAAAAAAAMjs/Gxr3Psi44J4/s1600/ayrtonsenna550gettyimag.jpg

    #231884
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    I would have been 20. I was at Nottingham Polytechnic as it was then, and Dad lived in Lincolnshire so the whole F1 circus was really local. I seem to remember tickets being about 30 quid for the race day, but I might be wrong.

    Well, everyone knows how well Senna did on the day – it was a great experience all round.

    #216428
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    @Rachael.

    Yes, I can confirm that it seems Nagoya is the way to go. My friend in Tokyo researched all the local hotels around Suzuka herself and found nothing much available so Nagoya is where we are staying. She did mention that the rate will often double for that period so perhaps best booking sooner rather than later.

    #216426
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    Hi Rachael. Great to hear you are touring Japan – I am sure you will have a great time.

    We have not booked our hotel yet however my friend who lives in Japan is under the impression that Nagoya is going to be the best place to stay as the hotels nearby are very likely full, that transport from Nagoya to the track is well organised and that Nagoya is far more fun in the evenings. If and when I find more out over the coming weeks I will post it here.

    Mata Ne.

    Pauly

    #225559
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    I am at Suzuka this year in grandstand G1, the upside of which being affordability and the fact that it is on 130r, the downside being there are no screens at that location. I was banking on Fanvision when I chose the seats but no dice this year, obviously.

    So these are the following solutions I will be armed with – any other suggestions welcomed as I feel they apply to any GP abroad.

    1) Small netbook with an IP masking program so I can watch Sky online through WiFi or 3G. that of course depends on signal and bandwidth at the event. My netbook has a SIM slot in so I can pick up a local SIM upon arrival which will reduce my data costs.

    2) Smartphone to stream an audio feed from online. Again using a local SIM.

    3) I am wondering if a small digital radio bought in Japan might give me any access to English speaking commentary…likely not.

    4) Use an international SIM and ask a friend in the UK to pop their phone by their TV so I can hear Sky coverage live on my own phone. Shouldn’t break the bank at weekend rates.

    5) Listen to the local circuit coverage on FM radio and try to decipher it (they do not broadcast in English)

    Anything I have missed?!?!

    Pauly

    #216424
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    Thanks for that Garns – any insight over the coming 6 months through this thread will be helpful to everyone for this and future years.

    I understand that although there are not General Admission areas, there are a number of grassy areas where people sit and watch so there may be an opportunity to look from those on the Saturday and get some more photos. Being in stand G1 my view will be limited but there are a lot of us going so the cheaper tickets were right for this trip and you are right – I will be checking out other seats for coming years ;)

    Only fly in the ointment is no Fanvision this year and there are no screens near 130r. It will be laptops on 3G or if that doesn’t work a cheap roaming SIM so a friend in the UK can pop their phone by the TV so I can follow the BBC commentary live!!!

    #216422
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    Yep, tickets ordered through BookF1, who seem to know their stuff. My first time to Suzuka, although I did used to live in Japan for a spell back in the day. Not been there for a good ten years though so am looking forward to heading back. Never been to Suzuka – one of the best circuits.

    I am around 130r – am under the impression there is no General Admission this year and everything is seated.

    Should be a great event – personally I am hoping for showers and a partially wet race – at least the rain will be warm.

    Pauly

    #208975
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    Thank you for saying so. My third Grand Prix (Donington 1993, Silverstone 2009) but my first with a decent camera. Need a longer lens though, and I have loads to learn – I shot about 1200 pictures over the 3 days and came out with about 50 I liked. Thank god for digital cameras!

    Expect more next year!

    Pauly

    #208972
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    And some more for the scrapbook. Thanks for your advice prior to the event which proved to be 100% correct.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/paulvinternet/sets/72157631392104580/

    #207209
    Avatar of paul vinter
    paul vinter
    Member

    Toni,

    Thanks very much for your clear and informed advice which is what I was hoping to hear. I can put the camping money into a Fanvision TV instead and we will all be set.

    Best wishes, and thanks again.

    Pauly

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