Porsche Builds Private Formula 1 Track. In China
Porsche is not part of Formula 1, regular rumors to the contrary notwithstanding. This doesn’t keep Porsche from building and owning its own Formula 1 racecourse. In China. Atlanta and L.A. could be next. What for?
Chinese are snapping up Porsches at an alarming rate. Chinese took the three-monkey-approach to the tepid overall car market in 2011 and bought 65 percent more Porsches than in the year before. There is a 120 km/h (75 mph) speed limit on China’s freeways. Where can the rapidly growing crowd of Chinese Porsche drivers experience what their machine really can do?
In 2013, Porsche wants to open its own private racecourse near Shanghai, says Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. It won’t be just any old track for pseudo racers. FIA will be called to certify the track as Formula 1 material. China currently has only one Formula 1 track – also near Shanghai. Shanghai has a population of over 22 million, it can take two tracks. If I would have been Porsche however, I would have put it elsewhere.
The German newspaper thinks that the track will be similar to Porsche’s track near Leipzig, Germany. The FIA-certified track was designed by German architect and racer Hermann Tilke. He also designed the current Shanghai F1 track. Despite its certification, the Leipzig track hasn’t seen a race since 2002, notes the German paper. The track is used for testing and to impress customers who can go home, saying: “I drove that Porsche on a Formula 1 track.“
Atlanta and L.A. could get similar tracks.
2011 Porsche Sales, Major MarketsRankCountryUnits ’11Units ’10Growth1U.S.A.29,02325,32115%2China24,34014,78565%3Germany14,95913,21113%
In 2010, China had passed Germany as Porsche’s second-largest market, at that time far behind the U.S. Last year, the ranking did not change, but China started to tailgate the U.S. Nobody expects sudden growth in the U.S., Porsche and the FAZ expect China to become Porsche’s largest market this year. It’s part of the family experience: China is by far the largest market of the Volkswagen Group.
Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.
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