Porsche Builds Private Formula 1 Track. In China

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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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 Markets

RankCountryUnits ’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
Bertel Schmitt

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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2 of 7 comments
  • Stuki Stuki on Jan 18, 2012

    Driving around in circles, on a tack with repeatable brake markers, is hardly experiencing all that sports cars is supposed to be able to do. A track car is very different from a sports car. Any yahoo with a welding license, can build a car that goes faster around some 30 foot wide track than a P, for virtually nothing. At least the 'ring bears some resemblance to what sports cars were designed to tackle, even if it too is too wide, too smooth, and too predictable. F1 certified tracks? Leave them to F1 or other carts, at least as far as sports car development goes.

  • Buckshot Buckshot on Jan 18, 2012

    The Ring is too predictable? Think again Einstein.

  • FreedMike I suppose that in some crowded city like Rome or Tokyo, there's a market for a luxurious pint-size car. I don't think they'll be able to give them away here in the U.S.
  • TMA1 How much did exchange rates affect this decision? The Renegade is imported from Italy. I'm wondering if that's what caused the price to reach within a few hundred of the much bigger Compass. Kind of a no-brainer to pick the larger, more modern vehicle.
  • CEastwood Everytime I see one of these I think there's a dummie who could have bought a real car , but has to say look at me driving this cool thing I can't drive in the rain like an actual motorcycle that I should have bought in the first place ! It's not Batman I see driving these - it's middle age Fatman .
  • SilverCoupe I should be the potential audience for this (current A5 owner, considering an S5 in the future), but I can't say it excites me. I have never liked the vertical bars in the grilles of sporting Mercedes models, for one thing. The interior doesn't speak to me either.I would be more likely to consider a BMW 4 Series, though not the current version with the double Edsel grille. Still, I suppose it would be worth a look when the time comes to replace my current vehicle.
  • Verbal Can we expect this model to help M-B improve on finishing 29th out of 30 brands in CR's recent reliability survey?