By on January 18, 2012

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

Rank Country Units ’11 Units ’10 Growth
1 U.S.A. 29,023 25,321 15%
2 China 24,340 14,785 65%
3 Germany 14,959 13,211 13%

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.

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7 Comments on “Porsche Builds Private Formula 1 Track. In China...”

  • avatar

    It seems very likely Atlanta WILL get some sort of customer-experience track at their new headquarters near the airport. Whether it will be the FIA certified F1 track like near Shanghai remains to be seen.

    I can’t imagine justification for 1. new customer Porsche track at new NA headquarters 2. new F1 Porsche track at or near same HQ and 3. Road Atlanta all existing within 50 miles of each other in the same large metro area…wait, of course I can imagine that! It’s a corner of motorsports heaven!

  • avatar

    Makes good business sense for Porsche and allows them to offer personalized services like BMW does for their Performance Delivery option in SC.

  • avatar

    Where would you place the L.A. track? Out by Lancaster is not quite “L.A. track” any more Laguna Seca is “S.F. track”.

    • 0 avatar
      Tony L

      They’d like to put it where the 405 meets the 110! Hopefully it goes through.

  • avatar


    Hey dad I’ll totally sit in a plane for 15 hours if….I can take your car to the track.

  • avatar

    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.

  • avatar

    The Ring is too predictable? Think again Einstein.

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