A flying lap around Shanghai 21 Sep 2004
Toyotas third driver, Australian Ryan Briscoe, guides you on an imaginary flying lap of the spectacular new Shanghai International Circuit, venue for this weekends inaugural Chinese Grand Prix.
For a map of the circuit layout, please click here.
"The new Shanghai International Circuit is smooth, wide, with low kerbs. Generally it looks like a high downforce circuit. There are quite a lot of slow corners and a couple of high speed corners. It looks quite a technical track so we should see some good driving.
There are also a couple of very heavy braking points that should also make racing interesting, maybe some good passing opportunities. The hairpin at the end of the back straight, turn 14, will definitely be the prime passing zone. And, while you never know until you try them out, there could also be a chance into turn 6 or even turn 11.
There are a couple of unique points about the circuit, starting with turn 1. It's unbelievable. It's a very long, long corner which almost comes full circle. You have a very fast entry at about 300kph (186mph) and brake late, taking lots of speed in. That will make it quite difficult on tyres. But the corner then starts to tighten up all the way through so you have to keep a tidy line right round to turn 2. Then it's just about trying to get the right line through the change of direction into turn 3, which is taken in first gear.
It's important to get a good exit out of turn 3 with good traction as it's a reasonable straight from turn 4 to turn 6. It's difficult to see how tight turn 4 is, so I'm not sure if it's flat. But if it's not flat it will be close to flat. Turn 5 is flat and we'll be up to sixth before heavy braking into turn 6, another slow corner. Our simulations say that it's a first gear corner, but it may prove to be possible in second.
Out of there, there's a very fast left-hander through turn 7, which is where we're going to need a lot of downforce. It's taken in fifth at a minimum of 240kph (150mph) and it looks quite a similar fast corner to turn four at Jerez. Then we have a change of direction into turn 8. There's a change of direction and it's a slightly slower, third gear corner. That sweeping section looks quite original and it looks like it could be an enjoyable section for driving, so I'm looking forward to it.
The circuit looks like it will be very wide and it looks like there could be some different racing lines and different interpretations of taking the corners - especially out of turn 8 and into turn 9. It looks like we won't be using all of the circuit out of turn 8 and setting up the car more to make sure you have a good exit out of turn 9 to take good speed through turn 10 up the straight.
Turn 11 is another slow corner which our simulation tells us will be taken in first, but may end up in second. It looks like it will be around 70kph, similar to turn 6 and turn 3. After this tight left-hander there's a quick change of direction into a long, sweeping right-hander, turn 12.
Turn 13 is another very long corner, taking you onto the back straight, which is also very long. I'm sure there could be a lot of slipstreaming and good passing potential into turn 14, which is a very tight first-gear corner, taken at around 60kph (37mph). It has a wide exit, though, from which you accelerate up to fifth before the last corner, taken in second, which puts us back on the start-finish straight."