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Facts and figures - Valencia and its new street circuit 21 Aug 2008

A Ferrari 430 passes over the swing bridge. Valencia Street Circuit Opening, Spanish F3 and International GT Open. 26-27 July 2008, Valencia, Spain Preparations on the main straight.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, European Grand Prix, Preparations, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, Valencia. BMW Sauber Launch, Valencia, Spain, 17 January 2006. World © Sutton Timo Glock (GER) Toyota rides a lap of the circuit with his engineer Francesco Nenci (ITA) Toyota Race Engineer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, European Grand Prix, Preparations, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday, 20 August 2008 Final corner. Valencia Street Circuit Opening, Spanish Formula Three and International GT Open. 26-27 July 2008, Valencia, Spain

Although all 10 teams have clocked up countless miles around Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo track, none have yet sampled the delights of the city’s new street circuit. To make them feel more at home, we’ve compiled a list of interesting facts and figures to help them get better acquainted with the Spanish city and the track before they delight the fans at this weekend’s European Grand Prix…

- The Valencia Street Circuit is 5.473 kilometres in length and is expected to boast average speeds of 200 km/h and top speeds of over 300 km/h. Its layout is equally challenging, with its 25 turns (11 left and 14 right) expected to test the drivers to the maximum. As one of the calendar’s newest venues, the track is also one of the sport’s safest, with the circuit at least 14 metres wide throughout its entire length.

- Designed by Hermann Tilke (the man behind numerous recent new tracks, including those in China and Turkey), the Valencia circuit is located in the city’s rejuvenated industrial port and uses the harbour-side location to its full potential, with the action rarely leaving the water’s edge. A swing bridge, spanning Valencia’s canal, has even been built between the south and north marina for the cars to cross over. The only other race on the calendar where the Mediterranean Sea plays such an important role is the legendary Monaco Grand Prix.

- In late July, the circuit hosted Formula Three and GT races as a ‘dress rehearsal’ for August’s Grand Prix. GP2 team mates Mike Conway and Ho-Pin Tung clinched the maiden win at the track on Saturday evening, driving a GT3 Dodge Viper, while on Sunday, local hero Jaime Alguersuari won the Spanish Formula Three race.

- Over the course of a lap the drivers will also take in several other famous sights in the city, including the quayside, the historic fish market area, the shipyard gates, the suburb of Grao and the Avenida de Francia. The pits and team garages, located in the former port stalls, will be equally atmospheric.

- The European Grand Prix marks the first time since 1997 that Spain has staged two Formula One races in the same calendar year. Valencia is Spain’s third-biggest city (after Madrid and Barcelona), but while it boasts a population of 740,000, it covers a relatively small 23 square kilometres.

- In 2007, Valencia became the first European city to host the historic America’s Cup. To accommodate the sailing event, half of the historic port was renovated. The city will host the event again in 2009.

- If Sunday’s race ends early for some unlucky drivers, they’ll at least have time to catch up on some of Valencia’s numerous cultural attractions. There’s the baroque Palacio del Marques de Dos Aguas to tempt those with an interest in architecture, while the Museo de Bellas Artes contains enough work by El Greco, Goya and Velazquez to satisfy even the most avid art buff.

- Valencia will be the fourth venue to host the European Grand Prix. Germany’s Nurburgring has staged 12, Britain’s Brands Hatch and Spain Jerez two apiece, and the track that becomes home to the British Grand Prix from 2010, Donington, one. Michael Schumacher is by far the most successful driver at the European Grand Prix with six wins, followed by Fernando Alonso with two.

- Official Formula One tyre supplier Bridgestone plans to bring its soft and super-soft compounds to this season’s European Grand Prix. As the teams have no tyre data, evaluating tyres and assessing the abrasive qualities of the tarmac will be a priority during free practice.

- The last new circuit to make its debut on the Formula One calendar was Istanbul Park at the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix. Both pole position and victory were taken by current world champion Kimi Raikkonen, who was then driving for McLaren.