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    Suzuka Circuit Guide by Wolf Feather

    Version: Final | Updated: 04/12/03 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Jamie Stafford/Wolf Feather
    Initial Version Completed: March 27, 2003
    FINAL VERSION Completed:   April 12, 2003
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    Spacing and Length
    Circuit History
    Driving Instructions
    Sample Lap Times
    Contact Information
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    Remember:  Plagiarism in ANY form is NOT tolerated!!!!!  
    Why a guide specific to a single circuit in Auto Modellista?  
    Suzuka Circuit can be a bit tricky; those who have raced the 
    circuit in other games (such as F1 2002 or Grand Prix 
    Challenge) are already quite familiar with the technical 
    expertise required to be successful at this venue.  Suzuka 
    Circuit is likely to be a challenge for those who have never 
    raced at this venue in other racing games.  
    This world-famous circuit in figure-eight style is used for 
    many forms of auto and motorcycle racing.  One of the most 
    famous sights of the 'circuit' is the large Ferris Wheel on 
    the left side behind the main grandstands as cars pass along 
    the Pit Straight.  In terms of racing action, Suzuka Circuit 
    is perhaps best known to Westerners for the annual F1 Grand 
    Prix of Japan, generally the final race - and sometimes also 
    thechampionship-deciding race - of a given F1 season in 
    recent years.  
    Suzuka was once the official test circuit for Honda, with the 
    figure-eight configuration ensuring that there were a near-
    equal number of both left-hand and right-hand turns.  
    Similarly, the circuit was purposely designed to include as 
    many types of corners and situations as possible, which makes 
    the Suzuka circuit more technically difficult than it might 
    at first appear to Suzuka novices.  
    All this makes proper vehicle set-up a bit of a challenge, as 
    a car must be able to brake quickly, corner with as little 
    effort as possible, and still be able to attain high speeds 
    in several key areas of the circuit.  Those with extensive 
    experience at Suzuka Circuit in other auto racing games - 
    especially simulation-based games, where proper vehicle 
    tuning is often crucial to success - will be better able to 
    find the right vehicle set-up to produce success in races at 
    this famous and challenging venue.  
    Please note that some of the information in this guide come 
    from my Circuit Histories Guide and my World-famous Racing 
    Circuits Guide, with appropriate modifications.  
    In operation since at least 1962 and the proud host of F1 
    races since 1987, Suzuka Circuit is the host of many forms of 
    motorsport - including F1 and other Formula series, and 
    motorbikes (including MotoGP) - as well as several racing 
    schools.  Suzuka comprises two different circuits: the 5.821-
    kilometer (3.638-mile) International Racing Course (used for 
    F1 events) and the 1.264-kilometer (0.790-mile) Southern 
    Course (which itself contains numerous configurations).  
    F1 winners at Suzuka: Gerhard Berger (1987 and 1991), Ayrton 
    Senna (1988), Alessandro Nannini (1989), Nelson Piquet 
    (1990), Riccardo Patrese (1992), Ayrton Senna (1993), Damon 
    Hill (1994 and 1996), Michael Schumacher (1995, 1997, and 
    2000-2002), and Mika Hakkinen (1998 and 1999).  
    Japanese fans will long remember the 2002 F1 Grand Prix of 
    Japan, both because only ONE Honda-powered car finished the 
    race, and because it was driven by Japanese driver Sato 
    Takuma, scoring his first points of the season (at the final 
    race of the season) and catapulting the Jordan team ahead of 
    Jaguar in the Constructors Championship.  Simply listening to 
    the thousands of spectators whenever Sato drove past a 
    grandstand was incredibly inspiring even to those watching 
    the race on television :-)   
    Unfortunately, the official Web site 
    (http://www.suzukacircuit.co.jp/) is almost exclusively in 
    Japanese. Many section titles are also given in English (such 
    as Event Calendar, Group Enjoy!, and Circuit Queen), but the 
    only truly-English area is a single page with downloadable 
    files of information for buying tickets to the next Grand 
    Prix of Japan.  
    Pit Straight: Good speeds can be achieved here with strong 
    acceleration out of the chicane.  The Pit Lane rejoins the 
    course from the right near the end of the Pit Straight.  The 
    solid white line protruding from the right at Pit Exit and 
    bisecting the raceway up to the entry for Turn 1 is the blend 
    line used for the F1 Grand Prix of Japan; cars exiting Pit 
    Lane must keep to the right of this blend line until the line 
    ends, or else a penalty is assigned to the driver.  
    Turn 1: This right-hand (almost double-apex) hairpin requires 
    moderate braking on approach, and you will likely be tapping 
    the brakes through the hairpin itself.  This begins an uphill 
    climb, and it is difficult to see the left side of the 
    pavement on exit, so it is imperative to be careful not to 
    run too wide and end up out in the sand.  There is really no 
    reason to overrun the hairpin on entry, as the corner is 
    quite easily identifiable.  
    Turns 2-5 (S Curves): This is by far the hardest section of 
    the course  tight left-right-left-right corners - except in 
    the lowest-powered vehicles in Auto Modellista.  The first of 
    the 'S' curves can likely be taken at full speed, with light 
    or moderate braking for Turn 3.  Turn 4 can be taken either 
    flat-out (not suggested) or with light braking.  No matter 
    what, slam HARD on the brakes for Turn 5, the tightest corner 
    of the 'S' section.  This entire segment of the course 
    continues the uphill climb, making Turn 5 particularly more 
    difficult.  There is ample recovery room on either side of 
    the course through the uphill 'S' section.  The 'S' section 
    is a good place to pass slower cars, if you have enough 
    confidence in your brakes to pass during corner entry.  No 
    matter what, you will NOT be surviving the 'S' curves unless 
    you use the brakes generously - or use only second or third 
    Turn 6 (Dunlop Curve): This sweeping left-hand corner is the 
    crest of the initial uphill segment of the course.  However, 
    it is best to brake lightly or at least lift off the 
    accelerator to keep from sliding out into the grass and sand 
    on the right side of the long corner.  
    Turn 7 (Degner): Here, the course turns to the right in 
    anticipation of the figure-eight pattern.  Light braking will 
    likely be required, but it is possible to speed through here 
    without braking.  To the outside of the course is a wide 
    expanse of grass and sand in case you overrun the corner.  
    Turn 8 (Degner): The final right-hand corner before passing 
    underneath the bridge, this turn is tighter than the previous 
    corner, thus moderate or heavy braking and a steady racing 
    line will be required here if using a high-powered vehicle.  
    This is also another prime passing zone.  
    Straightaway: Accelerate strongly out of Degner and you may 
    be able to pass one or two cars as you race underneath the 
    bridge.  The course fades to the right here before reaching 
    the tight Hairpin.  The fade is a good place to begin braking 
    for Hairpin.  
    Turn 9 (Hairpin): This is a tight left-hand hairpin which 
    begins the next uphill segment of the Suzuka circuit.  It is 
    possible to shortcut a little here, but the grass combined 
    with the angle of the hill here will really slow you down and 
    perhaps cause you to spin and/or slide.  Be careful not to 
    accelerate too soon, or you will be out in the grass.  There 
    is a sizeable patch of kitty litter for those who miss the 
    hairpin completely or lock the wheels.  
    Turn 10: Continuing the uphill run, the course here makes a 
    wide sweep to the right.  Any braking here means losing track 
    Turns 11 and 12 (Spoon): This is a tricky pair of left-hand 
    corners, in a decreasing-radius 'U' formation.  The first 
    corner is fairly standard, requiring little braking (if any).  
    However, Turn 12 is both tighter AND slopes downhill, so 
    judicious usage of brakes and a pristine racing line are both 
    important here in a medium- or high-powered vehicle, 
    especially if attempting to pass a slower vehicle.  If you 
    repeatedly misjudge any single corner at Suzuka, it will be 
    Turn 12; fortunately, there is plenty of recovery room on 
    both sides of the pavement here.  However, do not roll up on 
    the rumble strips or the grass on the inside of Turn 12, as 
    that will almost certainly cause you to lose control and 
    likely spin.  
    Straightaway: Power out of Spoon and rocket down the 
    straightaway, passing multiple cars.  After you cross the 
    bridge, start thinking about the chicane.  
    Turn 13 (130R): Shortly after crossing the bridge, the course 
    turns gently to the left.  Light braking or - even better - a 
    quick lift off the accelerator - is almost certainly required 
    at 130R to keep from sliding off-course, although experts can 
    speed through here at full throttle with an excellent racing 
    line and no encumbering traffic.  
    Turns 14-16 (Chicane): This is the trickiest part of the 
    course (even moreso than Hairpin), and quite likely the one 
    area which will determine whether or not you can execute a 
    good, low, record-breaking lap time.  The chicane begins with 
    a moderate turn to the right, then a tight left-hand corner, 
    then ends with a wider turn to the right and empties out onto 
    the Pit Straight; all of this is on a downhill slope, adding 
    to the inherent difficulty of Chicane.  Fortunately, the 
    inside of the chicane is filled with only sand, not barriers, 
    but shortcutting the chicane will likely result in a loss of 
    control (due to the rumble strips and the kitty litter), or 
    at least cause you to slow tremendously.  Be careful coming 
    out of Turn 15 so that you don't go too wide and bump the 
    right side of the vehicle on the Pit Lane barrier.  
    To give readers an idea of the lap times possible at Suzuka 
    Circuit, some sample lap times are presented here.  These 
    sample lap times were all accomplished in Arcade Mode: Time 
    Attack, using the Auto Tune feature (which automatically 
    adjusts the chosen vehicle's tuning to what is best suited 
    for the chosen race venue).  
    Vehicle                       Style          HP      Time
    ---------------------------   ------------   -----   --------
    Acura Integra Type R          Style 2        190     2:18.321
    Chevrolet Corvette            Style 1        350     2:12.221
    Dodge Viper GTS               Style 2        450     2:06.355
    Ford Mustang GT               Style 1        260     2:27.573
    Nissan 350Z                   Normal         270     2:15.425
    Suzuki Alto Works RSX         Normal         63      2:35.769
    Tommy Kaira ZZ-S              Style 2        197     2:03.820
    Toyota Sports 800             Normal         44      2:42.955
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