Motegi Is Like No Other By Robin Miller If you can get to the world's finest racing center -- and it won't be easy -- an out-of-ordinary experience awaits you. MOTEGI, Japan -- The United States boasts the Texas Motor Speedway,...
Motegi Is Like No Other By Robin Miller If you can get to the world's finest racing center -- and it won't be easy -- an out-of-ordinary experience awaits you.
MOTEGI, Japan -- The United States boasts the Texas Motor Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, California Speedway and the Homestead-Dade Motorplex. They're all state-of-the-art, fan-friendly modern meccas of motorsports.
Japan's contribution to this list is Twin Ring Motegi. From every aspect, there isn't a finer facility in the world.
Built between two mountains by the Honda Motor Co. Ltd at a cost of $400 million, Motegi is a testament to Japanese ingenuity and vision. It features six different racetracks, a lavish hotel, a wondrous exhibit for the true gearheads and a museum that houses all of Honda's racing history.
The showcase is a 1.5-mile oval that hosts the annual CART show and a NASCAR Winston Cup exhibition. It seats 60,000 people, escalators move the paying customers, pit-side garages are for the teams, and a wide, super-smooth track surface makes for fast speeds and excellent racing.
Inside the oval is a winding 2.9-mile road course that entertains Japan's Formula 3000 series and the World Super Bikes in 1999.
For the race enthusiast, Motegi sports just about everything. You can drive a midget or a motorcycle on the dirt track, run the side-by-side cars on a special road-course layout or drive several models of Go Karts on the same track. There's also a stock-car school, a skid pad and a safety facility.
Honda's museum is a treasure of motorcycles and racecars -- from the first Formula One chassis of Richie Ginther to Ayrton Senna's personal models to Kenny Roberts' world title bike. Most of these machines are still driven during the year.
There is also a Honda Fan Fun Lab, which features a theater in the round, a mock assembly line, a motorcycle simulator and many examples of racing and passenger car technology.
The only downside to Twin Motegi is its remote location. Althought it's only 60 miles from Tokyo, it takes three hours to make that drive. A narrow two-lane highway is the only road to the track.
Source: CART Online