Nh Speedway is a brand new motorsport venue located in the northern Vietnamese city of Hanoi, which will become home to the 24H Series Asia-Pacific round in 2021. The 3.8km circuit is one of the biggest in Southeast Asia, and will see all the major motorsport series visit in 2021.
World’s Biggest Road Racing Venue
Nh Speedway is the latest in a series of big-hitters to be built in Vietnam, following in the footsteps of Cat Street Circuit and the stunning Nam Ha racecourse. With a total capacity of 150,000, the venue will be the largest road racing circuit ever constructed in Southeast Asia.
The project had been in the works for a number of years, with former Australian Formula 1 driver Garry Rogers paying for construction costs out of his own pocket. After a year of construction, the first ever race took place in 2019, with local drivers competing in front of a capacity crowd.
Located in the suburb of Ba Dinh, the facility has a street circuit layout which is banked on both sides by two lanes of tarmac. A staggering total of 11 turns make for a challenging race circuit for all levels of motorsport enthusiast, with high-speed chicanes and blind corners galore.
The uniqueness of the venue is that it incorporates an urban area within its bounds. Much like Melbourne’s Grand Prix venue, Telstra Paddock, with its neighboring suburbs, there is a bustling city life which spills over into the confines of the circuit. Pedestrians can walk, ride bikes or take a taxi right across the track between turns 15 and 16, with the cityscape visible in all its glory. With several bars, restaurants and food trucks dotted around the perimeter of the track, the atmosphere is one of exploration and excitement. It’s a rare treat for motorsport fans to enjoy such up close and personal access to the action.
The construction of Nh Speedway hasn’t been without its fair share of controversy. The original plan was for the circuit to be an open-air venue, with grandstands and a start-finish line situated on the infield. Environmental charities and residents who live near the site of the circuit opposed this plan, with many voicing concerns over the increased risk of accidents due to the large number of pedestrians and traffic in the area. In response, the event’s organizers erected a roof over the spectator area, protecting them from the elements and creating a more intimate atmosphere. The transition from open to covered track was seamless, with the addition of retractable roof panels.
Organizers claim that the all-seater configuration is safer for spectators, with many other venues in the area already being built with this configuration in mind.
High-Tech & Up-Close-And-Personal Racing
Thanks to increasing safety norms and technological advances, motorsport is becoming an ever-more popular spectator sport. The advent of social media has created a space for fans to connect and follow the action from the safety of their couches, so big-hitters like Formula 1 are creating dedicated digital platforms to enhance the fan experience. Live coverage of grand prix is commonplace, with the 2020 season seeing major broadcasters Sky and ESPN make up to seven hours of uninterrupted live coverage per day available to their audiences.
In addition to safety and technological advancements, the up-close-and-personal element has been a major selling point of Nh Speedway. With the circuit located adjacent to Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport, aircraft spotting will be a distinct possibility for those in the know. This is made easier with the inclusion of an on-site helicopter landing pad, which will be permanently stationed near the circuit’s grandstands.
In an effort to bring fans closer to the action, organizers have also installed a speaker system which is activated when a car crosses the finishing line. Spectators can then join in the celebrations along with the drivers, with national anthems and popular songs cranked up to drown out the sound of racing engines. It’s an experience like no other, with those in the know speculating that Nh Speedway could turn into a bit of a tourist attraction.
Hanoi is a stunning city, with a fascinating history which dates back centuries. The presence of so many historic buildings and structures puts the spotlight firmly on the upcoming round of the World’s Greatest Motorcycle Race (WGMOR), which will be held in the northern Vietnamese city in April 2021. With several iconic structures dating back hundreds of years, it’s an ideal location for motorcycling enthusiasts to explore.