Tokachi International Speedway
Tokachi International Speedway (or just Tokachi Speedway since 2010) is a race track located in Sarabetsu at Japanese northernmost island Hokkaido. The 5.091 km (3.164 miles) long circuit was opened in 1993. It features the full-size 18-turn Grand Prix course, 3.4 km long Clubman Circuit and 1.7 km long Junior Circuit. The facility is mainly in use for Japanese national racing competitions.
First FIA Grade 2 circuit at Hokkaido
When opened, Tokachi International Speedway was the first circuit under international FIA Grade 2 standards at Hokkaido. Construction began in 1992 and was largely complete by October of that year.
After the winter break, the final works were completed by May 1993. The parts of the opening ceremony were the 400km N1 endurance race and the 300km Group A touring car event.
Tokachi 24 Hours was the main event from 1994 to 2008
In 1994, the Japanese Touring Car Championship and Japanese Formula 3 Championships came to Tokachi but the highlight of the season was the inaugural running of the Tokachi 24 Hours. This was a GT and touring car race, held as part of the Super Taikyu series but also open to machinery from Super GT.
The first Tokachi 24h race was held at Clubman Circuit, after that mainly at Grand Prix Circuit. Fifteen 24-hour races took place at Tokachi, the final one was held in 2008. The record holder with five wins is Tetsuya Tanaka. Just three non-Japanese drivers won the race: German Dominik Schwager, Portuguese Andre Couto and Malaysian Fariqe Hairuman.
All Japanese championships visited Tokachi at least once
In 1995, the inaugural F3000 race took place at Tokachi, with Toranosuke Takagi as the winner. In 1996, the championship was converted into the Formula Nippon and came to Tokachi. The race winner was Ralf Schumacher, who eventually became the champion. It turned to be the only Formula Nippon event at Tokachi, as the Japanese premier single-seater competition never returned to the circuit.
An another top class competition came in 2004, but it was again a one-off visit. It was an event of the Japanese GT Championship, in which Michael Krumm and Masami Kageyama won the race with Nissan Fairlady Z.
New owners of the circuit since 2010
The 2009 world economic crisis struck the circuit, causing financial troubles and large debts. By March the company went into liquidation and applied for bankruptcy. The 24-hour race was cancelled that year and it was never revived again. In August 2009, the circuit was bought by the MSF Corporation, a mobile phone games producer. The circuit was renamed to the simpler Tokachi Speedway in 2010.
Since then, a schedule of events remained based mainly on local races and occasional national events. One of the highlights of the season was the round of the D1 Grand Prix Series, the Japanese drift championship.
In addition to racing events, the circuit also organizes the Tokachi Racing School.
Address: 477 Kowa, Sarobetsu-mura aza, Kawai-gun, Hokkaido 089-1573, Japan
Phone: +81 155-52-3910
Official website: www.tokachi.msf.ne.jp
Photos: Tokachi Speedway,