A new FIA Grade 1-specification circuit named Balaton Park has been completed and launched in Hungary, following investment of over €200million ($217m).
The circuit has taken four years to build and is located just over 50 miles from Budapest, near Lake Balaton – a major holiday destination in the country. Describing it as the “highest FIA standard race track to be built in Central Europe for over 15 years”, the circuit’s management held a press event to launch the track, with former Formula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella testing out the 4.115km (2.557-mile) circuit.
“Driving Balaton Park Circuit for the first time, I was impressed by its character,” Fisichella said. “The track really has it all – a thrilling blend of high-speed corners, challenging hairpins and cool chicanes. It’s a track that flows nicely, giving you a great racing feeling. The first corner and the end of the back straight are prime spots for overtakes. All in all, Balaton Park is a treat to drive.”
With permanent seating for 10,000 spectators but the provision for six-figure attendances through temporary grandstands, Balaton Park has been designed to FIA Grade 1 standards as well as addressing FIM regulations for both top-level car and motorbike racing. However, at this stage only a Grade 2 license has been applied for.
Former F1 test driver Chanoch Nissany – who took part in one practice session for Minardi in 2005 and is the father of current F2 racer Roy Nissany – is the circuit’s president, with the second phase of the project set to include a hotel being completed on-site as well as the construction of a car museum.
The Hungaroring on the eastern edge of Budapest is the current host venue of the Hungarian Grand Prix, and has a contract with Formula 1 until 2027.