Motorsport fans got some good news earlier this week: The Balaton Park Circuit was officially opened in Balatonfőkajár on Tuesday, 16 May. Except for hosting Formula 1 and MotoGP races, the facility can accommodate any motorsport event. The 4115-metre long asphalt track with 16 curves is located a few kilometres from the M7 motorway and only 85 kilometres away from Budapest, and is complete with a wide range of supporting facilities.
During the opening press conference of the Balaton Park Circuit, Gianpaolo Matteucci, a member of the racetrack’s board of directors, stated that every member of the group consisting of private investors who conceived and financed the facility believed from the very beginning that this track was achievable.
‘This facility has been built in compliance with the highest safety requirements set by the International Automobile Federation and the International Motorsport Federation, which is why it can practically host any type of race. The construction of a four-star, 145-room hotel is currently underway, which will be completed soon, providing direct views of the track from its premises,’ said Matteucci. He added that they hope the racetrack will give a new boost to tourism in the region and play a significant role in job creation.
Ferenc Gulácsi, the designer of the track, could not attend the event due to a coronavirus infection, but in his message, he expressed that the development of the asphalt strip was a true team effort, and they made an effort to think from the perspective of the racers throughout the process. ‘When planning, we primarily considered three aspects: safety, sustainability, and the challenges posed to the racers,’ stated the designer.
Giancarlo Fisichella, a three-time Formula 1 race winner, participated in the press conference and became the first person to drive on the asphalt track in a street Ferrari.
The fifty-year-old driver said he is honoured to be the first to try out the Balaton Park Circuit and then provided the main driving technical features and essential information about the track from a racer’s perspective. ‘At the end of the main straight, there is a good opportunity for overtaking, and in the back straight, I feel that with a racing car, speeds of 250-260 kilometres per hour can be achieved, while with a Formula 1 car, speeds of up to 300 kilometres per hour can be reached,’ the Italian driver said.
Adrienn Dancsó, the operational manager of the motorsport department at Balaton Park Circuit, presented that they have 40,000 square metres of paddock area at their disposal, with 48 garages in the pit lane, and they use the latest racing management system called MyLapsX2.
‘We have many plans, and with today’s event, we have also opened the racing calendar. We hope that among the various racing series, more and more will decide in the near and distant future to compete with us,’ she declared. Responding to a journalist’s question, she mentioned that they still need to meet additional requirements for hosting Formula 1 and MotoGP races, but they actually do not intend to ‘take away’ the Formula 1 race from the Hungaroring because it belongs to that racing series.
Balatonfőkajár Mayor Zsolt Forró expressed that the region is prepared to host major sports events, and the construction of the Balaton Park Circuit will give a significant boost to tourism. ‘This track will attract tourists who are fond of car and motorsports and put Balatonfőkajár on the map of these two sports. In addition to that, our accommodations will be able to accommodate more guests, and the facility will offer job opportunities for local residents,’ stated the mayor.