Balaton Park Circuit, a new motorsport facility in Hungary, has officially opened after a four-year construction process, with officials stating the venue is ready to host international events.
Located near to Lake Balaton in western Hungary, some 87km from the capital Budapest, the facility has received over €200m (£174.2m/$216.4m) in investment. It claims to be the first Central European circuit built to the Grade 1 standards required by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) for over 15 years.
The circuit has permanent seating for 10,000 fans and can expand to 120,000 through temporary seating. It has initially applied for a Grade 2 licence that would cover the majority of international motorsport series outside of Formula 1, which holds an annual grand prix at the Hungaroring near to Budapest.
Balaton Park Circuit board member, Gianpaolo Matteucci, said: “We are very proud to be celebrating the official opening of Balaton Park Circuit, a unique project that began as a dream and is now a reality thanks to the unwavering commitment of Balaton Park Group.
“The main phase of construction began four years ago and was executed with particular attention to safety, innovation and with special care for the environment. As we are ready to host international motorsport events, Balaton Park Circuit has been built in accordance to the highest standards as required by FIA and FIM (International Motorcycling Federation) regulations.”
The 2.56-mile circuit, featuring a 145-room four-star hotel currently under construction, was designed by Hungarian Ferenc Gulácsi. The project’s second phase will see the addition of a car museum and further attractions for fans.
Gulácsi said: “I designed the course with three aspects in mind: safety, (the) challenge for the competitors and sustainability. I am glad we arrived at this point, that the track is ready for use. The first flag can be waved.”
A ‘Balatonring’ development was previously proposed for the region. MotoGP had planned to return to Hungary in 2010 at this venue, but was forced to abandon this effort when the development of the circuit was affected by the global financial crisis in 2008 and ultimately abandoned.