The modern Red Bull Ring in the picturesque foothills of the Alps near Spielberg is a popular destination for many international series. This is also true for the ESET Cup and TCR Eastern Europe. Both championships is going to visit Red Bull Ring from 20-21th May. It will be the third round of the 2023 season.
Racing engines have been sounding in the area since 1959, when the local airport was adapted for motor racing, something like Silverstone in the UK. The Zeltweg circuit even hosted the Austrian Formula One Grand Prix in 1963 and 1964 and later the World Sports Car Championship endurance events. The last time the Zeltweg was raced was in 1969, when the modern Österreichring autodrom was practically built across the road.
The fast, almost six-kilometre-long Österreichring was immediately popular with the drivers. The Austrian Grand Prix was held here for the first time in 1970, and Formula 1 returned to Spielberg regularly until 1987. That year’s event is memorable in that there were multiple crashes after the start and the organisers had to repeat the start three times.
Between 1995 and 1996, the circuit was substantially rebuilt to its present form. Herman Tilke was behind the reconstruction and reduced the length of the circuit by one and a half kilometres. Meanwhile, the circuit was renamed A1-Ring and Formula 1 returned for a seven-year period. After that, the grandstands were demolished and the sound of the engines fell silent for a few years. Meanwhile, the venue was bought by Red Bull and, after much delay, they set to renovating the facilities. Since 2010 the Red Bull Ring has been active in motorsport, Formula 1 has returned and in 2013 the ESET Cup series visited Spielberg for the first time.
The 4,318-long track is characterised by long straights and just nine corners. The start straight is 650 metres long and at the end of it, a sharp right-hander awaits the drivers, leading to a winding straight that gives way to another right-hander. These spots are the best opportunities for drivers to overtake, whether they are driving GT3s, Cup cars or open wheelers. After the second corner is the third long straight of the circuit, which then leads into the technical passage and takes the drivers back to the start/finish area.