Trackside at Suzuka – 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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Your trackside guide to Suzuka, home of the Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix. The next race takes place on October 5-7, 2018.

This guide will be fully updated for 2018 around 2-4 weeks before the race weekend.

With so much recent F1 history and an incredible atmosphere courtesy of the fervent local fans, a trip to the Suzuka circuit is on the bucket list for many F1 fans. The circuit is a little out of the way, but the trip is worthwhile. Just pay attention to our tips below and come prepared! The good news is that the Suzuka website has been recently upgraded  with lots of useful information in English for fans visiting the track; we have included plenty of links to relevant pages below.

Be prepared for a day at Suzuka

It’s worth getting organized before travelling to Suzuka. Aside from food and expensive F1 merchandise, there are no shops or ATMs at the circuit or the Suzuka Inou train station. (There are shops and ATMs at the Shiroko train station, but opening hours are limited and you may not get what you need.) Make sure you have sufficient cash, as well as other useful items such as sun cream, a hat, umbrella or wet weather gear. You’ll be walking a lot at Suzuka, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes.

Entrance & Orientation

The Japanese are a polite, law abiding race of people. Read about Better Manners ‘for a more pleasant spectator experience’ at Suzuka including a list of prohibited items at the circuit. Eight entrance gates provide access to the circuit (see map). It pays to check the closest entry gate to your grandstand or you may have a substantial walk of up to 3km. The main gate is closest to the grandstands on the final corner (Q1-2, R, S) and pit straight grandstands (V1, V2). Click here for more detailed information on entry gates, including opening and closing times.

Click here to download a more detailed map (courtesy of suzukacircuit.jp)

Suzuka: good to know

  • Free Friday: don’t forget that Suzuka offers ‘Free Friday’, which means you can sit in any grandstand for the first day of action (with the exception of the V2 Upper grandstand). This is a great opportunity to check out some views from different parts of the circuit. Click here for our top 5 grandstands at Suzuka.
  • Follow the action: trackside commentary is being offered in English this year for the first time! Tune in to 87.5 FM on your own device or rent a radio at the track. Alternatively you can try out the free WiFi offered by the track to get updates via the F1 app or buy yourself a local SIM card. NTT Docomo is the best mobile network for coverage at Suzuka.

2017 Japanese Grand Prix Schedule

In addition to around 6 hours of on-track F1 action at Suzuka this year, you will also see racing from the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia and Super FJ single-seaters. The schedule this year also features historic demonstrations from Williams and Honda.

Thursday activities
If you are able to make it to the track on Thursday morning, you can take part in the Eastern track walk for fans and the pitlane walk, which are held from 09:00-12:30. When you enter the track, you’ll be given a postcard that serves as your entry ticket to a lottery for the  driver’s autograph session on Thursday afternoon from 16:00-17:00. Just 1100 lucky winners will get to take part. If you miss the East track walk on Thursday, all is not lost. You can still take part in the Western track walk after the race on Sunday. Another pit straight walk is usually held on Monday after the race.

Thursday, October 5

  • 09:00-12:30: Pitlane Walk for 3-day ticket holders (last entrance 11:15)
  • 16:00-17:00: Driver’s Autograph Session (limited to 1100 lottery winners)

Friday, October 6

  • 10:00-11:30: Formula 1 (Free Practice 1)
  • 12:00-12:45: Porsche Carrera Cup Japan (practice 1)
  • 14:00-15:30: Formula 1 (Free Practice 2)
  • 15:40-15:50: F1 historic demo: Williams FW04, FW08
  • 16:00-16:30: Super FJ (practice)
  • 16:50-17:20: Porsche Carrera Cup Japan qualifying
  • 17:40-18:00: F1 historic demo: Williams FW11 (Damon Hill)

Saturday, October 7

  • 10:30-11:00: Super FJ (qualifying)
  • 12:00-13:00: Formula 1 (Free Practice 3)
  • 13:40-13:55: F1 historic demo: Williams FW04, FW08, FW11
  • 14:10-14:25: F1 historic demo: Honda RA300
  • 15:00-16:00: Formula 1 (Qualifying)
  • 16:30-17:05: Porsche Carrera Cup Japan (race 1: 10 laps / 30 mins)

Sunday, October 8

  • 10:00-10:30: Super FJ (race: 8 laps / 25 mins)
  • 11:15-11:50: Porsche Carrera Cup Japan (race 2: 10 laps / 30 mins)
  • 12:00-12:10: F1 historic demo: Honda RA300
  • 12:30: F1 Driver’s Track Parade
  • 12:50-13:00: F1 historic demo parade (all cars 2 laps)
  • 13:00-13:10: Main grandstand interviews with Takuma Sato, Damon Hill, Kamui Kobayashi + more TBC
  • 14:00-16:00: 2017 Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix

Food & Drink

There is a good selection of food and drink available trackside at Suzuka, and prices are pretty reasonable. Expect to pay 150 yen for water ($1.20 USD), 250 yen for other drinks ($2 USD), 500 yen for beers ($4 USD) and a similar amount for food items. There’s a choice of both Japanese and Western food, including noodles, rice dishes and hamburgers.The best food choices can be found in the area behind the main grandstand, but there are smaller concessions behind other grandstands around the circuit.

Ferris Wheel & Special Stage

Three-day ticket holders get free rides on the iconic Ferris Wheel at Suzuka and it’s a must-do at the circuit. The views are spectacular, even if there is no on-track action at the time. Thursday is probably the best day to take a ride, as there are no queues. The GP Square area behind the main grandstand is the center of activity on Grand Prix weekend. In addition to being the place to go for the best food, drink and merchandise, there is also a stage with concerts.

Have you been to Suzuka? Leave a comment with your trackside tips!

November 24, 2017

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September 23, 2017

Trackside at Suzuka – 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

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August 7, 2017

Off-Track Activities – Japanese Grand Prix

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March 31, 2017

Budget Planner – 2017 Japanese Grand Prix

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March 12, 2017

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December 29, 2016

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Here’s the best ways to get to Japan and the Suzuka circuit for the Japanese Grand Prix.

October 1, 2016

Race Facts – Japanese Grand Prix

Learn about the history of the Japanese Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit. This year’s race is on October 7-9, 2016.

November 10, 2015

Travel Basics – Japanese Grand Prix

What you need to know before organizing your trip to the Japanese Grand Prix Suzuka. The next race is provisionally scheduled for October 7-9, 2016.

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About the Author ()

Andrew Balfour is the Founder and Editor of F1Destinations.com. He originally hails from Adelaide, where he went to his first F1 race way back in 1987. He’s been resident in Europe for almost 15 years and travels regularly to F1 races around the world.

Comments (12)

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  1. Richard says:

    Hey Andrew – Great info on this site , i was watching the suzuka web page and i can’t find anything about what are the things you can get and not to the circuit.

    I was searching for food and beverage , could it be possible to enter food (Sandwiches) and beverages in backpack to the racetrack?

    My first f1 race , no idea

    Thank you very much , Regards

    • Editor says:

      Hi Richard, thanks for the compliment! You should be fine taking in your own food to the track. Drink is less clear, but at least one bottle of water or other non-alcoholic drink should be ok. The trackside food and drink is actually not that bad, nor too expensive, but the queues at peak times can be a problem.

  2. awizul says:

    Hi, me again. Is it possible to get onto the track after the race? Do you have any tips on this?

    Thanks

  3. G sahner says:

    Do you know what entertainment lineup is set for 2017.

  4. Sophie Feijaima says:

    best reliable information I ever found on web!! thank you soooooo much for the info, making ticket purchasing much easier (purchased via your website, got V2 tickets)!

    now I’m wondering how to get to the destination tho… my partner and I will fly into and stay in Osaka (bad idea??). We hope to attend the Thursday morning track/ pitlane walk too. Wondering if you have any good information about traffic (Kintetsu Railway or something)? I’m having serious troubles in understanding the rail map/ figuring out what tickets to buy………. )=

  5. Yuki Kamakoze says:

    Any update?

  6. Ciaran says:

    Hi there, is it possible to get just one ticket for a day? My fiance will be in Japan that week for his job, but only available on Saturday to go. Thanks!

    • Editor says:

      Hi, single-day tickets are only on sale for Friday, sorry. He could take his chances on the day, but I don’t know how successful he will be in getting a reasonably priced ticket.

  7. Chan says:

    Hi I’m planning to get the package that includes the pitlane walk/tour around the track/etc but was wondering how hectic it is in pitlane walks? I am a relatively short guy (5’2″ lol) and was worried I might not be able to enjoy the pitlane walk, let alone see the teams/drivers in the garages, as I might easily get devoured by the crowed. Any tips for a short guy like me to enjoy pitlane walks and make the most of my money spent on the package? Thanks!

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