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.

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

Suzuka circuit: need 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 now being offered in English; 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. Unfortunately, F1 Vision is not being offered at Suzuka this year.
  • Useful 2018 downloads: Legends & F1 Drivers’ Appearance schedule, On-track schedule, 30th Anniversary Event information, Circuit Map.

2018 Japanese Grand Prix Schedule

The support program at the Japanese Grand Prix has been disappointing in recent years. Aside from around 6 hours of F1 action, the only other competitive racing series on track this year comes from the Porsche Carrera Cup Japan. The schedule for 2018 also features Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps and special demonstration laps from legendary F1 cars and drivers to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Thursday, October 4

  • 09:00-11:30: Pitlane Walk for 3-day ticket holders (last entrance 11:15)
  • 09:00-12:30: Home Straight Walk (last entry 11:30)
  • 15:00-15:30: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 16:30-17:30: Driver’s Autograph Session (entry only for lottery winners)

Friday, October 5

  • 10:00-11:30: Formula 1 (Free Practice 1)
  • 11:55-12:40: Porsche Carrera Cup Japan (practice)
  • 14:00-15:30: Formula 1 (Free Practice 2)
  • 16:00-16:30: Legend F1 30th Anniversary Laps

Saturday, October 6

  • 10:45-11:15: Porsche Carrera Cup Japan (qualifying)
  • 12:00-13:00: Formula 1 (Free Practice 3)
  • 13:50-14:10: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 15:00-16:00: Formula 1 (qualifying)
  • 16:30-17:15: Legend F1 30th Anniversary Lap
  • 18:15-20:00: Pit Lane & Home Straight Walk

Sunday, October 7

  • 10:25-10:45: Legend F1 30th Anniversary Lap
  • 11:10-11:45: Porsche Carrera Cup Japan (10 lap race)
  • 12:00-12:20: Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps
  • 12:30-13:00: F1 Drivers’ Track Parade
  • 13:00-13:15: Starting Grid Presentation
  • 14:10-16:10: 2018 Japanese Formula 1 Grand Prix

Trackside Activities

The organizers put on lots of additional activities for fans at Suzuka. Here’s a rundown of the best events happening this year:

  • Pit Walk & Home Straight Walk on Thursday, October 4: more info
  • Drivers’ Runway on Thursday, October 4 (lottery to get closer to the F1 drivers): more info
  • Night Pit & Home Straight Walk on Saturday, October 6: more info
  • Drivers’ Talk Show, all days (interviews with F1 drivers on the main stage in GP Square): more info
  • F1 Infield Passes are already sold out for 2018 (these allow fans to get closer to the F1 Paddock entrance, and to also view the display of historic F1 cars.

Food & Drink

There is a good selection of food and drink available at Suzuka with reasonable prices. 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. Choose from Japanese or Western food, including noodles, rice dishes and hamburgers. The best food choices are behind the main grandstand, but there are smaller concessions 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.

Been to Suzuka? Leave a comment with your trackside tips!

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May 18, 2018

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March 20, 2018

Off-Track Activities – Japanese Grand Prix

The best things to do away from the track for F1 fans going to the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka, near Nagoya.

March 3, 2018

Budget Planner – 2018 Japanese Grand Prix

Read our budget planner to help plan the cost of your F1 holiday to Suzuka for the Japanese Grand Prix. This year’s race is on October 5-7, 2018.

February 23, 2018

Race Facts – Japanese Grand Prix

The Suzuka circuit has been home to the Japanese Grand Prix for all but two years since 1987.

February 23, 2018

Travel Basics – Japanese Grand Prix

What you need to know before organizing your trip to the Japanese Grand Prix. The next race at Suzuka takes place on October 5-7, 2018.

December 22, 2017

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

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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 (16)

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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!

  8. Dacia Perino says:

    hi
    I want to offer my husband an F1 experience, but I am undecided between the championship experience and the F1 Paddock Premier club. I would like you to advise me between the two, which would better?
    the first is to be in champions club and the second the first day in paddock club and The obter 2 days in stand B2 upper seating. I want to know is which of the two places I see the race better.
    my husband is a karting and off-road driver and I would also like to offer him a ride on the track with the ferrari or the Mercedes amg. him to drive. is it possible? How can I do it? Who should I contact?

  9. Alessio says:

    Is there any chance of listening to radio live commentary during the race? Does the circuit offer any services?

    • Editor says:

      Hi Alessio, maybe you should read the post again! The information is there: “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.”

      • Alessio says:

        Many thanks! Because the article provided information based on the 2017 race, I thought it was a good idea asking. Thank you

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