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China: the land of the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven and the Formula One Grand Prix. One of these things is different from the others. One of these things is noisy and very fast. Clue: it ain’t the temple. Hosted from 18 - 20 April, the 2014 GP promises to challenge everything you thought you knew about China – even if you knew nothing at all.
Held at Shanghai International Circuit, the race looks set to be a clash of cultures, colours and styles as the world’s best drivers duel it out in the fourth race of the season. China’s largest city, Shanghai’s population of 24 million is larger than that of most small countries. Its bustling centre is an awe-inspiring sight to behold: towering buildings; designer stores; street markets; rickshaws. Between the attractions of downtown and the lure of the F1, your weekend promises to pass in a blur of heat, light and noise. Bring it on.
Shanghai and chicanes
The F1 circuit at Shanghai
The home of the Chinese GP since 2004, Shanghai International Circuit twists and turns like a dragon dance. The $450 million course is characterised by a long back straight that culminates in a hairpin turn. With F1 cars reaching 186 mph on the straight, you’ll need to keep both eyes on the action – blink and you’ll miss it. The course record was set by Michael Schumacher in the circuit’s maiden year – 1:32:238. One decade on, will anyone be able to best that record at the 2014 GP?
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Schedule for the Chinese F1 GP
The racing crews arrive in Shanghai for 17 April, when a press conference and autograph session are scheduled. Two practice sessions will take place on the Friday plus pit lane walks for the Paddock Club and three-day ticket holders. Qualifying commences on Saturday 19 at 2pm, followed by the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia final on Sunday lunchtime. The main event – the F1 GP – will take place at 3pm the same day.
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Ticketing for the Chinese F1 GP
To enjoy the best seat at the races, you’ll need to snap up a platinum weekend ticket for the grandstand at Shanghai International Circuit. Main High and Main Low are the most coveted grandstand areas, with cheaper ticketing available in grandstands B, K and H. Of course, there’s no need to grab a grandstand seat if you’re on a budget – tickets for general admission are reasonably priced, and there are plenty of decent vantage points stationed around the track. Over 150,000 spectators are expected to attend this year’s Shanghai GP, so you certainly won’t be short of company.
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2014 Chinese Grand Prix: Shanghai nights
If you’re spending the weekend at the Chinese GP, your days will take care of themselves, while by night, the lights of downtown Shanghai will beckon to you. Better get out there and play – after all, it’s not every weekend you get to party in such an eclectic city. Despite the sheer scope of this teeming metropolis, the best nightlife can be experienced on foot. Take a walk through the French Concession, the Bund and Jing’an districts where you’ll find laidback lounges, underground clubs and even a pirate bar – the delightfully named Bounty Rhumerie. To Western visitors, Shanghai may look exotic, but the music blaring from its bars is distinctly recognisable: dubstep, house, hip-hop and trance keep revellers dancing for long into the night.
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2014 Chinese Grand Prix: Shanghai attractions
Unless you’re planning to spend a week or more in Shanghai, you’ll scarcely get a chance to scratch the surface. Your first taste of the city will likely come in the form of the maglev train which ushers passengers from the airport to the city at speeds of 430 km/h. Your weekend doesn’t have to flash by at breakneck speed however; take the time to stroll around the city’s Fuxing Park, where your ears will resonate to the strains of Chinese Opera and the sight of colonial-style villas. For a potted history of China’s immense contribution to global culture, take a trip to Shanghai Museum where 5,000 years of treasures have been lovingly curated, from bronze cauldrons to ornate calligraphy.
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Main image, 1 and 3 © Infiniti Global
Image 2 © Keith Marshall
Image 4 © picfile
Image 5 © sooy2
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