Circuit architect, Carsten Tilke is part of the mastermind behind delivering brilliant designs for circuits.
Imagine building a unique concept for a Formula 1 circuit in a place where motor racing hasn’t happened before.
He holds titles including racetrack designer, racing driver, engineer, and world traveller and is responsible for constructing and developing the Sepang circuit in Malaysia, Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi, and COTA in Austin, Texas, USA.
Carsten followed in his father’s footsteps, Hermann Tilke as they run their firm, Tilke Engineers & Architects together as co-managing directors. The duo dared to push boundaries and establish the new narrow street circuit, Jeddah Corniche Circuit at a length of 6.174km with 27 turns in Saudi Arabia.
Tilke told Motorsport about his ambitious project, “It was really a monster job. For the whole project we had less than a year. We only started building the circuit in April. We’ve developed a lot of big Formula 1 circuits before, but never in such a short time frame. This is really a new world record for us. So we are excited to see everything come to life in two weeks.“
Working with different customers in different countries with different cultures is a challenge in itself. Managing to do so in under 12 months is amazing. Having to install a drainage system and include engineering aspects being surrounded by other beautiful buildings created a real atmosphere. It’s going to be super special for spectators. Drivers can clock 250km/hr making this the fastest circuit track on the race calendar this season.
Carsten claimed, “it’s challenging, with a number of fast twists on the one hand and a 12 percent banking on the other. There are also a lot of full-throttle sections, but you never really have to deal with a straight. So the drivers have to stay focused, especially with the walls so close to the track. Then we also have three potential DRS zones. It’s really very fast. We are working closely with Formula 1, with Ross Brawn’s team that also conducted the initial studies on the circuit and the initial layout. We worked with that and determined the final layout with them. They did a lot of simulations using their own model. Hopefully it will work, because they expect the track to lend itself best to overtaking.“
The first corner is going to be spectacular to see from the grandstands. The cars will go at high speed intensifying the experience.
The inaugural Saudi Arabian Grand Prix is upon us in two weeks’ time during the weekend on 03-05 December. Get ready!