Destinations • April 2015
Now in its seventh year, the Shanghai Grand Prix (10-12 April) is an annual highlight for F1 fans across the globe, as well as travellers who want to experience a different side of China. From the true meaning of the track to the best place to spot the drivers, Shanghai-based editor Emily Chu shares what you need to know to before the race begins
Designed by the German architect behind the Bahrain International Circuit, the layout of the Chinese track is inspired by the Chinese character 上 (shang), meaning ‘to ascend’. It’s also the first character of ‘Shanghai’. The drivers complete 56 laps of the 5.5km track, tackling sweeping curves, long straights and some of the most challenging hairpin turns of any F1 circuit. Sit near Turn 14 for the most exhilarating views.
If you want to be close to the circuit, there are familiar hotel chains nearby, including the Courtyard Shanghai Jiading from the Marriott group. If you’re hoping to bump into one of the drivers over breakfast, check in to the Hilton Shanghai – the McLaren team is known to call it home while in town.
Seeking like-minded supercar fans? The Shanghai Ferrari Owner’s Club has a lounge at the Art Deco 1933 Old Millfun where they host events and dinners. While entrance to the lounge requires membership, you can still try out racecar simulators and marvel at the Williams F1 1993 World Champion car on display at the adjacent Formula Pilota café.
Rub shoulders with F1 drivers and Shanghai’s glitterati at the official F1 closing party at M1NT nightclub on 12 April. Still waiting for your invite? Big Bamboo in Hongqiao will celebrate the big race with an outdoor fête and live music by Studio 188, a local band. Sasha’s, a bar and restaurant in a glamorous mansion, hosts a breakfast and barbecue before and after the race.
Take a break from the track with a trip to see the colonial architecture along the Bund, or head to Yu Garden for traditional Chinese snacks, pavilions and bargain markets. If the nearby Yuyuan Garden looks familiar it’s because the F1 team buildings have been designed to resemble its famous ancient pavilions. For your best chance of spotting a driver, head to entertainment enclave Xintiandi or the artsy neighbourhood of Tianzifang.
The Shanghai Auto Museum is a treasure trove of rare antique cars (above) and F1 memorabilia. Check out the race suits, trophies, champions’ helmets and race cars on display until mid-April. To discover the latest innovations in motoring, visit the Auto Shanghai Show from 22-29 April – it attracts thousands of aficionados. If you want to experience the thrill of the race first-hand, a few circuits of the QM Karting Center’s indoor track should give you that buzz. The outdoor circuit is used for F1 training.