Under the watchful eye of Mount Fuji
Photo: WEC/Adrenal Media
Back
10.10.2017 - 07h00

Under the watchful eye of Mount Fuji

One of Japan’s most iconic geographic and cultural landmarks is the majestic Mount Fuji which dominates the skyline around Fuji Speedway, the circuit which will welcome the seventh round of the 2017 FIA WEC on Sunday.

Photo:  6 Hours of Fuji 2015

One of Japan’s most iconic geographic and cultural landmarks is the majestic Mount Fuji which dominates the skyline around Fuji Speedway, the circuit which will welcome the seventh round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship on Sunday, 15th October.

A Toyota heartland following the Japanese motor manufacturer’s acquisition of the Fuji Speedway in 2000, the track is situated at the foot of Mount Fuji.  It was built in the early 1960s and hosted the first Formula One race in Japan in 1976, welcoming sportscars and national racing series in the 1980s.  The 4.56km track layout, which was re-profiled in 2003 by Hermann Tilke, includes an extremely impressive 1.5km long straight.  

Fuji Speedway is close to the town of Oyama, around 100 kilometres south-west of Tokyo, within the highly industrialised prefecture of Shizuoka.  It may be the site of industry, but it is also the region where nearly half of all of the green tea consumed in Japan is grown.  

Mount Fuji – referred to in Japan as Fuji-san – is obviously the biggest local attraction, its peak being at a height of 3,775 metres (12,389 ft) and featuring a strato-volcano which last erupted in 1707.  If the weather window is open for long enough for the climb to the summit, reaching the top is quite possible and is a sort of pilgrimage for the Japanese.   

Mount Fuji’s seismic activity, being part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, delights lovers of hot water baths: ‘onsen’ – hot springs – abound in the region, which have enabled ‘ryokan’, traditional Japanese inns, to spread within the Five Lakes region where the circuit is situated. 

The presence of the FIA World Endurance Championship is most definitely a modern-day reality, however, and the WEC competitors wait to see if Mount Fuji will be snow-tipped and who will be the dominant forces in the 2017 6 Hours of Fuji.   

Fiona MILLER