Rebuilding Autopolis: Circuit prepares for October re-opening

It’s been four months since the horrible earthquakes that rocked the Kyushu island city of Kumamoto that claimed the lives of 49 people, injured thousands more, and displaced countless others from their ordinary, peaceful lives.

The Autopolis circuit in the nearby village of Kamitsue suffered some damage out of the earthquakes, but as the circuit nears its reopening date of October 1, and its first major race on November 20, AUTOSPORTweb’s Kazuya Minakoshi took a few photos of the reconstruction process at the circuit.

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The track surface suffered the most damage, with some sections of the track needing to be entirely repaved, plus the installation of new kerbs and drainage ditches. That process seems to be on target. Other parts suffered minor cracks and breaks that were easily filled in with resin.

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The West Crystal Room of the paddock building suffered the most visible of what ultimately turned out to be minor cosmetic damage, with no significant structural damage to the building, nor the grandstands on the other side of the front stretch.

The main takeaway is that Autopolis’ reconstruction is coming along quite nicely, and it should be completely ready to host Super Taikyu’s final round this November, before its full-scale return to the Japanese racing calendar in 2017.

There’s still much work to be done in and around Kumamoto in the grand scheme of things, but the rebuilding of the local racetrack offers a glimmer of hope for those around it.

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