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  1. #1
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    peterpan's Avatar
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    Bira Cicuit Pattaya



    Bira is named after Thailands only Formula one driver, although it was some time ago. Prince Birabongse Bhanutej Bhanubandh

    Nationality: Siam
    Date of birth: July 15, 1914 - Bangkok
    Date of death: December 23, 1985 - London
    Prince Birabongse Bhanutej Bhanubandh was a member of Siam's royal family and was a grandson of King Mongkut, who opened the country to Western influence in the late 19th century and was made famous by the musical comedy, "The King and I". As a result the Siamese royal family became closely linked with Britain and in 1927 - at the age of 13 - Prince Bira was sent from Siam to attend the most famous of all British public schools - Eton College. While he was there there was a revolution in Siam and after considerable disruption including several coups d'etat and other conspiracies King Prajadhipok - the Prince's uncle - was forced to abdicate. Prince Bira decided to stay in England and went on to study at Cambridge University. Another Siamese Prince - Bira's cousin, Prince Chula Chakrabongse, ran a racing team called White Mouse Racing and the 21-year-old Bira thought he might try his hand at motor racing.
    In 1936 Chula's White Mouse team purchased an ERA for Bira to drive and he quickly became one of the leading exponents of this voiturette class of international racing, winning the Coup de Prince Rainier at Monte Carlo. He proved consistently successful up to the war. At the same time he met and married an Englishwoman. When war broke out Thailand (as Siam had become in 1939) was occupied by the Japanese army and so Bira decided to stay in Britain, living quietly in a cottage in Cornwall. When the war was over the 31-year-old Prince decided to reestablish White Mouse Racing. There was little motor racing in England in the immediate postwar years and he eventually closed the team and went to race in Europe driving a Maserati for Enrique Plate's private team. He briefly joined the HWM team, then Gordini and OSCA, but by 1953 he was driving his own 2-liter Maserati AC which he painted in the distinctive blue and yellow livery which were Thailand's international racing colors.
    Bira later became one of the first private entrants to order one of the new Maserati250Fs but while his new car was being completed he raced his 1954 machine with a new 2.5-liter engine installed. He used this to win the Grand Prix des Frontieres on the Chimay road circuit in southern Belgium and then finished fourth in theFrench Grand Prix at Reims with the new 250F. Bira raced to the end of the 1954 season when he married for the second time and scored his final victory with the 250F in the non-championship New Zealand Grand Prix before retiring.
    Thereafter he returned to live in Thailand although he maintained a European base in the form of a three-masted schooner berthed at Cannes, close to his other home, Villa les Faunes, at Mandelieu. A versatile and cultured man, Bira died on a London underground station after suffering a heart attack.

    Bira was built in 1985 and covers an area of 165 Rai, its located on the Rayong Bypass rd near the Siam country club. Its currently owned by the Grandprix group Co Ltd. To be honest I don't know if the make any money out of it as there are only about 10 race meetings on a year plus of course they do private hires. ON Sundays if its not booked, you can take your bike you have hired on the beach rd and flog it around there for 500 baht for a morning.
    Personally despite its faults, I like the cicuit, I have done many hundreds of laps around there so know it quite well.
    Its safety compromises are many, on most corners if you run off you are into solid concrete, although over the last year they put some tires around so now you get a bit of reprieve before the concrete. the track itself is 2.4 kms long so its not a long one, the main straight is about 800 Meters long.
    I am standing at the 100m Brake point, at where you should be travelling at 200+ Kmh and getting on with serious braking as at about 55 m/s you will be have close contact with the Dunlop sign if you don't wipe off 140 KPH





    After the Left hander you go up an incline to take you to the hairpin, one the bike you cannot sense the incline, the only indication of the gradient is that the front wheel starts to lift too easily.




    After the hairpin, there is the long sweeping Maxima curve, If you get it right its very satisfying and its quite fast, on the rev limiter in second at the apex, before a quick change to 3rd to go up the hill to the first chicane, if you get it badly wrong, its into the trees you go at 140 KMH.

  2. #2
    ding ding ding
    Spin's Avatar
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    Good thread, how much will a one day track pass cost?

  3. #3
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    If you are a big fan of Bira and have deep pockets then his 1937 Rolls Royce is up for grabs

    Welcome to birasrolls.com

  4. #4
    Thailand Expat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spin View Post
    Good thread, how much will a one day track pass cost?
    I don't know what you mean by a one day track pass, you can hire the track for a day, I think the casual hire rate is 30K per day.
    On Sunday last the Subaru club had hired it, so it was full of rich young things in their WRX's running around, they found out having money and a fast car doesn't make you a fast driver. There were a few others there, Porsche 911 GT2 which was soundly beaten by an very old modified Mazda rotary thingy

    If its not booked for anything else you can run you bike around for a morning, only 500 baht, a bloody bargain.

    The strange thing is that when they have race meetings, entry is free, not something we are used to in the west where the cost of attending an organised race meeting is expensive.

    Race meetinga are a bit like club racing was in the UK 40 years ago, Naturally, they have pickup racing so you can watch Somchai demolish himself into a concrete wall in his Turbo Isuzu.

  5. #5
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    Marmite the Dog's Avatar
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    I'd be interested to see the fatality figures for this place.

  6. #6
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    I don't know if there have been any fatalities there, any 2.4 Km stretch of Sukumvit will be much more dangerous and have many more deaths.

    The speeds aren't high at Bira, its a small track so bikes maybe reach max 230 Km and cars 180 KMh. Drivers / Riders wear proper protective gear.

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