Hungaroring targets MotoGP race in 2018

Officials at the Hungaroring in Budapest, Hungary, have announced plans to bid to host a MotoGP motorcycling championship event at the revamped track in 2018.

The venue is already the home of the Hungarian round of the Formula One motor racing championship, but with the circuit to undergo major improvement work this year, officials are hoping to expand the track’s event portfolio.

The three-stage modernisation programme will include modifications to some of the corners and run-off areas, as part of a follow up to the installation of new kerbs last year, as well as a new main pit building, grandstand, visitor centre and museum.

Speaking during an interview with Hungarian television channel M1, Zsolt Gyulay, chief executive of the Hungaroring, said the upgrades have been designed to ensure that the track meets the standards set by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM). Gyulay added that the venue is planning further talks with the FIM over potential events.

“If there is a will from all sides, we need to turn the Hungaroring into a track – mainly with changes to turns and escape areas – which is eligible for motorcycle races,” Gyulay said. “(To have MotoGP) the Hungarian government has to be on board, and we believe they are.”

Hungary was close to staging a MotoGP event at the Balatonring in 2009, but the plans fell through as financial difficulties meant that the track was not finished in time. In April, it was announced that the Hungarian Grand Prix, one of the mainstays of the Formula One calendar, would remain at the Hungaroring through to the 2026 season after its race contract was extended.

The company behind the Hungaroring agreed a five-year extension, running from the 2022 to 2026 seasons, having signed a similar deal back in 2013. That agreement ran from 2017 to 2021. Gyulay said he regards this as a timely deal, given Liberty Media's subsequent takeover of the series.