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Motor racing-Japanese GP switched to Fuji for 2007

Written by: Staff
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TOKYO, Mar 24 (Reuters) The Japanese Formula One Grand Prix will take place at Fuji Speedway in 2007, circuit owner Toyota said today.

The track replaces the Suzuka international circuit, which is is owned by rival Japanese car manufacturer Honda and has hosted the race since 1987.

''We have the pleasure that Fuji Speedway ... will be the new home of Japanese F1 Grand Prix,'' Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone said in the statement.

''We also have a good expectation that the F1 event there would be the opening of new era of Formula One history.'' Japan hosted two races in the 1994 and 1995 seasons, with the remote Aida circuit the venue of a second race run under the title Pacific Grand Prix.

Suzuka may yet host a grand prix next year under a similar system.

Fuji, which was built in 1966, hosted the first grand prix in Japan in 1976, when James Hunt finished third in a rainstorm to clinch the world title.

Briton Hunt also won the second race in 1977 but the day was marred by a crash which killed two people at trackside and there was no Japanese Grand Prix for the next 10 years.

The circuit underwent an upgrade in 2005 and holds a Grade 1 licence from the governing FIA (International Automobile Federation), the statement said.

REUTERS AY SP1307

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