The second running of the Baku World Challenge will be run on a slightly modified layout of the street circuit.
The track that plays host to the final round of the Blancpain Sprint Series was shortened by 0.3 miles (2.4), but at the same time has become faster due to the omission of two chicanes that were part of the course last year.
The second of two hairpins located in the final sector has been relocated, moving it closer to the final chicane and pit entry, resulting in the shorter back loop and track layout.
Meanwhile, the very tight and controversial second (bus stop) chicane where an incident caused a red flag during last year’s Qualifying Race has been removed.
In an effort to slow the cars down before entering the narrower inner city part of the track, the following right-hander was tightened.
The third chicane was also removed, as it didn’t proved to be effective last year with drivers often not respecting track limits and taking the corner flat-out, while the final chicane that precedes pit entry changed direction to facilitate a better exit.
“It’s definitely an improvement over last year,” said Andreas Simonsen (Zakspeed Mercedes). “The track should suit our car better now, considering that narrow and slow bus stop chicane is gone now, but it’s still a track for the Porsches and Corvettes though.”
“I’ve been racing on street circuits for over 20 years and I have to say that this one is really exciting,” said French veteran Stéphane Ortelli. “It’s very challenging, the average speed is very high so you have to watch out.”
“I like it,” current championship leader Maxi Götz said. “I wasn’t here last year, but looks like a good challenge. Our car is a bit heavy and not really made for this track, where struggling when clipping the apex of the hairpins. It went ok this morning (P6) but to win here is a hard challenge, but you never know, we always seem to catch up during the weekend.”
“It’s a fun track and it has a nice rhythm to it,” Jeroen Bleekemolen told Sportscar365. “The straights are fast but the majority of the corners are taken in first or second gear, though the fast left hander before start-finish is quite a challenge. Of course it’s not the same as Monaco or some other tracks, but I’ve driven on street circuits that were not as good as this.”