Completed back in 2004, the Shanghai International Circuit in China has played host to the Chinese Grand Prix ever since. At its time of completion it was the most expensive Formula One circuit ever built – this title was topped by Abu Dhabi in 2009. Though finished after the millennium, plans for the track date back to the 1990’s, and it was during the planning stage that engineer and architect firm, Tilke, was brought into the project.

Tilke designed the 5.5km racetrack that is shaped like the Chinese character ‘shang’, which symbolises high or above. The track features one of the trickiest corner sequences on the current Formula One calendar, making it a thrilling race for drivers and spectators alike. Off the track, Tilke implemented further Chinese symbols within the architecture of the buildings, which are arranged like pavilions in a lake to resemble the ancient Yuyan-Garden in Shanghai. The aim was to blend nature and technology together.

The professional audio technology is a key part of any Formula One Championship, and it was decided recently that this element was in need of an update at the Shanghai International Circuit, in time for this year’s race. The circuit PA system is so important because it influences both the audience and the drivers’ race day experiences, therefore, many considerations were made before it was decided that a solution from Electro-Voice and Dynacord was the right choice.

The Shanghai International Circuit can cater for up to 200,000 spectators, so designing and installing an audio solution that would offer ample coverage for all areas in outdoor conditions is no easy task. This installed primarily focussed on the main grandstand, which is 400-metres long and 40.6-metres wide. Stepped from south to north, its height ranges from 2.74- metres to 27-metres offering the audience one of the best viewing platforms for the race.

The starting line, where the thrilling action begins, is a highlight that can be seen from the main grandstand, but it is not just sight that is important, sound is too. Anyone who has seen a Formula One race, either live or via TV broadcast will know the howling engines are incredibly loud as the drivers wait for the flag to be waved, commencing the start of the race. To complement this extremely loud environment with powerful, clear audio quality, the main grandstand’s loudspeakers were upgraded to Electro-Voice EVH Series. A total of 39 EVH two-way horn-loaded loudspeaker cabinets provide even coverage and high intelligibility in the reverberant areas, effectively solving the sound reinforcement challenges that Formula One events pose.

To power the new Electro-Voice EVH Series in the main grandstand are Dynacord IPX Series multi-channel DSP amplifiers – just 15 of them are required to drive the full EVH system. Designed for the highest performance in fixed applications, IPX models deliver up to 20,000W per unit, immensely reducing the rack space, and are equipped for use with both Dante and OCA. The IPX Series offer seemingly unlimited power and pristine audio quality making them the ideal partner for the EVH Series loudspeakers and for the venue itself.

With the Shanghai International Circuit currently scheduled to remain on the Formula One calendar until at least 2020, the venue has given itself a strong chance of a calendar extension beyond next year, thanks to the installation of its new sound system. Set up for the future, it seems highly likely that spectators will continue to enjoy the Chinese Grand Prix at this purpose-built, historical venue.