Nighttime Grand Prix: light and shadow

2 minutes

From 2008, the Qatar Grand Prix takes place at night. How does this affect the riders?

Nighttime Grand Prix: light and shadow

Do you know how many football fields would need to be lit to equal the lighting used to illuminate the Qatar GP? #MotoGP

The Qatar MotoGP will kick off on Friday, 26th of March. The fact that it is a nighttime Grand Prix is perhaps its main feature. There are now 1000 lamp posts and 3600 flood lights at the Losail circuit.

The lighting used during the MotoGP race, which will be held on Sunday, 10th of March, is the same amount of lighting required to illuminate 70 football stadiums. With the same amount of light, we could light up an entire street all the way from Doha to Moscow.

In total, over 310 miles of electric wiring are used to connect virtually everything on the circuit to the 44 13 MW generators. We could even say that this amount of power is enough to supply 3000 medium-size households.

Pol Espargaró en pista en los Test de Catar 2021

How does it affect the riders?

In reality, nighttime races are not that much different than daylight races, given the immense lighting systems in place at the circuits where the races are held.

It is also important to realize that not all the available lighting is focused directly on the track. There are flood lights directed at reflective surfaces designed especially to reduce shadows. This is an important detail given that shadows can distract the riders and make them believe there is another rider close by when there actually isn’t one.

Even then, many riders prefer to use special visors on their helmets which have yellow filters to reduce the effect of shadows. Other riders go for clearer visors, similar to the ones used when racing in the rain.

Stefan Bradl en pista en los Test de Catar 2021

Years of nighttime races

It was in 2008 that the first nighttime MotoGP World Championship race was held in Losail. Interestingly enough, it was the same year that the first nighttime GP race was held in the history of Formula 1 in Singapore’s Marina Bay circuit.

Ever since, the fans’ interest in this spectacularly visual race has grown, making it possible for the Qatar GP to maintain the nighttime race year after year.

Previously, the only competitions that took place at night were endurance tests that took many hours to complete.

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