Fuji never quite managed to capture the imagination of Formula One which, given the existence of Suzuka, is understandable. The redesign of Fuji by Herman Tilke left the track somewhat dull and soulless, but when it was first built it was anything but boring.
Turn 1 wasn’t always a slow hairpin – instead, the track dropped over a blind crest into a long, fast, banked and undulating right hander before rejoining the ‘current’ layout just before what is now turn two. It (and the rest of the track) looks utterly terrifying onboard this classic Nissan Skyline GT-R and it’s difficult to imagine what it would have been like in a virtually unrestricted Group 7 sports car.
Sadly, this high speed section of Fuji claimed the lives of many enthusiastic Japanese amateurs in national championships, and after a particularly bad accident in 1974 the banked section was ditched and the turn 1 hairpin that is used today was installed. Two years later it played host to the famous title decider between James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
Sit back and enjoy a video of a time when Fuji made Suzuka look like Sochi.