The track is located on the edge of the Lesser Caucasus Mountains, approximately 20 km to the south-east of the capital city Tbilsi. Despite this, there is not more than 15 or 16 m change in elevation across the entire circuit, which results in spectators being able to enjoy views of most of the circuit.
At the time of opening the circuit was one of only a handful in the then USSR, with Rustavi being the third circuit to open in the country.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways selected the site for the new race track, and it opened officially in 1978, with the first races taking place in 1979. The circuit enjoyed a short life the first time around, however, and in 1989 the last races at the original facility were held.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the circuit fell into disrepair. The relatively remote location of the circuit meant that few races were held annually, sometimes as low as three in a year.
Poor organisation of the events, including a poor track surface, contributed to the decline of the venue during the 1990s and early 2000s. This continued until it was bought by a private company who began extensive renovation of the entire complex, investing around $20 million into the project.
A new pit and paddock complex, including an architecturally impressive grandstand on the pit straight, were constructed and all-round facilities were improved. For the first time, tunnels were installed to facilitate the movement of participants into and out of the paddock, even whilst the race track was ‘live’.
The ‘new’ Rustavi circuit was reopened in 2012, with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili taking to the course in an official opening ceremony.
Due to the location of the venue, year-round racing is possible as the Caucasus Mountain range shields the area from the harsh, cold air from the north. Warm, moist air is easily able to pass from the Black Sea to the east, typically keeping temperatures above freezing during the winter.
In 2017 the TCR International Series becomes the first international series to visit the rejuvenated Rustavi, which is now the holder of an FIA Grade 2 Licence. Motor racing in the country has been boosted by the performances of local racer Davit Kajaia, with interest growing and the local government keen to host an international championship on their doorstep.
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