History – The Interlagos Race Track - Autódromo José Carlos Pace


The embryo

In the mid- 1920, British engineer Louis Romero Sanson, owner of the construction company Motorways, a visionary person, planned to build a resort between the dams Guarapiranga and Billings. Along with him a french urbanist, Alfred Crouch, joined the enterprise, who had just worked in the Remodeling Plan, Expansion and the River Ornamentantion. And it was precisely Agache who saw a similarity in the southern region of São Paulo with Interlaken, Switzerland. It was the rise, then, of the district Balneario Satellite Capital design, areas that would be created aiming the wealthier classes of the society. Even a beach, with sand coming from Santos, was created by the dam built less than 30 years before by Light.

"Louis Romero Sanson bought the area and built Congonhas airport and also began to subdivide the areas in Interlagos", tell the historian Paul Scali, author of "Interlagos Circuit - 1940 a 1980”.

The architect and urbanist Eveline Vieira, who helped in the preparation of her husband´s book, tells more. "He also built the airport and also Interlagos. And it was his the creation of (avenue) Washinton Luís. He estabilished agreements with the farm owners in the region and opened the road ", she says. "They wanted to open an access until Interlagos to transform it in a satellite neighborhood . There would have a wonderful hotel, an artificial beach at the dam and also there woulb be the race track and many other things for people to live in Interlagos. At that time people really enjoyed living downtown ", complets. Beside homes, the site would also have leisure centers and a sport center. The plan was going very well until the crisis erupted in 1929, in the United States, and the Revolution of 1932 in São Paulo.

Penniless, the project cooled down and only started to gain strentgh in the middle of the next decade. And it so thanks to the success that the racing started to rise in the country (specially in Rio and São Paulo).

In 1936, São Paulo received its first international event, but the circuit was the very streets of the capital. And after (its bad) the repercussions of the pilot Hellé French-Nice accident, who lost control of his Alfa Romeo and ran over and killed five people and injured more than 30, people, Interlagos regained attention.

The tragic accident and has a passion for motor racing have left a dying need for the city to have a racecourse.

Having the Automobile Club of Brazil as co-responsible in the project design, Sanson prioritized the creation and construction of the Interlagos circuit, on a path that made inspired by the runways of Indianapolis, in the United States, Brooklands, na Inglaterra, e Monthony, France. A construção do autódromo foi cercada de grande expectativa. In April 1939, at the track in the works, a group of riders led by Manoel Teffé, gave the first laps on the track. The population of the city still had to wait another year for the grand opening, postponed on two occasions in November of that year.


The inauguration

With the road open Interlagos and wooden bridge over the Jurubatuba, Sanson opened a large and spacious car parking, Hotel and Interlagos to receive tourists.

The year was 1940, when the tram departed Santo Amaro station in the southern region of São Paulo at 7:30 always towards Largo do Socorro, Cruise the radios and Cosmos announced coverage of evidence motoring, Baron Teffé revisava his Maserati for exams, or Pilot Chico Landi requisitava 500 liters of so-called alcohol-engine with the excuse to honor the national product, practice is prohibited in the vicinity of the race track to preserve the safety of the workers who have concluded the works, and died in first practice rider Joaquim Simoes Souza in an accident with his Ford Competition.


Chico Landi na pole position

The inaugural race, however, was transferred for various reasons. The latest postponement, know-it, was due to a very strong rain that flooded the track and made it impossible for cars, provoking protests and threats “serious dislikes”, how to count records of the newspapers of the time.

Tickets to be sold again (as good, without the right to chair, costing 5 tales, a place in the stands numbered, 30 tales, covered and cabins for six people, 400 tales), discount 50% for members of the Automobile Club of Brazil and to the shareholders of Highways until, in a festive and awaited the afternoon of 12 May 1940, finally the racecourse was inaugurated, with the dispute in a preliminary test between motorcycles, that start às teve 13 hours, with 12 complete laps around the track, in a total of 96 miles, and the Grand Prix Sao Paulo, intended for racing cars, that largaram às 14h30 to as 25 complete laps of the track, totaling 200 kilometers journey.

A crowd of 15 thousand people attended the opening of the first racetrack in Brazil, the early hours of that morning 12 May, excited and curious in watching all that was possible, from the arrival of the circuit riders, to the preparation of the machines and their engines.


Chico Landi e Marivaldo acompanham corrida

The uproar was general, with few police deployed to the racecourse finding it difficult to contain the crowd bolder, who insisted on approaching the maximum possible places for the boxes and, even, 's own track.

The main entrance gate was only a few made with wooden slats, where spent only one person at a time. Beside, destined to be the box office, a small shack masonry wall which could be read in poorly handwritten letters and ink warning that “Passwords are not provided”.

There was paving, and the floor was dirt. Although the entrance fee, only paid who really wanted, since around the speedway, quite broad, was surrounded exclusively with a coarse wire fence, providing the ability to enter through their wide spans. With this, movement ticketing was announced around five thousand, still a feat for those times.

Common thing in those days Brazil, and the claim of Highways S.A.. that the allocation for construction had just, the racecourse was opened without the original design had been completed. Thus, there were no bleachers, boxes, guard-rails, cafeterias, bathrooms, Tower timing and transmission.

Everything was based on improvisation, but the track was there and was approved to receive Interlagos race by the Automobile Club of Brazil.


The old circuit

The tracing, really, was designed to offer two versions. One was an outer ring, designed for high speed and had 3.250 meters long.

The other was called the full circuit, relying on the industry's core, of 4.750 meters long, totaled the 8 thousand meters long. The other news is that it ran counter-clockwise or, como diziam, against the clock. Not for nothing, engineer Sanson and his team had chosen a very appropriate place to receive the track. The land formed a sort of basin, surrounded by hills higher.

The track was built on her bottom, and the higher parts of the public who had received a fantastic view of almost 90% Lane. To turn the industry highest near the entrance to the place reserved for the cars and their trainers in the lower, the paddock, where today is the Straight of Boxes, umapassarela timber was constructed, also used to receive marketing material and as a point of departure and arrival of the evidence.


Ciro Cayres, em prova da Mecânica Nacional em Interlagos

The cars tossed away and went to Curve 1, where few meters later there was a grove of eucalyptus trees without any protection that prevented a shock in the case of a lane departure. After, always at high speed, came the Curve 2, the Retão, Curves 3, 4, a small straight until you get to the Horseshoe Curve, stretch of average speed.

The acceleration returned to grow in the descent to Curve Lake, that exists today, and it was uphill, Straight as Opposed, Curve that flew into the Sun, very high speed, and so called because in the late afternoon drivers had to face the sun ahead. On output it, another descent to the curve Sergeant, tribute to the military with this graduation there he died hit, where they had to brake heavily.

Once the curve Sergeant was circumvented, it came to the rising curve of the Orange, version of the time to name the pilots who could not circumvent Ia foot on the bottom of the throttle. Appeared then the slowest part of the track.

The S Curve, Low Speed, emendava the curve because Pinheirinho actually had a couple of pine trees right there, the side of the track, Bow and Elbow, which later became Bico de Pato, by its formatomesmo, like the bird's beak, the slower the track curve.

After her, speed increased again in the descent of the curve Diving, because the car was still in direà § à £ o imaginary laughed the lake, followed a short straight to ATA © Curve Junction § à £ o (because she was in interseà § à £ o as outer ring), ATA © Cafà © of the Curve, Tamba © m called by some as the Curve Vita ³ ria, to be completes before the Challenge of Boxes, where it all begins again § ava.


1970 – Reinauguraà § ăo

At the end of 1967, the Auta ³ drome was closed for renovations and returned to work on 29 February 1970, do not even the're fully ready, but in style, with the holding § à £ o a Championship race International Fà ³ FORMULA Ford. For HER-river pà º PUBLIC, a young skinny early career took the checkered flag first. O dele name was Emerson Fittipaldi.


Grid de prova de protótipos anos 1970

The newspapers say that, even the track having been recapeada, with new boxes erected, addition to the stands 20 thousand fans, the public had to face a new problem, congestion monsters to get to and from the Speedway. “On 30 th of November, after watching a race involving American flywheels, 25 thousand people were caught off guard by the giant trap formed by road links nearby Racecourse. And had to wait for over three hours to arrive at their destinations': posted a journal the next day.

So, Interlagos underwent another renovation in 1971 to house the following year, for the first time, Formula one Grand Prix 1.


José Carlos Pace e Emerson Fittipaldi em premiação da F-2

Finally received fencing areas of boxes, zebras on the pista, tunnel for access to the interior of the circuit, one four-story building to house the radio and television, tribuna mass of honra. Were also executed works to install storm sewer, guides, gutters, and other infrastructure.

Also in October 1971, the first major test Interlagos, receiving an international race Formula 2 extra-championship, also won by Emerson Fittipaldi, with Ronnie Peterson in the, so that the track was approved and would become part of the official calendar of the fastest category of the planet.


Emerson vence GP Brasil de 1974

A era Fórmula 1

With the circuit tested by the leaders of the International Automobile Federation, in 1972 Formula 1 finally chegava the stage speed Interlagos, it has not been a stage officer. How not count points for the championship, not all teams came to São Paulo. This test ran four Brazilian pilots and eight foreign. In 30 March 1972, Speedway hosted the first of a race category. The competition, however, did not count points for the world championship. The race was won by Argentine Carlos Reutemann, followed by Swedish Ronnie Peterson and the Brazilian Wilson Fittipaldi Jr.

With the success of the event, Brazil started to integrate, já the following year, the official calendar of the Formula One World Championship 1. The first race took place in Brazilian 11 February 1973 and was won by Emerson Fittipaldi, followed by Scotsman Jackie Stewart and New Zealander Dennis Hulme.

Okay, Interlagos has hosted the Brazilian Grand Prix F-1 1973 to 1977.

In 1978, GP was played in Iacarepaguá, Rio de Janeiro.

In 1979 and 1980, returned to Interlagos. The following year, returned to Iacarepaguá, Rio because the city of São Paulo was no money to leave the event and racetrack conditions required by FIA.

During this period, received the Interlagos Circuit championships such as Formula Ford, 2 and 3, Super comes, Fórmula vw, Turismo e Stock Car.


Encontro de gerações: Emerson, Landi e Senna, em evento em Interlagos, in 1983

In 1985, in a tribute to the great Brazilian motorsport racer, named Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace, who had died in 1977.

At the end of 1989, the opposite happened: the city of Rio de Janeiro had no money to keep the event and the mayor of São Paulo at the time, Luiza Erundina, and then president of the Brazilian Confederation of Motoring (CBA), Piero Gancia, joined forces and brought the GP of Brazil back to the city. The Interlagos Circuit went through a series of reforms, with construction of new pits and control tower, and the route was shortened to 4.325 km, according to the current trend of circuits with a maximum 4.500 m extension.

The reopening took place on 23 March 1990. The race was won by Frenchman Alain Prost, with the Austrian Berger Gethard second and Brazilian Ayrton Senna in third. Since, improvements have been introduced each year, keeping the circuit upgraded, following the constant evolution of motoring.

Winners of major awards held at Interlagos


Year Pilot Team
2015 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2014 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
2013 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault
2012 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
2011 Mark Webber RBR-Renault
2010 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault
2009 Mark Webber RBR-Renault
2008 Felipe Massa Ferrari
2007 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
2006 Felipe Massa Ferrari
2005 Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren-Mercedes
2004 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW
2003 Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan-Ford
2002 Michael Schumacher Ferrari-Ferrari
2001 David Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes
2000 Michael Schumacher Ferrari
1999 Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes
1998 Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes
1997 Jacques Villeneuve Williams-Renault
1996 Damon Hill Williams-Renault
1995 Michael Schumacher Benetton-Renault
1994 Michael Schumacher Benetton-Ford
1993 Ayrton Senna McLaren-Ford
1992 Nigel Mansell Williams-Renault
1991 Ayrton Senna McLaren-Honda
1990 Alain Prost Ferrari
1980 Rene Arnoux Renault
1979 Jacques Laffite Ligier-Ford
1977 Carlos Reutemann Ferrari
1976 Niki Lauda Ferrari
1975 Jose Carlos Pace Brabham-Ford
1974 Emerson Fittipaldi McLaren-Ford
1973 Emerson Fittipaldi Lotus-Ford
1972 Carlos Reutemann Brabham-Ford



The new route

For this, organizers Category demanded the Autódromo Interlagos track and fitted in with the new philosophy of Formula 1.

A wick, with 7.960 irregular asphalt meters, with high speed corners and areas of insufficient exhaust was no longer able to receive modern cars category, although the stroke were compared by pilots from abroad to Spa-Francorchamps and Nurburgring.

The choice was a stroke lower, with 4.325 m, and the S-curve suggested by world champion Ayrton Senna, which became known as the “S of Senna” Were constructed 23 new boxes, new room imprensa, room for photographers, tower timing and direction of evidence, a modern medical center and support facilities for teams and service providers. Interlagos was modern.

The reopening took place on 23 March 1990. The race was won by Frenchman Alain Prost, followed by Austrian Gerhard Berger, with Senna in third. In early 2000, the track was resurfaced and now has 4.309 meters long. In 2002, some boxes were crushed asphalt, as “S” of Senna, in Curve Lake and the Laranjinha.

In 2007, the track was redone to remove unevenness and irregularities receiving an asphalt with the most modern technology, installation of drainage pipes and new entry to the pits. Diving In Bend, Exhaust area, safest, built, plus fixed concrete bleachers in the Boxes Straight, which increased the capacity to 25 thousand fans, multipurpose rooms with bathrooms and at the bottom.

In 2008 construct was made yet another module stands stationary for more 10 thousand spectators, beyond the coverage area of ​​the final Paddock, building a new hospital, within the standards required by Formula 1 and building 2 areas , with 5.000 m, to house the HCS.

In 2009 infrastructure reforms were made at various points in Interlagos and the change in the curve of the wall coffee, in order to provide more security to pilots.


Photos: José Cordeiro/SPTuris.