Monday, March 7, 2011

Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace

John Marine | 3/07/2011 01:13:00 AM |
Though still commonly called Interlagos, Autódromo José Carlos Pace in the cosmopolitan city of São Paulo, Brazil is my personal favorite race track in all of South America (or at least one of them). This track's history dates back to 1938, to be inaugurated in 1940. The original circuit was a very long 4.975 miles (7.960 km) in length. The track was dramatically shortened from 4.975 miles to 2.676 miles since 1990. Interlagos is a pure road course, but it has elements (to me) that makes it more like an oval. The track's configuration feels more like an oval with an infield road course than a road course. I don't mean this in disrespect. Maybe the craziest moment I'll never forget at Interlagos was seeing Felipe Massa win the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in 2008... but lose the 2008 F1 World Championship to Lewis Hamilton thanks to a storming drive by the McLaren racer. The McLaren team celebrated along with Lewis Hamilton's girlfriend Nicole Scherzinger (of Pussycat Dolls fame) wearing a lovely red cocktail dress. This circuit has a very nice setting as you can see the city of São Paulo in the distance at certain parts of the track. Interlagos basically means "between lakes," and it was built between two artificial lakes- Guarapiranga and Billings in São Paulo. The biggest event besides the Formula 1 Brazilian Grand Prix is the 1000 Miles of Brazil (or the Mil Milhas Brazil) sportscar endurance race. It is also a major stop in the Stock Car Brasil series. Formula One's history at Interlagos dates back to 1972, but it was never a championship event until 1973. Interlagos was the most frequent host of the Brazilian Grand Prix. Only times Interlagos was NOT used for the Brazilian Grand Prix were in 1978 and 1981-1989, when the now-defunct Jacarepaguá circuit in Rio de Janeiro was used. The Brazilian Grand Prix has been held at Interlagos every year since 1990. This blog post is a look at Interlagos.

(source for my information: Wikipedia)

--- Interlagos ---
Take a look at today's Interlagos circuit below:

Interlagos current
^ from: - Though its history dates back to 1938, the current short configuration of Interlagos has been around since 1990. It has been the home of the Brazilian Grand Prix every year since 1990.

I am also providing this picture ONLY for comparison:

Interlagos original
^ from: - the original Interlagos layout.

As I mentioned before, Interlagos seems more like an oval with an infield road course in terms of configuration. Turn 12 to the Start/Finish line and Turn 1 are like the front stretch an oval with an infield road course. Likewise, you can call the road between Turns 3 and 4 as the backstretch. There are a number of off-camber corners. The real challenge of the course lies between Turns 4 through Turn 12. It is a rather short (by F1 standards) course that still delivers a great deal of action.

Today's Interlagos is actually shorter by almost two miles and shorter in overall area than the classic circuit. One thing remains constant through it all- its high-speed character. It is also one of few counterclockwise/anti-clockwise tracks F1 currently races on.

Interlagos is a high-speed thrill ride. The real problem areas are Turn 1 (Senna "S"), Turns 4 and 5 (Descida do Lago), and Turn 10 (Bico de Pato). After Turn 12, the oval-like run to the Start/Finish line begins. This is a GREAT place to pick up speed before having to slow all the heck down Turn 1.

Video Lap.

Here is a video lap around the lovely Interlagos circuit (from 2007):

Lap Times.

The lap record around Interlagos is 1:11.473 set by Juan Pablo Montoya racing for Williams BMW in 2004. Here are more lap times:

Lap Times Around Interlagos (sources: Wikipedia and Trackpedia)
Car/Machine Lap Time
Peugeot 908 HDI FAP 1:18.787
Formula 3 1:30.170
Stock Car Brazil V8 1:39.585
Formula Truck 2:04.616
Yamaha YZF-R1 1:59.000 (approx.)

Oh.... and in case you're wondering, the lap record around the original 4.975-mile Interlagos was 2:21.40, set by Jean-Pierre Jabouille in a Renault F1 car back in 1980.

Visit to learn more about Interlagos. Thank you for reading!

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