Autódromo José Carlos Pace (AKA Interlagos) track map
Autódromo José Carlos Pace
Location São Paulo, Brazil
Active from N/A - present
Major events FIA Formula One
Brazilian Grand Prix
Mil Milhas Brasil, Stock Car Brasil, Fórmula Truck, TC 2000
Surface N/A
Length 2.676 mi (4.309 km)
Turns 15
Lap record 1:11.473 (COL Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams-BMW, 2004, class)

Autódromo José Carlos Pace, also known by its former name Interlagos, is a motor racing circuit located in the city of São Paulo, and named after Carlos Pace, a Brazilian Formula One driver, who had died prior to its naming. It is well known for being the venue of the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix.

Previous HistoryEdit

The land on which the circuit is built was originally bought in 1926 by property developers who wanted to build accommodation.[1] Following difficulties partly due to the 1929 stock market crash, it was decided to built a racing circuit instead, construction started in 1938 and the track was inaugurated in May 1940.[1]

The traditional name of the circuit (literally, "between lakes") comes from the fact that it was built in a region between two large artificial lakes, Guarapiranga and Billings, which were built in the early 20th century to supply the city with water and electric power. It was renamed in 1985 from "Autódromo de Interlagos" to its current name to honor the Brazilian Formula One driver José Carlos Pace, who died in a plane crash in 1977.

1980 was the last year the Brazilian Grand Prix was held on the original Interlagos circuit. The drivers, including Jody Scheckter and Alan Jones protested the race because of the danger of the track, due to the ubiquitous and nasty bumps that the ground-effect cars with stiff suspensions were not set up for and Armco being practically absent around the very wide track, and if a driver were to go off the track, there were many deep ditches around the track and a lake inside the track that the cars were virtually unprotected from. Some cars, such as the Renaults of Jean-Pierre Jabouille and René Arnoux (who won that race) were not having many problems with the bumps although the Williams of Jones and the Ferraris of Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve were having many problems mechanically on the track. BBC commentator Murray Walker called the circuit "appallingly bumpy". And it was also the last Formula One race ever to be held on a track of 4.9 miles or longer. That meant that now that Formula One would move to Rio de Janeiro, the only major race being held at Interlagos was the Mil Milhas Brasil. The last major race on the original circuit was the 1989 Mil Milhas Brasil, and Formula One returned to the circuit the following year after it had been shortened and modified at a cost of $15 million.

The facilities include a kart circuit named after Ayrton Senna.


The circuit is one of the few non-oval racing circuits to go in an anti-clockwise direction (Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, Istanbul Racing Circuit, and Yas Marina Circuit being notable others). The present design of the track dates back from 1990, when the original circuit was shortened from 7,829 m to only 4,397 m (so that it could fit the new FIA restrictions on track length). As a consequence of the reduction, the track lost three long straight sections and nine fast curves (5 were lost forever, 4 were made slower and are still there). The original track was full of fast corners and it allowed cars to keep maximum speed for up to twenty seconds and was considered very dangerous (though no one ever died there racing Formula One) but since 1990 the old layout was completely abandoned. The new track still has a very long top-speed section that contains bumps, high-speed turns and little run-off area (though the track is very wide at this point).

Another reason why many drivers consider Interlagos interesting is that it was not built on flat terrain, but follows the ups and downs of hilly ground, which makes it harder to drive and demands more power from the car's engines. The hilly course is also a good feature for road cycling races usually held in the circuit.

The circuit is known for its many inclines and bumpy surface, which although nothing particularly significant in a road car, can take their toll on an F1 car, which has a very low ride height and little suspension travel. The races are therefore very tough on the car, and also physically tough on the drivers, especially since the circuit is anti-clockwise which forces the drivers' necks to move to the left, despite being trained to go right.

Improvement in 2007Edit

For the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix, the largest-scale repairs in the last 35 years were carried out at the circuit, to fundamentally solve problems with the track surface.[2][3] The existing asphalt was entirely replaced,[4] resulting in a much smoother track surface. At the same time, the pit lane entrance was enhanced to improve safety and built new fixed grand stand.[5] To facilitate the work, the circuit was closed and no events were held in the five months immediately preceding the race.[6]

On October 17, 2007, Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) began to operate the new station of the Line C, Autódromo, near the circuit.[7][8][9][10] The Line C had been extended to improve the access between the center of São Paulo and southern region of the Greater São Paulo including the circuit,[11][12][13] improving circuit accessibility.

Track CourseEdit

Race start is in front of the "Tribunas" section and features a pretty long straight section, then comes "S do Senna" ("Senna's S"), a series of turns (left, right, then left again) that are considered extremely difficult because each of them has a different angle, a different radius, a different length, a different inclination (inward or outward) and a different shape (besides the terrain goes down and then up again).

"Senna's S" connects with "Curva do Sol" ("Sun Turn"), a round-shaped large-radius left-turn that leads to "Reta Oposta" ("Opposite Straight", a reference to the disused longer back straight of the pre-1990 circuit, to which it runs parallel), the track's longest (but not the fastest) straight. Reta Oposta is succeeded by two leftwise, downhill turns that are called "Descida do Lago" ("Lake Descent") and then "Mergulho" ("Dive"), a short straight sector that goes down again.

After "Mergulho" comes a slow and difficult section, with small, kart-like turns and elevation changes. These turns are "Ferradura" ("Horseshoe") rightwise and downhill in two steps; "Laranjinha" (Orange Turn), rightwise, the slowest point of the circuit; "Pinheirinho" ("Small Pine Tree"), leftwise on a plain field; "Bico de Pato" ("Duck Bill"), two rightwise turns (one easy, the other very slow and difficult); and then two leftwise turns forming a section called "Junção" ("Junction").

After the slow section begins the long, thrilling and dangerous top-speed section. The first step is "Subida dos Boxes" ("Up to the Pits"), a long, left-wise turn that sometimes seems straight and sometimes bends in more clearly. As the name implies, Subida dos Boxes is uphill (quite steep, indeed) and demands a lot of power from the cars. At the end of it there are two turns (14 and 15) that form what was once called "Cotovelo" ("Elbow"). At this point the track seems inclined inwards (or somewhat crooked).

Pit LanesEdit

Interlagos has one of the longest pit-lanes ever used in Formula One, starting just before the start-finish straight and rejoining the main course after Curva do Sol. Entering the pits was originally not a trivial task, as the high speed and the left turning may force the car rightwards, out of the pits. The pit lane entrance received some changes to become safer for the 2007 Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix.

Comparison Edit

The fastest laps at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace.

CategoryTimeDriverTeam Date
Formula One 1:11.473 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix
Le Mans Series-LMP1 1:18.787 Pedro Lamy/Stéphane Sarrazin Peugeot 908 HDi 2007 Mil Milhas Brasil
Formula Three 1:30.170 André Sousa Full Time 2005/12/ 9
Formula Renault 1:37.109 Diego Freitas UniOil Sports 2003/12/ 6
Stock Car Brasil V8 1:39.585 Raul Boesel Bassani Racing 2004/ 4/17
Maserati Trophy
(Maserati Trofeo)
1:47.655 Guto Negrão Medley 2006/ 3/25
Formula Truck 2:04.616 Wellinton Cirinno ABF/Mercedes-Benz 2003/10/ 5


  1. 1.0 1.1 Interlagos circuit history - Official Brazilian Grand Prix website
  2. "Interlagos será fechado para reforma" (in Portuguese). 2007-06-14. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  3. "As obras em Interlagos" (in Portuguese). 2007-09-04. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  4. "FIA tem uma justificada preocupação com o GP Brasil de Fórmula 1" (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  5. "Alargamento da entrada dos boxes, para maior segurança dos pilotos" (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on 2007-08-07. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  6. "Reforma deve acabar com problemas no asfalto de Interlagos" (in Portuguese). 2007-06-13. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-05. 
  7. "ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO É INAUGURADA NESTA QUARTA-FEIRA" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. 2007-10-16. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  8. "INAUGURAÇÃO DA ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO DÁ LARGADA PARA O METRÔ DE SUPERFÍCIE EM SP" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  9. "CIRCULAÇÃO DE TRENS GANHA ESQUEMA ESPECIAL PARA GP BRASIL DE F1" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  10. "INAUGURAÇÃO DA ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO MARCA INÍCIO DO METRÔ DE SUPERFÍCIE, NA CAPITAL" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2007-10-23. 
  11. "CET Operação Interlagos 2007" (in Portuguese). CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  12. "GOVERNADOR GERALDO ALCKMIN DÁ INÍCIO ÀS OBRAS DE EXTENSÃO DA LINHA C" (in Portuguese). CPTM - Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos. 2005-11-21. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  13. "COMPANHIA INICIA OBRAS PARA BENEFICIAR POPULAÇÃO DA GRANDE SÃO PAULO" (in Portuguese). CPTM - Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos. 2005-12-27. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 

External linksEdit

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