Autódromo José Carlos Pace

Autódromo José Carlos Pace

Motorsport venue
Name = Autódromo José Carlos Pace
"Interlagos" | Location = São Paulo, Brazil
Time = GMT -3

Events = F1, Mil Milhas Brasil, Stock Car Brasil, Fórmula Truck, TC 2000
Length_km = 4,309
Length_mi = 2,677
Turns = 15
Record_time = 1:11.473
Record_driver = flagicon|COL Juan Pablo Montoya
Record_team = BMW Williams
Record_year = 2004

Autódromo José Carlos Pace or "Interlagos" is the venue of the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix, located in a suburb of the city of São Paulo, named after José Carlos Pace, a Brazilian Formula One driver, who had died prior to its naming. It is still widely known by its former name, Interlagos.

Previous History

The land on which the circuit is built was originally bought in 1936 by property developers who wanted to build accommodation. However, it was discovered that the land was unsuitable for housing, so a racing circuit was built instead.

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. In the 1970s it was renamed from "Autódromo de Interlagos" to its current name to honor the then recently deceased Formula One driver José Carlos Pace. There is a kart circuit inside it named after Ayrton Senna.

In 2006, multiple Formula 1 World Champion Michael Schumacher drove in his final Grand Prix at this circuit before retiring. He finished fourth in the race, driving for the Scuderia Ferrari team.


The circuit is one of the few non-oval racing circuits to go in an anti-clockwise direction (Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari and Istanbul Racing 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 three fast curves (another one was reversed and one created). The original track 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.


Facilities, organisation and general safety at Interlagos and its surroundings are often criticised.

Notably, during a qualifying session for the 2000 Brazilian GP, the session had to be stopped three times due to advertising hoardings falling onto the track - one straight into the path of Jean Alesi's Prost. A practice session for the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix had to be stopped because a stray dog had found its way onto the track. The circuit is also criticised for being very bumpy, and despite attempts to smooth the surface, drivers still complain.

Besides the facilities of the circuit, the area around the circuit does not carry the best reputation. Though Formula One drivers generally move between the track and the center of São Paulo by helicopter, general team staff, the media, typically do not travel in this fashion, leaving them open to potential jeopardy. In one incident, Toyota's team staff was attacked by gunmen on a nearby road at the 2006 Brazilian GP. [cite news | url =,8659,20624526-23210,00.html |title=Gunmen ambush F1 staff | publisher = [ Fox Sports Australia] |pages=|page=|date=2006-10-22 | accessdate =2007-09-14 | language =] The traffic congestion surrounding events such as the Formula One, Stock Car, and Fórmula Truck races are also a source of trouble for São Paulo city officials.

Improvement in 2007

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. [cite news | url = |title=Interlagos será fechado para reforma | publisher |pages=|page=|date=2007-06-14 | accessdate =2007-08-05 | language =Portuguese] [cite news | url = |title=As obras em Interlagos | publisher |pages=|page=|date=2007-09-04 | accessdate =2007-09-08 | language =Portuguese] The existing asphalt was entirely replaced, [cite news | url = |title=FIA tem uma justificada preocupação com o GP Brasil de Fórmula 1 | publisher |pages=|page=|date=| accessdate =2007-08-05 | language =Portuguese] 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. [cite news | url =|title=Alargamento da entrada dos boxes, para maior segurança dos pilotos | publisher |pages=|page=|date=| accessdate =2007-08-05 | language =Portuguese] To facilitate the work, the circuit was closed and no events were held in the five months immediately preceding the race. [cite news | url = |title=Reforma deve acabar com problemas no asfalto de Interlagos | publisher |pages=|page=| date =2007-06-13 | accessdate =2007-08-05 | language =Portuguese]

On October 17, 2007, Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos (CPTM) began to operate the new station of the Line C, "Autódromo", near the circuit. [cite news | url = |title=ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO É INAUGURADA NESTA QUARTA-FEIRA | publisher =CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego |pages=|page=| date =2007-10-16 | accessdate =2007-10-23 | language =Portuguese] [cite news | url = |title=INAUGURAÇÃO DA ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO DÁ LARGADA PARA O METRÔ DE SUPERFÍCIE EM SP | publisher =CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego |pages=|page=| date =2007-10-18 | accessdate =2007-10-23 | language =Portuguese] [cite news | url = |title=CIRCULAÇÃO DE TRENS GANHA ESQUEMA ESPECIAL PARA GP BRASIL DE F1 | publisher =CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego |pages=|page=| date =2007-10-18 | accessdate =2007-10-23 | language =Portuguese] [cite news | url = |title=INAUGURAÇÃO DA ESTAÇÃO AUTÓDROMO MARCA INÍCIO DO METRÔ DE SUPERFÍCIE, NA CAPITAL | publisher =CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego |pages=|page=| date =2007-10-22 | accessdate =2007-10-23 | language =Portuguese] 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, [cite news | url = |title=CET Operação Interlagos 2007 | publisher =CET - Companhia de Engenharia de Tráfego |pages=|page=|date=| accessdate =2007-10-17 | language =Portuguese] [cite news | url = |title=GOVERNADOR GERALDO ALCKMIN DÁ INÍCIO ÀS OBRAS DE EXTENSÃO DA LINHA C | publisher =CPTM - Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos |pages=|page=| date =2005-11-21 | accessdate =2007-10-17 | language =Portuguese] [cite news | url = |title=COMPANHIA INICIA OBRAS PARA BENEFICIAR POPULAÇÃO DA GRANDE SÃO PAULO | publisher =CPTM - Companhia Paulista de Trens Metropolitanos |pages=|page=| date =2005-12-27 | accessdate =2007-10-17 | language =Portuguese] improving circuit accessibility.

Track Course

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 Lanes

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.


External links

* [ Infro from the Official Formula 1 Website]
* [ Official Brazilian Grand Prix website]
* []
* [ Infro from BBC's circuit guide]
* [ Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace History and Statistics]
* [,-46.697388&spn=0.019001,0.029273&t=k&hl=en Satellite picture by Google Maps]
* [ Ciro Pabón's Racetracks] 3D views and virtual laps of all F1 circuits, including this one, via Google Earth

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  • Autódromo José Carlos Pace — (Interlagos) Localización São Paulo, Brasil Eventos …   Wikipedia Español

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