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Jerez-Angel Nieto Circuit

The Jerez Circuit is one of the most attractive tracks for both motorcycle and car pilots. A clear proof of this is that Formula 1 teams use the Jerez track every year for preseason collective testing, even though it is not present on the championship calendar, which attests to the quality of the facilities.

For motorcycle riders, Jerez, along with Assen, is the benchmark. Its thirteen curves offer great opportunities to fine-tune the mechanics. Its length is 4,423 meters (4,428 with chicane), featuring a variety of low, medium, and high-speed corners, making it technically ideal for pushing the mechanics to their limits. This is recognized by the top competition teams in both specialties, who have turned it into an international reference for training throughout the year, especially during pre-season.

Thanks to its more than 3,200 hours of sunshine per year, the Jerez Circuit can be used every day of the year. That's why it is one of the most sought-after tracks on the international scene. Moreover, as an exceptional added value, visitors have the city of Jerez as the nearest urban reference, a modern and cosmopolitan city offering a diverse cultural, gastronomic, and leisure offering.

 

First MotoGP: 1987
Circuit Length: 4.4 km
Track Width: 11 m
Longest Straight: 607 m
Curves: 14 (6 left, 8 right)
Lap Record: 1:38.051 by Marc Márquez (2019)


Aerial view of Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto (here)

 

HISTORY OF THE JEREZ CIRCUIT

The city of Jerez has always had a close relationship with motorsport, particularly with motorcycle racing. In the early 1960s, Jerez hosted the Trofeo de la Merced, an internationally renowned race that saw great figures of that era's motorcycling pass through its streets. Riders like Ángel Nieto, Ricardo Tormo, Sito Pons, Benjamín Grau, Víctor Palomo, and international riders such as Marco Lucchinelli, Barry Sheene, Jan de Vries, and Borje Jansson competed on the streets of Jerez.

The result of this long tradition with motorsport was the construction of a permanent modern speed circuit with facilities that would allow it to host top-level events.

The '80s

Inaugurated in 1985, the Jerez Circuit quickly became one of the most famous tracks in Europe, hosting events for Formula 1, Motorcycle Racing, and Sports Prototypes world championships.

While the construction works were not fully completed, with no pits or race control building, the track was already operational, and a "pilot race" was held on December 8, 1985. It was a scoring race for the Spanish Touring Car Championship, and the rain became the protagonist. Despite the added difficulties due to the rain, the event was successfully held, confirming that Andalusia was ready to become a reference in the world of motorsports.

Just four months later, Jerez witnessed its first Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix. The stars of the Championship made sure that this debut would not be easily forgotten: Senna, driving a Lotus Renault, and Mansell, behind the wheel of a Williams Honda, engaged in an extremely close finish. Only 14 thousandths of a second separated Senna, who eventually won, from the British driver Nigel Mansell, making it one of the closest finishes in the history of the category, still remembered to this day.

A year later, the first Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix was held. From its first edition, Jerez captivated motorcycle fans, who quickly turned the Andalusian event into a yearly pilgrimage. Since 1987, the Jerez track has been a permanent fixture on the calendar, offering a special atmosphere appreciated by fans who flock to our city year after year in great numbers.

The '90s

In 1992, the Jerez Circuit underwent its first major renovation. In order to improve safety, the original chicane was removed and replaced by a parabolic corner that connects to the second straight of the track, which is the same length as the main straight, resulting in the current track length of 4,423 meters. Additionally, 700 meters of Air Fence, a revolutionary system resembling air cushions replacing straw bales, were introduced. This made the Jerez track a pioneer in adopting this modern safety system, which would be gradually incorporated by other circuits. During these years, a motocross track was also built within the facilities, hosting the 125cc and 250cc World Championships and the Nations Trophy.

In 1994, a combination of circumstances, including the death of the unfortunate Formula One driver Ayrton Senna in Imola and the excessive speed through the linked curves of Criville and Ferrari for F1 cars, necessitated the construction of a new chicane at that point to improve driver safety. The current chicane, named after Ayrton Senna, is now used in all automotive tests and races, while motorcycles continue to use the standard 4,423-meter layout.

In 1997, Jerez once again hosted a Formula One Grand Prix, the European Grand Prix, which was the final race of the season, much to the delight of all motorsport enthusiasts. Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve were competing for the championship. The competition was so tight that three drivers set exactly the same time to the thousandth of a second in official practice: Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher, and Heinz-Harald Frentzen, all recording a sensational time of 1:21.072. In the race, the Schumacher versus Villeneuve duel ended at the Dry Sack corner with a controversial maneuver by the German driver, blocking Villeneuve's pass and causing a collision that ended Schumacher's race and allowed Villeneuve to finish third, securing the world title. The incident, seen repeatedly in television replays, led to Schumacher being stripped of all the points he had earned that year by the FIA.

In the spring of the same year, Crivillé won the 500cc race against Mick Doohan in front of an ecstatic crowd, receiving the winner's trophy from the King of Spain.

The New Millennium

In 2002, demands for safety improvements in the pits and pit lane led to a major renovation that included the construction of new pits and pit-lane, as well as the "mirador platform," commonly known as the "UFO," which is now the flagship feature of the facility due to its position directly above the start-finish straight and offering a direct view of many corners of the track. Thanks to this ambitious project, the circuit now boasts spacious and well-equipped pits, more attractive VIP lounges, and a press room capable of accommodating over 300 journalists, allowing them to carry out their work efficiently.

In terms of sport, 2002 marked a decisive change for the Motorcycle World Championship. The 500cc category, featuring two-stroke motorcycles, was replaced by a new class called MotoGP, with four-stroke engines. However, what remained unchanged was the name of the master of the specialty. Valentino Rossi emerged victorious in Jerez and secured the Championship riding for Honda-Repsol.

In order to maintain its prominent position on the international stage, a new renovation was carried out in 2008. Several run-off areas were expanded and paved, while the entire track received a fresh layer of asphalt. Currently, the circuit continues to evolve to preserve its leading position in the world of motorsports, with further asphalt and kerb adaptation works carried out in 2017 to remain at the forefront of motor racing facilities.

Spanish Motorcycle Grand Prix, Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto

Detailed Map of
Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto
>> click here <<

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