Dear Bernie, please put a race on here: Potrero de los Funes, San Luis, Argentina

The Potrero de los Funes circuit, San Luis, Argentina

The Potrero de los Funes circuit, San Luis, Argentina

This is the coolest new racing track I’ve seen in a long time – and yes, that includes Singapore.

The FIA GT championship raced on the Circuito Potrero de los Funes in San Luis, Argentina for the first time last weekend. It’s a brand new facility built in an old-fashioned way – following the contours of local roads around a lake. And it looks stunning.

Here’s a map of the track:

Click here to have a closer look at the terrain without the track outline in the way and you can see it follows the lines of the local roads almost entirely.

The Potrero de los Funes track climbs, falls and sweeps through the countryside of San Luis, and mixes tricky blind corners with demanding gradient and unforgiving concrete walls. Oh, and a lake in the middle.

Winding over hills, through lush countryside and past village buildings, it looks like a track F1 might have raced at the in 1950s, or some fantasy creation from Gran Turismo. No wonder the GT crowd fell in love with it. Promoter Stephane Ratel raved about the track:

This circuit will be a landmark in world motorsport. The legendary circuits are usually very fast, very challenging, natural circuits, not designed by computers. Circuits like Le Mans, Spa, Bathurst – and now San Luis will be part of these big circuits of the world.

Here’s a video showing a slow tour of the 6.27km (3.896 mile) circuit before work on it was completed:

The last Argentinian Grand Prix was held at the Buenos Aires circuit in 1998. In the 1950s the Argentinian great Juan Manuel Fangio drove to victory on the same track. (See the original, revised and final versions of the Buenos Aires circuit).

There probably isn’t an economic case for a return to Argentina. The local car market may not be a huge draw for the manufacturers, and San Luis doesn’t look like a Monaco or Singapore-rivalling glamour spot.

But such an gorgeous circuit in a country with a rich motor racing heritage deserves a place on the F1 calendar in my book. I wouldn’t even care if the cars just drove around in single file for two hours…

Update: Some video from the GT race, thanks to El Gordo:

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58 comments on Dear Bernie, please put a race on here: Potrero de los Funes, San Luis, Argentina

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  1. mattclinch said on 26th November 2008, 11:16

    wow. i love it.

  2. Chalky said on 26th November 2008, 11:32

    Yes, I watched this on the TV Live. I was just amazed and thought the same thing. F1 there now.
    The best part was seeing how close the fans got to the track fence. They were waving at the drivers right up by the track. Maybe this side of it would get pulled back a bit for F1, but it was just a stunning circuit.

  3. Chris Y said on 26th November 2008, 11:36

    One of the most beautiful circuits i’ve ever seen! It’ll be a good break from all of those new Tilkdromes. Bernie, PLEASE bring F1 there!

  4. It looks stunning, and would make fantastic TV. Only there is no money in it, limited facilities, limited spectator areas…

    20 years ago it would have happened. But Max and Ernie are now to bothered messing around with minor technical details of the sport rather than face the pressing issue of tracks vanishing off the calendar, or sponsors disappearing.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th November 2008, 11:56

    Chalky – any links to video of the race?

  6. Keith – I found these.

  7. Adrian said on 26th November 2008, 12:00

    Your heading should read – Herman Tilke – please build this track in a country Bernie wants to race in….!!

  8. ajokay said on 26th November 2008, 12:30

    There are tears in my eyes, what a beautiful track. I’m gonna have to start watching GT racing instead of F1.

  9. Robert McKay said on 26th November 2008, 13:07

    Smooth corners! No artificial twisty bits! No kilometre long straight followed by switchback hairpin! Lots of gradient! Great scenery!

    We need to get some single seaters round there. Unfortunately F1 will never go for it. But maybe A1GP will :-D

  10. NDINYO said on 26th November 2008, 13:16

    spectacular scenery but one wonders how much discount Bernie would have to give to get it on the calendar – by which time he would have to deal with the politics of Montreal, Silverstone and Shanghai – realistically, even if he wanted its unlikely he’d get past the rest of the wolves in F1. Looks short of spectator areas too. And what about infrastructure – would guys have to go through the accommodation nightmare of Magny Cours? And is there enough private helicopter parking space? :))

  11. Pete Walker said on 26th November 2008, 13:28

    Charisma, soul, spectacular scenery, a stunning super-fast layout, a track F1 fans actually want on the calendar… thats just not F1 material!

    Ah well. We can dream.

  12. WOOOOOWWW! Would love to see F1 there!!!

  13. francois said on 26th November 2008, 14:43

    Why can’t Herman Tilke bother to build a proper circuit like this if he’s supposedly so good? I’d have thought the same old formulaic tracks wouldn’t be doing much for his portfolio as an architect.

  14. Tengil said on 26th November 2008, 14:44

    I love undulating tracks like these!
    (I was going to say that knowing how Bernie operates the only hope of seeing this track on the calendar is the return of the military junta. But that is in such bad taste that I wont.)

  15. haha that is in very bad taste but it’s probably true.

    That track looks absolutely stunning, it’s a shame we won’t have any chance of seeing F1 cars on it until Bernie kicks the bucket.

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