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

  1. qazuhb said on 26th November 2008, 16:38

    I’m really stunned… I’d never thought PoTRero -Spanish for a fenced enclosure for horses- (not PoRTero -Spanish for doorman-) de los Funes could be an F1 track, perhaps because it’s the place I’ve spent most of my childhood holidays, camping just aside the lake shores. I’ve walked, rode my bike and drove the actual “track” dozens of times… I can just utter a giant WOW here; it’s only a 3 hours drive from home! I couldn’t attend the GT race because of my work, admission fees were not too expensive: between approx. U$S 15 (the cheapest) and U$S 75 (paddock access) for the three day’s event. Porsches, Maseratis, Lamborghinis…

  2. What a circuit!
    WHY DOESNT TILKE BUILD STUFF LIKE THAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
    I would rather Bahrain, Shanghai, Sepang, Fuji,The new Hockenheim, Turkey and dare I say it Abu Dhabi were replaced with JUST THAT ONE TRACK.
    Are you listening Bernie?
    Put it on the calendar NOW!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Some time ago they (the San Luis province) announced that they were ‘re-activating’ the circuit after years of not using it, to have a race of TC2000 (the equivalent of BTCC in Argentina) and probably, bring FIA GT. I just forgot the news with the idea of ‘another track for TC2000′… Last Sunday I turned on TV to see the race and got stunned by the circuit. It wasn’t just ‘another’ circuit, was spectacular! And yes, the first thing that crossed my mind was: ‘the surface, the wide track, they made it F1-ready!’. We can only dream, but a few years ago the same province was trying to bring F1 back to Argentina (but without a circuit to show)

    Please, let me dream…

  4. Wesley said on 26th November 2008, 16:57

    Beautiful!…what a track!It would be too good to come true,a great track and scenery and in a place steeped in motor racing history.In case you guys haven’t noticed,Bernie hates all these things.

  5. Dan Brunell said on 26th November 2008, 17:10

    Wow… just wow. It is too bad that we will never, ever see it on the F1 calander.

    Should we put out a tip jar and see if we can put the $40 million together for a race?

  6. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th November 2008, 17:13

    Qazuhb – thanks for that, changed it now.

  7. It looks very very good!!!

  8. Too Good said on 26th November 2008, 17:52

    All – remember they call it F1 Circus for nothing. Racing days are long gone. Bernie can bring the circus to your kid’s birthday party or your friends bachelor party provided you show him the monies.

    Unless the local organizers are ready to put up with pains Berniewill inflict, this is not going to happen.

    Remember he even had nerves to take SPA off the F1 Calendar, and resumed the event only after Organizers complied to his whims.

    About the circuit
    – really looks fascinating, Keith thanks for sharing !!!

  9. Great! I will try to find the track on the rFactor addons, if there is any, it should work beautifully with the F1 ’79 cars!

  10. Eric M. said on 26th November 2008, 18:41

    Damn, what a circuit! Very reminiscent of the old-school GP circuits. It’s nice and wide too. But unfortunately, under the current F1 management, we’ll likely never see F1 racing there. :(

    It would definitely be cool if A1 raced there, and I’m betting that eventually they will, as any race at this circuit has the potential to become a classic. So if any A1 promoters happen to read this post, know that if you race at this circuit, you will have a new fan. :D

  11. Patrickl said on 26th November 2008, 20:03

    Wow, that looks cool. A bit too long for F1 maybe.

  12. Chalky said on 26th November 2008, 20:08

    Chalky – any links to video of the race?

    El Gordo’s links seem to be the best via Youtube.
    http://letmegooglethatforyou.com/?q=Fia+GT+%22San+Luis%22+video+site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fyoutube.com
    I watched it on MotorsTV and they do not have anything on their video archive. Seems like the FIA hit GT as well as F1 when it comes to fans and media downloads.

  13. Yes, Bernie, please bring the F1 to Argentina again.
    We have a lot of fans here.

    Great Blog!

  14. Apparently the FIA classification for this track is ‘B’, which allows anything but F1 to race there.

    I don’t know how true it is, but that track looks lush! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Now that is one awesome track. It certainly is up there with the best in the world like Spa & Bathurst.

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