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

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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. Qazuhb – thanks for that, changed it now.

  2. It looks very very good!!!

  3. 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 !!!

  4. 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!

  5. 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

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

  7. Chalky – any links to video of the race?

    El Gordo’s links seem to be the best via Youtube.
    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.

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

    Great Blog!

  9. 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!

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

  11. Reminds me of Spa, my fave F1 track bar none.
    It’s a real shame that F1 (under current management) will not race there.


  12. Two things I’ve written about this year that have had practically entirely positive reactions:

    1. Martin Brundle joining the BBC
    2. Potrero de los Funes

    Can anyone think of any others?

  13. I think all this talk is rather futile. Yes, it’s a stunning circuit but that doesn’t really mean much, does it ?
    As far as Bernie is concerned F1 could be racing around a dollar bill. And we would still hear the same old talk about great facilities and “two or three” places which “encourage overtaking”.
    Yeah, if you’re riding bicycles.

  14. Fantastic circuit- this is the type of venue that we need more of on the schedule. Of course, all of Bernie’s VIP demands (helicopter access, paddock glamour, assorted other nonsense) will probably overshadow the great potential of this place. And we haven’t even gotten into the fees demanded by FOM and who would pay them……..

    The one point that I really love to see all of you making is that Argentina is a nation that has a rich and prestigious history of motor racing. Indeed there is a good bit of Agrentine history in the F1 ranks, and surely having a GP at this facility would sell out- if you could fit 200,000 in there, it would still sell out. These are the kind of markets that FOM should be looking to expand into and gain strenght in. If Bernie ever wakes up to reality, he’s going to realise that the companies involved in F1 are going to make a hell of alot more money racing in Agrentina/Mexico/Canada/USA then all of his Tilke-created dreamlands.

    That’s not to say that the new nations on the schedule don’t deserve an F1 race, but money should not be the deciding factor in awarding a race while countries with enthusiastic fanbases are shut out of the calendar for decades, as is the case with Argentina.

  15. Someone earlier mentioned Bathurst but you can almost throw an anticlockwise blanket over the layout. Maybe not quite so much rise and fall in Argentina. Good luck to them, well at least the not so arrogant and fiscally reckless among them.

  16. HounslowBusGarage
    27th November 2008, 8:54

    This looks like a terrific track set in spectacular scenery.
    I was trying to spot where the start/finish was from the You Tube videos and the map, but I couldn’t work it out. Any ideas, anyone?
    It’s still public roads isn’t it? I wonder how much indentation truck wheels will make into the road surface over the next year; might not be so smooth and even a surface in 2009.
    It couldn’t possibly be used for F1 though; it’s more remote than Magny-Cours!

  17. HounslowBusGarage,
    if I’m not mistaken the start/finish line is in the straight to the west of the lake. Look in this image for the ‘Paddock’ section.

  18. Of course, after saying that I realized that the
    link given by Loki gives you a better view of the facilities, including the start/finish line (at the end of the straight I mentioned).

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

    I don’t think the length (6.27km) would be a problem. It is longer than any Tilke-drome, which average around 5.5km, but it’s still shorter than Spa (7.0km, according to Wikipedia).

  20. This looks to be an amazing circuit and it would be great to get F1 back to Argentina too, there’s far too few American races.

    As everyone has said, it’s a shame we’ll probably never see an F1 race there.

    Dan Brunell

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

    That’d be one hell of a tips jar mate, it’s worth a try though :~)

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