One of the most important and popular motor sport circuits in the whole of Europe, the Circuit Of Catalonia at Montmeló has for a long time also been the leading racing circuit in Spain. The circuit has held Formula 1, Moto GP, Le Mans and many other events since its inauguration in 1991.
This circuit can be found in Montmelo, a small town a few miles from Barcelona. This is why you may from time to time hear it called Montmeló, the ‘Montmeló circuit’ or the ‘circuit of Barcelona’.
The geography of the circuit, with its pleasing Mediterranean weather and its close proximity to the trendy city of Barcelona, makes it extremely popular with tourists and motor racing fans. This gentle and agreeable climate also attracts F1 racing teams who regularly like to hold their winter tests at the circuit.
Having said that, the frequency of such tests has contributed to the drivers becoming a good deal more accustomed to the track than with other circuits, producing races that some view as being boring and stale.
It can be demanding to overtake at Montmeló even in the best of circumstances. Pilots are hardly ever in a position to make use of the slipstreams of vehicles ahead of them because of the many curves, corners, and relative scarcity of straight track.
As a consequence, it is absoultely crucial for drivers to make their best times during qualifying sessions and achieve a good starting position, because they may not enjoy a decent chance to overtake their rivals once the race has started. In recent years, the car that began the race in pole has triumphed in the majority of the F1 Grand Prixs held at the circuit.
Montmeló is very quick, and this speed combined with a significant number of tricky corners can make it a dangerous test for novice drivers. In 2007, the decision was made to add a brand new chicane to make the circuit less dangerous. The new remodel has effectively slowed traffic in a previously very fast section of the circuit.
Montmeló as a tourist destination.
Since its establishment as a genuinely 1st class circuit, Montmeló has enjoyed a huge boost in tourists and visitors. F1 addicts come from all parts of the globe to savour the excitement of grand prix racing and motorsports of all kinds.
Over the past few years a fresh, new craze of “driving experiences” has rapidly gained popularity. These kinds of gift experiences allow anyone, visitor or local, the chance to drivie a classic, high end supercar and pit their abilities against the circuit.
For motor sport fanatics nothing can compare to the rush of speeding down the straight of a genuine Grand prix Circuit in a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche, negotiating the very same straights, corners and chicanes as their racing icons.
Montmeló holds these driving events several weekends per year, where sometimes up to 200 people get to enjoy the experience of a lifetime and get behind the wheel their dream car.
And anyone with money to burn can take it one step further – for about 4000 dollars it’s possible to upgrade to an authentic Formula One car, either as a driver or co-pilot. What a shame it is that more people aren’t able to afford this, the most extreme of all Montmeló driving experiences.
Whilst Montmeló boasts countless top class features, nobody knows how long it will retain its present status. Even so, its long term future now seems to be in some doubt because Valencia, a rival Spanish city, is currently threatening to steal its crown as a the country’s leading circuit. If the speculation is correct, the cool new Valencia Street Circuit, venue of the European Grand Prix, may host the Spanish national race in the next few years.
The Formula 1 racing calendar would cease to include Montmeló if that were to come to pass. This would obviously be detrimental to the circuit and would weaken its prestigious reputation as one of the top circuits in the world. And if that were to come to pass, it’s unlikely that Montmeló’s future will be as magnificent as its past.