Circuit Autòdrom Nacional Sitges-Terramar
This page tells the history of the Autòdrom Nacional Sitges-Terramar. The classic banked circuit located near Barcelona where in 1923 the Spanish Grand Prix was held.
On September the 17th 1922 the First purpose built race track of Spain was opened in the Catalonian sea resort of Sitges Terramar, about 40 km (25 Miles) south of Barcelona.
It was a private initiative from millionaire and local race hero Frik Armangue. For the price of 4 million Pesetas and with 3.5 million kilo of cement, they created in a time of 300 days the two km (1.25 Mile) long Autòdrom Nacional Sitges Terramar.
The oval circuit contained two concrete high banked corners with an angle of more than 60 degrees. One corner was exactly a half circle while the other one had a parabolic shape. Depending on the event, the track was driven clockwise or anticlockwise!
A strange detail was that the back straight had a kink to the opposite direction. That made the circuit not a real oval although it had the character of an oval. Furthermore there was a small airfield at the infield of the track.
Racing at the banking of Sitges Terramar should have been a tremendous sensation. Although it was not very technical, a lot of courage was needed to go to the limit. At the inside of the banked corners there was a rock formation, while on the outside the deep precipice was waiting.
Except a small fence at the beginning of the banking there was no protection at all. Motor racing was really dangerous at this circuit. All glory to the heroes of the past who raced at this track! Click here for an impression of a lap at this high banked circuit.
In 1923 the Autòdrom was the scene of the Grand Prix of Spain. The race was won by Albert Divo in his Sunbeam after a stunning wheel to wheel fight wit Louis Zborowoski in his Miller. His average speed was 156 km/h (97.5 mph).
Since the beginning there where financial troubles for the circuit and soon the bills stayed unpaid. As a result of that international races where banned at the circuit.
In 1925 the site was bought by racing driver Edgar Morawitz and in 1932 the National Spanish Championship for motorcycles was held at Sitges. Unfortunately this was a short recovery. When in 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke out the circuit closed and never opened again.
Nowadays the circuit is neglected but still there. The site is now an agriculture area and private property. To prevent illegal visitors to do some laps at the track, they closed the access to the banking with fences and chains...
A small revival came in 2012 when Red Bull used the circuit for a publicity stunt. DTM driver Carlos Sainz drove some laps with an Audi R8 on the circuit which was cleared from fences and overgrowth for this occasion.
Today there are rumors about a new owner who want to create a kind of a motor sport resort or museum here. But because of the economic crisis all construction works in Spain stopped. So it seems dat nothing will happen with the circuit in the near future.
© Text & pictures: Herman Liesemeijer Satellite photo: Google Maps