Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet

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Coordinates: 22°58′32″S 43°23′42″W / 22.97556°S 43.39500°W / -22.97556; -43.39500

Jacarepaguá/Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet
Formula One layout
Location Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Time zone GMT -3
Opened 1977
Closed November 2012
Major events Brazilian Grand Prix (1978 & 1981-1989), CART (1996-2000), Rio de Janeiro motorcycle Grand Prix (1995-2004), Stock Car Brasil (1979-2012)
Grand Prix Circuit (1978-1994)
Surface Asphalt
Length 5.031 km (3.126 mi)
Turns 11
Lap record 1:32.507 (Riccardo Patrese, Williams, 1989)
Grand Prix Circuit (1995-2005)
Surface Asphalt
Length 4.933 km (3.065 mi)
Turns 13
Short Circuit (1995-2005), Grand Prix Circuit (2006-2012)
Surface Asphalt
Length 3.336 km (2.073 mi)
Turns 7
Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway (1996-2005)
Surface Asphalt
Length 3 km (1.864 mi)
Turns 4
Lap record 0:38.565 (Christian Fittipaldi, Newman-Haas, 1999, Cart FedEx Championship Series)

The Autódromo Internacional Nelson Piquet (Nelson Piquet International Autodrome), also known as Jacarepaguá after the neighbourhood in which it was located, was a motorsport circuit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Opened in 1977, it hosted the Formula One Brazilian Grand Prix on ten occasions, and was also used for CART, motorcycle racing and stock car racing. In 2012, it was demolished to make way for facilities to be used in the 2016 Summer Olympics.

The original circuit[edit]

The original circuit was built between 1971 and 1977 on the site of the Barra da Tijuca road course, which had itself been built on reclaimed marshland and was operational from 1964 to 1970.[1] It was a relatively flat circuit, with a long pit straight and a longer back straight (which allowed the turbo-engined Formula One cars of the mid-1980s to reach speeds of 300 km/h (186 mph)), and numerous mid- to slow-speed corners with plenty of room for overtaking. The maximum spectator capacity was 90,000.

Formula One[edit]

The first Brazilian Grand Prix at the circuit took place shortly after opening, in 1978, and was won by Argentina's Carlos Reutemann in a Ferrari, after Sweden's Ronnie Peterson had taken pole position in the revolutionary ground-effect Lotus 78.

After the 1979 and 1980 races had been held at the Interlagos circuit in São Paulo, the Brazilian Grand Prix was held at Jacarepaguá for the remainder of the 1980s. The 1981 race was again won by Reutemann, this time driving a Williams, and in controversial circumstances: he disobeyed the team's orders to let team-mate and then-reigning World Champion, Australia's Alan Jones, take the win.

The 1982 race, held at the height of the FISA-FOCA war, was also shrouded in controversy. Local driver Nelson Piquet, who had won the World Championship the year before, finished first in a Brabham, with Finland's Keke Rosberg second in a Williams. However, both drivers were disqualified for being underweight, having raced with "water-cooled brakes". This promoted Alain Prost, third in a Renault, to the win, the first of an eventual five for the Frenchman at the circuit. The disqualifications, however, prompted most FOCA-aligned teams - including Brabham and Williams - to boycott the San Marino Grand Prix two races later.

Piquet and Rosberg again crossed the line first and second in the 1983 race, although this time only Rosberg was disqualified, having had a push start in the pits after his Williams caught fire. Unusually, the drivers below Rosberg were not promoted accordingly. The win was the first of two at the circuit for Piquet, who would go on to win his second World Championship that year.

Both the 1984 and 1985 races were won by Prost, now racing a McLaren. The 1984 race also saw the debut of Ayrton Senna, driving a Toleman. Piquet won the 1986 race in a Williams, with Senna making it a Brazilian 1-2 in a Lotus, before Prost beat Piquet to win the 1987 race in a McLaren.

After Piquet won his third World Championship in 1987, the circuit was named after him in 1988. However, he had to settle for third in a Lotus in that year's race, as Prost once again won in a McLaren.

The 1989 race was the first to be held following the banning of turbo engines, and Great Britain's Nigel Mansell took a surprise win in a Ferrari, complete with Formula 1's first semi-automatic gearbox. Another Brazilian driver, Maurício Gugelmin, finished third in a March, while Senna, who had won his first World Championship the year before, set a lap record of 1:25.302 while taking pole position in a McLaren.

In 1990, the Brazilian Grand Prix moved to a shortened Interlagos, where it has been held ever since.


From 1996 to 2000 the CART series staged events at Jacarepaguá in an accessory trapezoid-shaped speedway named Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway having approximately 3 km (1.864 mi) length. The race, originally the Rio 400, before being shortened to the Rio 200 in 1999, was first won in 1996 by Brazilian André Ribeiro.

The circuit record for the Emerson Fittipaldi Speedway was set by Emmo's own nephew Christian Fittipaldi with a time of 38.565 (280 km/h or 174 mph) for the 3 km (1.864 mi) track.

Motorcycle Grand Prix[edit]

The circuit also hosted the Rio de Janeiro motorcycle Grand Prix race from 1995 to 2004. Italy's nine time World Champion Valentino Rossi won the most races, winning four from 2000–2003, while Australian five-time World Champion Michael Doohan won the 1996 and 1997 races.

The first Rio Motorcycle Grand Prix was won by Italian Luca Cadalora, riding a Yamaha YZR500. The final race held at the circuit in 2004, was won by Japanese rider Makoto Tamada riding a Honda RC211V.

Honda won seven of the nine Rio Grands Prix held, with Yamaha winning two.

Other races[edit]

The circuit held the Mil Milhas Brasil endurance race in 1997.


As of early 2005, there were plans to partially demolish this racetrack to make room for a new sports complex to be used for the 2007 Pan American Games. It would have made the track approximately 1.67 miles (2.69 km) long, thus making it too short for most international racing series. However, the FIA's ruling on a track's minimum length is ambiguous. In 2006, despite rumors of the race being cancelled, the Brazilian Stock Car Rio event was contested on a temporary short circuit combining sections of the oval and normal circuits and the start/finish line was moved to the back stretch, which was cut short to make room for the Pan-American games venues.

Another proposal for the circuit was to have both a club permanent circuit, and an international-length half-permanent, half-car park circuit involving that circuit and an extension which utilises the car parks of the park. That would have been designed by Hermann Tilke.

In January 2008 it was announced that the track was to be demolished to allow the city to build an Olympic Training Centre venue for the Rio de Janeiro bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics which Rio was successful in winning.[2]

Now a new circuit will be built at Deodoro neighborhood.[3]

As of 2008, the 3.336 kilometres (2.073 mi) track[4] comprises the original circuits second half with a hairpin that connects the previous main straight and back straight. It remains active, with races such as Stock Car's Corrida do Milhão.[5]

The track and adjacent motorsport facilities were finally demolished in November 2012 to make way for new facilities to be used during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

In March 2013 Bernie Ecclestone, CEO of the Formula One Group, said discussions were taking place for the Formula 1 Grand Prix to move from the Interlagos Circuit in São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro and a suitable time for this could be 2016, coinciding with the 2016 Olympic Games. Formula 1 last raced at Rio in 1989 before moving to São Paulo in 1990.


External links[edit]

Official website[edit]