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Some time ago I discovered on Facebook some amazing pictures of the construction of the Monza banking. I shared a few with my own Facebook group “Circuits of the past Group“. This launched a chain of reactions showing that the old banked oval of Monza still greatly appeals to the imagination. I also like these old banked race tracks, so here my ode to the banked circuits of the past

Banked Circuits

In the summer of 2008, I had the unforgetable pleasure to drive on the high banked oval of Sitges Terramar in Spain (Click here for the report of this fantastic day) . This was such an unique experience because there are almost no more high banked circuits operational. The closest one must be Taladega in the USA.

Sitges-Terramar circuit 2008

The high banked circuits in Europe where mostly built in de 1920’s, a time they built many circuits as projects for unemployments. The trend of this times was to combine oval circuits with road courses, like Monza and Monthlhèry. And also, less or more, the AVUS.

Unfortunately, these high banked ovals where extreme dangerous. A crash on these circuits meant in most cases a launch in the air and no change to survive! When the safety requirements were stringent, most of these banked oval parts where no longer used. Last time Formula One used a banking was at Monza in 1961.

Monza Oval

Revive the banking!

After my experience on the banking of Sitges Terramar in 2008 I got the feeling “what a pity that these kind of circuits are no longer in use”, in the knowledge that this could be a once in a lifetime experience.

Of course it’s an illusion to think that the circuit of Sitges Terramar will ever become operational again – Although once it has been used for a publicity stunt for Red Bull in 2012 – but the place where it could be is Monza! When they recover the construction and build a concrete wall on the outside the oval would be usable again…

Brooklands circuit - Members Banking

Off course it is not suitable for Formula One. But wouldn’t it be great when you can use the banking on a track day? And maybe the European NASCAR series can use the oval. It could make a recovery of Monthlèry also cost effective.

But to stop daydreaming… Recover these classic ovals would be to expensive and will not happen for a track day or one race serie if it’s not Formula One.

So far my ode to the banked circuits of the past. I hope you enjoyed it. If so, comments are appreciated! 😉


Thoughts on this subject

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