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Ask an average Formula One fan “What was the longest circuit that hosted an F1 Grand Prix?”, and he will say the old Nürburgring. But the longest Formula One circuit ever was a beautiful street circuit near the city of Pescara in Italy…
Pescara, the longest Formula One circuit ever
The Italian street circuit at Pescara, home town from Jarno Trulli, was operational from 1924 to 1961. It hosted the annual Pescara Grand Prix, which only counted for the Formula One World Championship in 1957. With a length of 25.579 km (15.89 Miles) it was the longest circuit that ever hosted a Formula One race.
CClick on the map for a photo tour around the circuit
The layout of the Pescara Circuit
The triangular circuit was very challenging and included two long straights and a spectacular twisty part trough the hills. The Start/Finish was in the outskirts of Pescara and after a typical “city circuit ride” you arrived at Villa Raspa where you was leaving the urban part, turning into the hill section which was only interrupted by a few villages.
Here was the Start/finish.
After long series of corners and many fast kinks trough the hills, only interrupted by the villages Spoltoire and Cappelle, the drivers arrived at a 4 Miles long straight who lead back to the urban part of the circuit.
One of the most beautiful passages of the track was the village of Cappelle sul Tavo.
At the last part of this straight there was a kind of speed trap called the Flying Kilometre. Over a distance from one kilometre they clocked the time and calculated the speed. In 1950 Fangio reached an average speed of 309 km/h (192 Mph.) at the Flying Kilometre.
At the end of the straight they arrived at Montesilvano, a suburb from Pescara, where they had to brake very hard for a right hand corner who lead to another long straight that lead back to Start/Finish.
The Pescara Grand Prix
The first Grand Prix at the Pescara Circuit was held in 1924. The name of the Grand Prix was Coppa Acerbo, named after Tito Acerbo, the brother of Giacomo Acerbo, a prominent fascist politician. Because of the connection with the fascist era (1922 – 1945) the race was renamed after World War Two to Pescara Grand Prix.
It was named Pescara Grand Prix because the official Italian Grand Prix was at Monza. In the 1950s, the Pescara Circuit hosted several Formula One races. But only the 1957 edition was counting for the Formula One Championship.
The end of the Pecara Circuit
The last race ever at Pescara was held in 1961. After questions about the safety of the track it was closed and there was never raced again. Today the public roads who formed this old street circuit are still there. Through the years several roundabouts have been added to the traject, that once formed the great street circuit of Pescara.
In the hills between Spoltore and Cappelle sul Tavo is suddenly a memorial that recalls to a past era.
© Text & photos: Herman Liesemeijer
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