Jerez has always had a close relationship with motorsport, specially with motorbikes. At the beginning of the 60's, Jerez was already organizing the international prestigious race called "Trofeo de la Merced" which attracted the top motorbike riders of that time. Spanish riders like Angel Nieto (13 times World Championship), Ricardo Tormo, Sito Pons, Benjamin Grau, Víctor Palomo or international one like Marco Luchinelli, Barry Sheene, Jan de Vries, Borje Jansson competed in the streets of Jerez.

The result of this long tradition with competition was, decades later, the construction of a permanent race track, with modern and full equipped facilities able to hold the most important motorsport events.


The 80's


Inaugurated in 1985, Circuito de Jerez quickly became one of the most famous tracks in Europe organizing Formula One, Sport Prototypes and Motorcycles World Championships. 


Only with the works of the track finished (without pits, buildings or race control tower) Jerez organized the first race on the 8th of December 1985. It was a round of the Spanish Touring Racing Cars, having the leading role...the rain. Despite the great difficulties added by this, the event was held without any serious problems and confirmed what was expected, that Andalusia was ready to become the reference in the motorsport world.


Just four months later, in April 1986, Jerez celebrated its first Spanish Formula One Grand Prix, with the works of all the facilities fully finished. And the starts of the Championship wanted this debut not to be easily forgotten: Ayrton Senna, driving his Lotus Renault and Nigel Mansell at the wheel of a William-Honda, performed an extremely tight finish. Only 14 thousandths of a second difference made Senna the first F-1 winner in Jerez, a record still unbeaten nowadays.

One year later, in 1987, the first Spanish Motorbike Grand Prix was held. Since the first edition, Jerez enchanted the fans of motorbikes, quickly turning the Andalusian race into a "must" event. Today, Circuito de Jerez is one of the most important venues in the MotoGP Calendar, having been celebrating the race non-stop since and always offering that special atmosphere which visitors appreciate so much, coming en masse year after year.


The 90's


In 1992, Circuito de Jerez carried out its first great modification. In order to improve the safety measures, the old chicane was removed, creating a parabolic corner that links with the second straight which measures the same as the starting/finish line one, 600m.  This way, the track lenght becomes 4.423m. Jerez is also the first circuit to install the new and revolucionary safety system call air-fence, consisting in air cushions which substitute the straw bales, 700m were placed along the track. Jerez was also the first circuit to construct a motocross track inside the facilities. This was built in the pelousse area around corners 7 to 10 and it held the 125cc and 250cc World Championship and the prestigious Motocross of the Nations, as well as several national races.

1994 marked a new stage for the circuit. Due to Ayrton Senna's accident in Imola in which he was killed, security measures became even more strict; the Jerez track had a very fast area between curves 11 (Criville) and 12 (Ferrari) which put the F1 cars in great danger. Therefore, a chicane was created and it was given the name of "Ayrton Senna chicane" in his honor. Actually it is used for all automobile races and tests, while the motorbikes used the standar track.

In 1997, Jerez held its last F-1 race up-to-date. It was the last event of the year and Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve were competing for the Championship. The official practice ended with an amazing triple tie: Schumacher, Villeneuve and Frentzen on 1.21''072 !. In the race, the duel Schumacher-Villeneuve finished in turn 6 (Dry Sack), when the German blocked the Canadian, crashing into each other. Schumacher finished the race on the kerb, giving Villeneuve his first and only World Championship. He was also penalized by the FIA with the lost of all the Championship points. 

As for the motorbikes, 1997 was the year when Alex Criville won Michael Doohan in 500cc class to the enthusiasm of thousand of followers and receiving the trophy fromo the Spanish king himself.


The new Millenium


The safety demands related to pit-lane and track forced in 2002 the biggest remodeling in the history of the circuit. New pits, pit-lane, main building, hospital, paddocks, run-off areas, some grandstands....and the construction of an amazing viewing platform just on the start/finish line; beatiful new VIP suites overlooking the start line and a new media center with capacity for over 300 journalist.

On the sporting side, 2002 also meant a decisive change for the Motorcycle World Championship. The 500cc class disappeared, giving way to a new one named MotoGP with four strokes engines instead of two. But the name of the Master of the class did not change....Valentino Rossi won the Jerez race and the championship with his Repsol Honda machine. 

Determined not to lose its remarkable international position, in 2008 Jerez made a large remodeling of the escape areas and a new tarmac was laid at the track. In fact, Jerez has never stopped developing its facilities and infraestructures to keep up to the top standars required by the international Federations and is, for this reason, one of the most demanding circuits in the world.

2013 shall bring out major projects which will boost even further the activity capacity of Circuito de Jerez.


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