V1.01: Additional 1980s 'Short/Club Circuit' (map updated) and 1990s version with 'Escalada/Cresta' flattened and reprofiled. See end of text.
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A wide, driveable circuit in Southern Spain, showing the beauty of the area off to good effect. Period of this original circuit is 1970s. Later 'club' 1980s variant and 1990-spec circuit with the challenging 'Cresta' ridge smoothed out are also available below.
Trackday drivers will appreciate this "racer's racetrack" for the lessons it teaches about braking zones and the choices of racing line when in battle. For cars up to 450PP on Comfort Soft or Sports Hard tyres, the challenges are the breathtaking Matador, well-named Castigo and the final Elíptico turns. Traction is tricky on harder tyres too so a deft throttle (or willingness to catch an errant tail) are required.
For cars getting on for 500PP, Serpiente and Flamenco start to challenge, demanding perfection of your line lest you clip the severe kerbing and upset the car's line. Matador starts to get really scary and also, the top of the hill at Cumbre de los Bosques becomes really tricky to get good traction away from.
For cars at 550PP, the whole track begins to change; Serpiente becomes evil as you find the double bump right in the middle, and Flamenco becomes a choice of lift or crash into the barrier on exit. Your wish for traction off Cumbre means you are starting to take different lines through Catapulta, and you begin to realise why these corners are named, because you start to close down on the edge of the track at Balístico. A healthy dose of controlled power oversteer can help here, but you've got to be consistent for good laptimes!
Serious roadcars at 600PP are beginning to wish for slicks - throttle management is now your friend. Every part of the course is now an adrenaline rush. Holding the line through Paciencia without hitting the kerbs, the perfect straightline haul down to Horquilla, managing grip through Serpiente, the now terrifyingly blind Flamenco complex (is it feasible flat?) the heart-stopping Matador (is it even possible flat?!) and the quest for the perfect entry to Castigo without missing the apex and washing out, denying you a good smooth exit. Even the usually untroubling Escalada and Cresta now are a serious single bend, requiring a smooth entry, letting the car move out and then dragging it back across so you can take Cresta in as straight a line as possible to avoid the now palpable hump upset the car before you heave on the brakes and try to find an entry to Cumbre that allows you to hold the inside as you gingerly feed on the power without spinning on the now obviously adverse camber hairpin leading down the hill.
[The view from Cumbre de los Bosques down to Catapulta. the treeline in the middleground is the run down to Elíptico, the barrier of which which is visible, as are the pit buildings on the main straight. In the background is the Rio Guadaquivir and part of the new development of Huertos Familiares San Fernando, south-east of Montoro.]
Catapulta and Balístico now merge into a harsh right/left where there just doesn't seem to be enough road, and if you get that right, at 600PP, the line into Elíptico is now a do-or-die choice of braking point and turn-in. Is it out-in-out, or in-out-in? Kerbs are there for all choices, but keeping traction for a fast exit is key.
A short 'cortocircuito' or club version of the track was added in the 1980s with a cut through from Castigo to Eliptico 'Calle Ryk'. This cut knocks nearly a mile off the circuit length at 2.45 miles, and shortens laptimes considerably.
Real racecars thrive here as downforce means the track becomes a little bit more manageable. Formula cars are especially enjoyable as the runs from Elíptico to Gran Horquilla, Serpiente (or even Horquilla) to Castigo and Cumbre to Elíptico are now all flat-out runs terminating well over 200mph before braking.
Le Mans cars like the stickier tyres, but require some circumspect piloting through the bumpier parts of the track and Flamenco and Matador - especially if you were offline on approach. They can lap under 1m20.
GT500s/GT3s are the perfect cars for thrills around CSM. On Race Hards or Mediums, they're powerful enough for you to mind your line on a hot lap, and really require you to think about your next pass carefully such are the speeds you can get off a draught. Laps in the 1m30 range.
Faster cars and ever increasing concerns over safety in the mid-1980s led to a reprofiling of the 'Escalada/Cresta' turns, effectively making 'Cresta' a fast set of esses. This version is available below and is a little more suitable for racing anything of 550PP plus, including Le Mans and GT500s.
GT300s are a nice drive, if a little slow-feeling on the uphill stretches. On race hards they have more than enough grip for exciting slipstream battles exceeding 150mph going down to Castigo and will lap in the low-mid-1m40s.
Lap record on a Lotus 97T is 1m13.840 - can you do better?