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Drivers involved in creating circuits


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#1 dmj

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 13:23

We all know that Michael Schumacher is considered partially responsible for design of Sepang circuit. At least story goes like that, even if I don't know to what extent he was actually involved in designing.
Also it is known that leading French drivers at the time were supposed to be consultants of some kind while Paul Ricard circuit was being built. Beltoise and Jabouille are known to be among these.
Now, there had to be some other occasions when a driver took part in designing a circuit. Any stories or examples?

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#2 danielking

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 16:01

The esses at Croft were marked out by Jim Clark riding on a tractor!

#3 Manfred Cubenoggin

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 16:13

Stirling Moss was consulted on the layout of Mosport. Indeed, the corner 5a/5b complex carries the moniker, 'Moss Hairpin'. I believe that he also stated that no car would ever see an average lap beyond 100 mph. DOH!!!

#4 Amazin

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 17:07

Ayrton Senna helped the Interlagos re-design. It's been said, though, that the first proposed Interlagos re-design was better than Ayrton's, but was costly and it would take too much time, but it would have a track layout as challenging as the original Interlagos. The main straight was supposed to be kept intact. Can you imagine a modern day F1 car on a very long straight with a very fast turn to the left ?

Rumor has it that Senna designed the "Senna's Esse (S do Senna)" with his foot on the sand. The "S" came out as a nice idea, since it connected a lot of parts of the original circuit, and was cheap to make, but the track lost a lot of it's speed.

Amazin

#5 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 21:08

During the 1959 to 1962 period there were heaps of new circuits emerged in Australia...

Most of them were said, at some time or other, to have had Jack Brabham's involvement. I believe he maybe had some comments to make, but little else. After all, most would have asked his opinion of how they were going when he came on tour...

That having been said, I'm sure that some drivers were behind Hume Weir, Winton and Oran Park because they were built by clubs based on drivers. Also Catalina Park and Lakeside. But not 'drivers' as this forum would recognise 'drivers'...

#6 fifi

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 21:39

wasnt Michael Schumacher involved wioh the revamp of the Nurburgring

#7 David McKinney

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 21:57

To take Ray Bell's post a stage further:
I doubt if 5% of the road circuits in the world today were designed without driver input

#8 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 22:03

Of course, David...

Did Hugenholtz race, for instance?

But, for the most part, circuits are the babies of clubs, clubs include drivers. Though I'm sure that from time to time there are absolute feuds about how a circuit should be built as drivers and non-drivers clash.

#9 mp4

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 22:21

If memory serves, Jody Scheckter had something to do with the chicane installed at Watkins Glen in about 1975.
I also believe, Gilles Villeneuve was consulted about a chicane at Imola and possibly (don't quote me) one at Zandvoort.
I do know one thing, one of the drivers of the day suggested Gilles "stick to driving race cars..." :p
I DO remember reading that in Road and Track magazine.

Cheers

#10 Ray Bell

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Posted 31 January 2003 - 22:47

Ah yes, the GPDA had a lot to do with changing circuits...

Jo Bonnier and others would make their requests and the circuit owners follow...

#11 m.tanney

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 00:18

I believe that John Fitch was involved in the design of St. Jovite.

#12 Mila

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 03:08

Originally posted by mp4
I also believe, Gilles Villeneuve was consulted about a chicane at Imola and possibly (don't quote me) one at Zandvoort.
I do know one thing, one of the drivers of the day suggested Gilles "stick to driving race cars..." :p
I DO remember reading that in Road and Track magazine.

Cheers


I believe that it was Villenueve and Lauda who had input on the design of the Aqua Minerale chicane at Imola.

#13 Falcadore

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 09:28

ATCC Champion Mark Skaife supposedly designed the Canberra street circuit.

Perfect argument that race drivers shouldn't do it. Oh well.

#14 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 09:36

No, not really...

A perfect argument that Mark Skaife shouldn't do it.

#15 Catalina Park

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 09:43

It was often said in Katoomba that Jack Brabham had designed the Catalina Park circuit but I had been told by some other sources that Jack had just approved of the design (big difference)

Jack Brabham had a connection with Katoomba as Betty's family lived there (his first wife).

#16 Falcadore

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 09:52

Touche

#17 Ray Bell

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 10:54

Originally posted by Catalina Park
It was often said in Katoomba that Jack Brabham had designed the Catalina Park circuit but I had been told by some other sources that Jack had just approved of the design (big difference)

Jack Brabham had a connection with Katoomba as Betty's family lived there (his first wife).


You'd be right there...

The people who were hands-on in the construction were largely the BMSDC men, some of whom worked for the City Council IIRC.

They were working on the place for years, perhaps four years, and Jack was at that time getting stuck into the early bit of his European career. He was by no means the name he was to become by the time it was starting to take shape... and I doubt if there was any chance of changing their plans if he didn't approve.

That place, as you well know, was carved out of solid rock.

#18 Frank de Jong

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Posted 01 February 2003 - 12:06

I think it was jody Scheckter who was involved with the Zandvoort chicane. As stated elswhere on TNF, Hermann Tilke used to race touring cars in the 80's.

#19 LittleChris

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 00:10

Originally posted by Frank de Jong
I think it was jody Scheckter who was involved with the Zandvoort chicane. As stated elswhere on TNF, .


Spot on and don't forget Jochen Rindt and the Ostereichring

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#20 antonvrs

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Posted 02 February 2003 - 16:27

Here in California the Willow Springs circuit was originally scraped out by Ken Miles on a bulldozer in 1954. It's out in the desert, a little over an hour from Los Angeles but the megalopolis is rapidly expanding to swallow it up.
When the F1 circus ran at Long Beach Willow was used as a test track. There are no willows and no springs but it's a wonderful track to drive.
I've been lucky enough to drive there in:
Aston DB4GT
Lotus 7
Mclaren MK2-Chevy
Siata 208S
Fiat 8VZ
Ferrari 250GTE

All in Historic events run by VARA

Anton

#21 550spyder

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 21:25

Unfortunatelly it is true that Senna did the re-design of Interlagos. Senna never raced a car here. He was a go-kart pilot and went to race formulas in Europe. He did not have any memories and affection to the old circuit.

I raced cars and bikes in the old circuit and now I race my 550 spyder in the new. There are no comparison. The 1 and 2 bends are lost, the long straight is lost. Also the number 3 bend, that separates mens and boys is lost. Bend 3 was in the end of the long straight and you can imagine the speed after almost 800 meters of full throtle. Also the old circuit had a external ring with bends 1, 2,3 and Cafe ( a very long curve in the Pit's hill). All are abandoned. It is a shame.

Since the racetrack belongs to the municipality of Sao Paulo it is very unlikelly that it will be reshaped to recover the old circuit. The two circuits can live together but this will require money. The municipality only spends money to Formula 1 and Formula 1 is interested only in the new circuit.

I remember that the first guy to do bend 1 flat was Jackie Ickx with a Ferrari. Also Jarrier performances were great.
Now it is like a big go-kart circuit.

Best regards,

Roberto Zullino - 550 spyder
Sao Paulo - Brazil

#22 Doug Nye

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 22:34

Roberto - welcome to TNF - tell us more about your 550 Spyder????

DCN

#23 EvilPhil

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Posted 07 February 2003 - 22:59

Martin Brundle and Jackie Stewart had an awful lot of input into the recent and recent past silverstone redesigns.

#24 550spyder

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 01:35

It will be a pleasure talk about my 550 spyder. I assembled the car myself with a help from my son. The history of 550 spyders in Brazil began 10 to 15 ago when a american brought the moulds to fabricate the car here. At that time and even now labor is cheaper than in US And Europe and also environmental enforcement is more light. After a batch of cars the partnership fell apart and the moulds for the chassis and body were copied in pirate way. Well the american copied the car Porsche. So there were no rights to discuss.
Later a new partnership was made and the cars are manufactured by a firm called Chamonix - web site: www.chamonixcars.com.br.
My car is one of these lost between hte first and last deals. I bought the bare body and chassis for almost nothing and assembled the car in my house. The specifications are the following: VW engine central engine ( same lay-out as the original), 1600 running on alchool, compression 13 to 1, engle 280 cam, dual webers 40 mm, eletronic ignition, eletric fuel pump. Gear box standard VW with 8:31 final drive. Brakes: discs all round, ventilated in front, dual circuit with 2 master cilinders, rear valves, Mac Laren F1 pedal assembly (copy) with tunning force rear front. Front Suspension: VW adjusatable with 2 degrees negative camber and special shocks. Rear suspension: swing axle (VW) with special schocks, torsion bars and adjustable camber bolt ( I can set the camber and the torsion bars pressures independently ). Wheels with different off-sets and Pirelli 195 x 50 x 15 tyres.
Car reaches with me almost 200 km/h just before the Senna´s S in the Interlagos racetrack. I race in the Light Classics category ( no slicks and 40 mm maximum intake carburator ) against Pumas, GTV´s Alphas, Alpine A108 ( with large engine ). Best Lap Time 2:13 - not bad. A brand new Porsche Boxter 250 S can make 1:14 with a average driver. I believe with another pilot the car can lap 2:08 or less. I´m too old to take more risks.
I don´t know how to upload photos. I can send by e-mail if requested.
Thanks for the interest.

#25 Milan Fistonic

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Posted 08 February 2003 - 04:55

The Funabashi circuit in Japan was designed by Piero Taruffi.

It opened in October 1965.

The Motoring News report on the first meeting included a map of the Suzuka circuit which made their description of the circuit very confusing.