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Brno Masaryk Circuit


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#1 Sid Rutty

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 22:40

I have started this thread due to the lack of information on the Old Brno Circuit through print or on the net. I first became fascinated by the circuit when drivers like Win Percy (1984) and Johnny Cecotto(1985) on their first visit to Bathurst when asked if they had any circuit which resembled the mountain they both said "BRNO".I would like to know what remains of the track and if anyone competed or experienced racing at the circuit.( I know you are out there Sat) I am interested in the circuit from 1964-74 & 1975-1986.I hope the thread reveals some great stories and photos from drivers like Rindt and Lauda in the Formula Junior Days to Berger in the BMW 635.

I have enclosed an extract of Win Percy's recollections of the circuit from Joe Sawards "World Book of Motor Racing Circuits"1989 Hamlyn Publishing.

"In the Jaguar XJS" he remembers "that track was just beautiful. Down from the pits on the long bumpy blast to the fast sweepers which led through the village. We used to do them in fourth, scanning the sky as we went in to see if there was any debris flying up there, indicating a crash in the village. Flick into fourth and flat out through left-right, then a tighter left-right. We used to actually rub the front of the cars gently against the barriers.On the way out of the village you couldn't cross the road because the surface was so bad.You had to stay on your line". The cars would emerge into open fields,pulling slightly uphill on a piece of road which fell away on either side.Get off line here and the road would take the car from you and deposit you in the corn. A straight brought the cars screaming flat out into the collection of houses- too small to be a village-at Velselka. Here the escape road disappeared straight on for 850 yards, most of which were needed if the cars left the track here. Those who got their braking right had to turn sharply right between two houses. "That was a tight right and the road was almost banked" remembers Percy and you would run right out to the house at the exit and then off uphill through these long sweepers- a ditch on either side".
A tight righthander into the forest led you through a series of climbing curves which were identical to parts of the old Nurburgring. Then the track burst into a housing estate at Kohoutovice and under the trolley-bus wires into a series of fast downhill sweepers which would not have been out of place at the old Spa. Down the hill the saloon men used to clang the barriers as they dived to the valley floor and the tight right-handed hairpin leading past the pits. Over 8 1/2 miles in under 4 minutes!

What a track.

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#2 Wolf

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Posted 01 February 2001 - 23:50

Sid, I think it was Masaryk circuit (Jan Masaryk was Checz diplomat, IIRC). Please don't take me wrong- I don't know if it was typo or not, and I'm not a smart ass (at least not in this forum ;) )- I just thought to point it out.

And thanx for that excerpt, it's great.

#3 Sid Rutty

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 00:04

No probs Wolf, I looked at everything except the title.(Doh!) Yes, he was the son of the countries Liberator and first president. I believe he gsve the go ahead for the permanent road course in 1930.

#4 sat

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 00:10

For the first time Jan Masaryk was one time minister of foreign affairs by us. but circuit is about his father Tomas Garrigue M. - the first and three time president of Czechoslovakian Republic. He donate a nice trophy for race, but I'm affraid never observed races itself.

#5 Wolf

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 00:17

Thanx Sat, I stand corrected. As usual. :lol: BTW, there's a Masaryk Street in my hometown, so I guess it's also named after Thomas G. (and I was wrong about that also, for a change). But I can't figure out how I came up with Jan in the first place. :confused:

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 01:18

Sounds like it did leave Bathurst in its wake... is this another for the same level as Pescara, Spa, Nurburgring, Rouen, Clermont Ferrand and Lobethal?

#7 MattFoster

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 01:27

The new purpose built Brno is a fine circuit but racing on the old one would have been awesome.

#8 Sid Rutty

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 01:43

I think its right up there Ray,I posted the thread because i could not wait for MOTORSPORT to do a feature on it.They built the new Brno to get the F1 circus there at the expense of the old circuit safety concerns. I would like to know if they considered bringing it up to FIA standards as they did with Bathurst in 87 after the Burgmann accident.I don't have the luxury of posting the picture that i have on this thread but the circuit from the Percy thread sounds like a real balltearer!

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 01:46

No scanner or no web page, Sid?

If you can scan it, email it to me and I'll post it.

don't go too big on the resolution or size, though...

#10 Sid Rutty

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 03:31

I will attempt to get the picture scanned at work and send it through.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 03:53

No website at work you can post it to, hiding it from the boss?

#12 Sid Rutty

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 04:16

The boss has become aware of the Atlas f1 addiction in work time but not of the brno one!

#13 Hans Etzrodt

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 04:31

Here just a little background, to show how it all had started. Lets look at how things were at the end of the twenties. The reason for establishing this circuit was to follow the trend of the times because it was impossible to foresee if the once so popular short mountain races would survive. The drivers had higher ambitions and the spectators were losing interest and demanded more. The brief visibility of the cars in mountain races was not satisfactory any more. Natural development led in the direction of a closed road circuit. This new event replaced the traditional Brno-Sobesice mountain race, held for the first time in 1924 and the last time in 1929. The intent was to be on the same level with other famous races - Le Mans, Spa, San Sebastian or Nürburgring. Czechoslovakia would then have it's own Grand Prix like France, Italy, Belgium, Spain, or Germany.

The inaugural race on the Masarykuv okruh (Masaryk Circuit) was successfully organized by the CAMS or Ceskoslovensky Automobilovy Klub pro Moravu a Slezsko (Czechoslovakian Automobile Club for Moravia and Silesia) with offices in the large town of Brno. The circuit, first called Brno-Ring, was then named after Czechoslovakia's commendable first Minister-President, Thomas Garrigue Masaryk. Because the challenge trophy carried Masaryk's name, the event gained significance of the highest order. The Brno race was the greatest motor sport event the Czechoslovakian Republic had ever seen.

The circuit was just outside the borders of Brno and went counterclockwise. The first 18 kilometers up to the village of Ostrovacice were formed primarily of winding, hilly, rather narrow district roads, leading through romantic forested areas and four other villages. From there, the circuit turned back and the last 11 km were almost all wide, straight state roads which allowed driving at top speed. In January 1930 the official length had been 29.212 km. Afterwards the circuit must have been measured again because with the CAMS announcement in June it was changed to the generally known 29.142 km road circuit. The preparation of these roads had taken more than a year and had cost millions of Koruny. The old dusty thoroughfares in Novy Liskovec, Pisarky outside Brno, Kohoutovice, and Zebetin were paved. These district roads received the biggest changes. They were widened to 6 meters and to 8.5 meters in the dangerous corners. The circuit, with 36 left-hand corners and 47 to the right, was in excellent, dust free condition with a maximum incline of 7% and a maximum decline of 9.5%. Special grand stands were built, from which the drivers could be seen up to 7 km away. In June, when the circuit was still under construction, the experts estimated that the large cars should be able to attain an average of 100 km/h. The circuit had to be lapped 17 times bringing the total length of the race to 494.414 km.

The inaugural event on 28 September 1930 was a great success and about 80.000 spectators surrounded the brand new Masaryk-Ring. This international event, Czechoslovakia's first big circuit race, was very exciting and did not lack any dramatic moments. Caracciola's 7.1-liter Mercedes-Benz SSK took an early lead. Von Morgen's 2.3-liter Bugatti T35B pursued relentlessly. Then Caracciola's engine went sour. Doré flipped his 1.5-liter Bugatti T37A in a serious crash. When difficulties arose in his Bugatti, von Morgen had Leiningen stopped at the pits to exchange cars. As a result, Morgen lost a full lap. Leiningen, in Morgen's car, would keep the lead for a long time. After Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo broke down, he took over his teammate's car later in the race. He was able to gain the lead after Leiningen had to give up, driving Morgen's ruined Bugatti. In a heroic drive Heinrich-Joachim von Morgen outfoxed everyone and finished first in Leiningen's car after 4h54m13.6s averaging 101.027 km/h. Just five miles from the finish, Tazio Nuvolari's Alfa Romeo ran out of cooling water. The Italian finally crossed the finish line with a steaming radiator 32 minutes after von Morgen. It was the swan song for the Alfa Romeo P2 after seven successful years.

#14 David McKinney

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 06:48

The original 18-mile circuit was modified several times over the years. The western section was cut off in 1949, reducing the lap to 11 miles, and it was this layout that was used right up until the return of single-seaters in 1962. It was shortened again in 1965, bypassing the rapidly growing town of Zebetín and rejoining the old circuit nearer to Kohoutovice, the lap-distance now being 8.6 miles. This was the layout used for the ETCC races until 1970, when another two miles were lopped off. At that time new road was built to cut straight down the hill from Kohoutovice to the pits at Bosonohy, taking the circuit further away from the encroaching Brno suburbs of Pisárky and Novy Liskovec.
This one lasted into the 1980s when work began on an ultramodern facility inside the original road circuit near the old Ostrovacice Serpentine, and the new autodrome, measuring a mere 3.35 miles, was opened in 1987.



#15 Darren Galpin

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 08:03

Originally an 18.109 mile road circuit, the old pits and barriers of which can still be seen, Brno is now a more bland purpose built motorsport complex built to attract modern formula racing. The first alterations to the original circuit came in 1949, when a connecting road from Zebetin to Popuvky was built, reducing the length to 11.061 miles, and just to confuse everyone, the racing direction was changed from anti-clockwise to clockwise. In 1964, a link road bypassing Zebetin was used, reducing the length to 8.663 miles, followed by a further shortening to 6.789 miles in 1975 when a new road was built to link the start to Kohoutovice. This circuit was still used by the European Touring Car Championship until the new Automotodrom was built in 1986, and first opened in 1987.

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Old variants.

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1949 variant.

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New track.

From http://www.silhouet....racks/brno.html

#16 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 08:32

Something familiar about that last one...

where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before.... where have I seen it before....

#17 Flicker

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 13:28

A few more maps of Brno...
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#18 MoMurray

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 14:41

In 1986 I was a mechanic on a german based motorcycle racing team competing in the 500cc European Road Racing Championship. One of the rounds was at the Brno road circuit. What a magical place. Remember this was before the fall of the iron curtain and the city of Brno was very very strange to us westerners. The circuit itself was reminicent of the road circuits I had grown up with in Ireland but the down hill section into the hairpin before the start was frightening. (We ran clockwise) Our Honda RS500 reached a top speed (calculated from gear ratios and rpm) of 320KPH down the hill. There was over 300,000 spectators there that day and my bike and rider won the race. The celebration that followed is something I will always remember. Even I, a lowly mechanic, was carried shoulder high by the crowd to the podium. One of my fondest memories. My rider, Manfred Fischer, also broke the lap record during the race and as the circuit was never used again, that record still stands...

#19 Ray Bell

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Posted 02 February 2001 - 15:31

I must spend some time with Wal Donnelly and Barry Collerson and learn more about it from them. They raced there in FJrs, or at least one of them did, during their foray into European racing before each of them settled down to more 'normal' living.

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#20 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 16:09

Formula Audi championship visits Brno this season. If Im in it I could be persuaded to attach a mini-cam to the dash of my road car and do a lap of the old course, if it exists in a manner to make this possible

Ditto for spa and various national UK tracks (has Mallory Park changed *at all* ?)

#21 David McKinney

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 18:13

Ross
I have driven around most of the original Masaryk circuit - OK, been driven - but without a map to hand, so we might have strayed off course at a few places. I suspect you can also drive the various other permutations mentioned on this thread.
Mallory Park is still pretty much as it was when it opened in 1956. There's a chicane on the way down the hill from Shaw's Hairpin to the start/finish line, but as far as I know it's only used at motorcycle meetings. Bur Cadwell Park's the one you need your on-board camera for!

#22 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 03 February 2001 - 18:25

I drove Mallory Park on an open test day, when it was snowing :( Me and my little Formula Ford vs Formula 3 cars, Formula Renault, Lotuses (Lotusi?) Caterhams, everything.

What a nightmare


Brit F3 is suppoed to go to Castle Combe this year

#23 Vasco

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Posted 04 February 2001 - 15:30

Thanks a lot for your trackmaps, Flicker.
The best I've seen so far on this wonderful circuit that deserved much better fate than just being forgotten like the other monuments of motor racing history.

Does anyone have pictures of cars in action round Brno?

#24 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 February 2001 - 04:23

Sid has asked me to post this picture, and as nobody has come up with a better one, I guess it's the best we've got...

From Saward's book, the World Atlas of Motor Racing, the ETCC cars are in the village just after the start:

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#25 Ray Bell

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Posted 07 February 2001 - 21:45

Posting again for another, here's another map and another pic of tourers racing through the village, 1986.

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#26 Sid Rutty

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Posted 07 February 2001 - 22:47

Great Map, now i can really picture where the new Brno circuit is. Keep those pictures coming!

#27 Kvadrat

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 10:01

Originally posted by Ray Bell
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Very good map (I have it from different source) because it shows modern circuit position near original circuit's road.

Here's aerial view of modern Brno circuit: http://members.iinet.../aerial_029.jpg.

Source - http://cfm.globalf1....erial/index.htm (see also Circuit Aerial Photos. )

It's very interesting to see old curcuit's road runnin through the forest. Did it look similar back in 1930? Also Zebetin is visible so we can imagine where 1930 and 1949 parts of the circuit were.

#28 st59cz

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 12:15

It's very interesting to see old curcuit's road runnin through the forest. Did it look similar back in 1930?



Yes...

#29 timhanna

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 21:08


I am writing a book about Kim Newcombe. Kim raced Koenig bikes that he built himself in GP coming 2nd in the 500 class in 1973.
Rigt now I am writing about Brno in 72. I believe he qualified 4th but can find no mention of himother then that. I believe Rolf Stienhausen was also there racing a Koenig outfit but do not know what happened to him.
Photographs suggest there might have been sections of cobble. Does anyone know anything about that?
Tim Hanna