Awesome San Luis track holds GT1 finale today

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Are any of the new F1 circuits a patch on Argentina’s beautiful Potrero de los Funes course which hosts today’s FIA GT1 season finale? I don’t think so.

Also, today is the deadline for entries for the F1 2010 DVD competition (UK/RoI only) do if you haven’t entered yet, do it before midnight tonight!

I’m going to be at the Autosport Awards this evening. For those of you following me on Twitter I will try to Tweet from the event but last time I was at the venue it’s being held at I had lousy reception.

Here’s today’s round-up:



The Potrero de los Funes circuit in San Luis, Argentina surely stands out as the best new racing track not currently on the Formula 1 calendar. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a sufficiently high FIA grade to hold F1 races.

But it is hosting the final round of the FIA GT1 world championship today, and the whole thing is being broadcast live online. If you’re in Britain, you can also see the race at from 5:30pm on the Bloomberg news channel.

Don’t miss it, it’s a phenomenal circuit – here’s a few pictures from the weekend so far:

F1 moves to set ‘green’ agenda (BBC)

“F1 is aware that it has an image for being profligate with resources. In an era when there is increasing pressure on energy supplies, it is nervous about its position as an activity that literally burns fossil fuels for fun. By introducing these new rules, F1 is hoping it can go some way towards insulating itself against accusations that it is an irrelevant waste of resources.”

Fantasy island (The Financial Times)

The private island owned by Red Bull founder Dietrich Mateschitz.

Comment of the day

So how much power can you get out of a 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged engine as F1 will use in2013? Cyanide offers some thoughts:

1.6L, 4-cylinder bangers can produce upwards of 700whp [wheel horse power] when running moderately big turbos with 20-25 psi of boost and 8-9,000 rpm.

Make the F1 engineers have a crack at it and they will easily produce 1,000whp with 35-40 psi of boost on huge turbos running 12-15,000rpm. All the people whining about the racing being boring in 2013 do not know what small engines can accomplish.

This is a video of a famous tuning shop in the US tuning a 1.6L Honda and producing 600whp at the last dyno run:

The car went on to make over 700whp and sub-nine second quarter mile passes on cast pistons costing $125 US for a set of four!

With forged and light parts, F1 engineers should be able to make double the power of these tiny Honda engines.

From the forum

Who would you drive for If you were an F1 driver?

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today. If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

I’m going to the Autosport Awards tonight where the new McLaren Autosport BRDC Young Driver of the Year will be announced.

A previous winner, Anthony Davidson, signed a test deal with BAR on this day ten years ago. He later drove for them as a substitute in the 2005 Malaysian Grand Prix.

Images © DPPI

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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56 comments on “Awesome San Luis track holds GT1 finale today”

  1. if only the headline read:

    “Argentina’s awesome new track to hold F1 finale next year”

    1. Unfortunately I think it’s far more likely to read,

      “Bernie sells own mother.”


      “Mosley admits he may have made some mistakes.”


      “The sport is more important than our team.” Says Ferrari team principle.”

    2. The problem with the circuit is not the work that needs to be done. That can happen quite easily. It’s the political situation in Argentina that will prevent it from happening. I am told that the only way the Argentine Grand Prix will be revived is with government support from Buenos Aries. However, the circuit is in an electorate centered on San Luis, which I am led to believe is currently held by the national opposition, and may actually be one of their traditional seats. As the government would support a race, it is unlikely a race would be held in an electorate that is not controlled by them. So there are only three ways for the circuit to appear on the calendar:

      1) The incumbent government would have to win the San Luis seat in the next national election.
      2) The national opposition would have to win the next national election as still be open to the prospect of funding a race.
      3) A group of private backers would have to put together a bid to host the race.

      One of those three things has to happen before the circuit can even be considered for a race, and then there’s the work that needs to be done to upgrade it.

      1. Thanks for the info. I was wondering the same thing.

  2. What’s the exact problem with it not matching F1 standards? Lack of runoff?

    1. runoff.
      team facilities (and I’m not talking about wizz-bang buildings, just ANY buildings – the team garages this weekend are marquees).
      broadcast facilities.
      crowd facilities/grandstands
      local transport
      local accomodation.

    2. The track itself seems to be to a fairly high standard. FIA GT1 cars are required to run on a minimun Grade 2 circuit, F1 cars are required to run on a Grade 1 circuit. I’m not sure what the exact differences are between a Grade 1 circuit and a Grade 2 circuit, but as an uneducated guess, maybe San Luis could be upgraded to a Grade 1 circuit; it would certainly be an awesome location for a race.

      1. The circuit regulation is something for it self. I think the difference, might be safety concerns, but also width of the track and space between cars on the starting grid. I am quite sure though that a grade 2 just have to fullfill som requirements, whereas grade 1 is something you have to get a special permission for.

        1. the main difference is the pits. Grade 1 pits need to be something like Abu Dhabi, whereas in Grade 2 circuits, a couple of tents do the job just fine :P

      2. A grade one circuit must be completely flat, and have only constant radius corners. 90 degree corners are preferred, and slight kinks before hairpin corners are encouraged strongly in order to discourage overtaking.

        Also, a grade one track must have at least 20 corners; the more the better.

  3. Looking at that track’s layout, it looks like one I’d absolutely love to drive. Lots of nice long flowing sections, beautiful views, some tricky little corners to get right.

    But I’m not convinced that F1 cars would be able to overtake there. There are only one or two areas where an F1 car would be braking hard for a tight corner, and they follow flowing sections: so cars wouldn’t be following each other close enough to have a lunge anyway.

    Sad to say, but I do wonder if the best F1 “racing” is produced by a track with a couple of long straights with hairpins at the end, joined by flowing sections that make them look nice but don’t actually serve any purpose.

    Like this track I made on the Canberra road network, for example…

    1. So you are suggesting the German’s revive AVUS?

      1. and the french reims. At least the nmes will bring some glamour to f1.

    2. The Sri Lankan
      5th December 2010, 8:33

      drivers have been overtaken on the Monaco GP. im sure as an F1 track that this will do just fine

    3. ah, a fellow canberran? straight up northbourne. love it. the weekend canberra stands still.

      1. No, I just like the design of the place. :D

  4. It’s just occurred to me that for all the surprises of the last two seasons, there hasn’t been a debut podium finisher for an awfully long time- Sebastian Vettel at the 2008 Italian GP, by my reckoning. Am I right, or have I missed anyone? Surely that is quite unusual. And which of the current youngsters could be first to break their podium duck?

    1. I think thats right. It could have been Sutil if he hadn’t overshot his pitbox at Monza 2009. You’d expect it would be someone like him or Kobayashi to be next in line though.

      Another thing I was wondering is when a driver is next going to win his home GP. No one has done it since Massa in 2008….

      1. Maybe Hamilton can get another win at Silverstone. And Vettel is due a home win soon. Alonso has two home GPs so if his car is good enough there’s no reason why he shouldn’t win one next year.

        1. Unless some Bahrani billionaire puts up a lot of money to get someone unknown in a car soon, then Mark Webber will have the next opportunity.

    2. That is interesting that there have been no new podium finishers in two complete seasons. 2008 had 4 new podium finishers, Vettel, Glock, Rosberg, and Piquet Jr. This year there were no youngsters in cars that could put them on the podium though really. Hülkenberg had the best shot in Brazil, but with it looking less likely that he’ll be driving next year I doubt he’ll be the next. Maybe Petrov if he stays at Renault, or Kobayashi if the Sauber comes good next year.

  5. Potrero de los Funes circuit in San Luis, Argentina does look beautiful I don’t think there is anything wrong of having another South American GP beside Brazil.

    1. Aside from the fact that it would remove the chance for another GP at a tiny mid-east emirate…

  6. GT1 isn’t the only racing series with a finale on today. V8 Supercars also have their final race at Sydney Olympic Park. I know I’ve been a little critical of the series in the recent past, but I watched the last phase of the penultimate race yesterday and it was the most bizarre result I’ve ever seen. The three championship contenders were first, second and third on the road when the heavens opened up and all of them slid into the outer wall at exactly the same place as each other. A couple of other guys crashed out there, too (in fact, half the remaining field was decimated at what is the narrowest stretch of racing circuit in the country), but the three contenders somehow got their cars started again and they all managed to limp back to the pits. They all had similar damage in the same place on their cars, so the teams had to work like mad to try and get their cars repaired and back out onto the circuit. And all the while, they were running out of laps because the race continued and became a timed race instead of a fixed lap-count. They had no idea when the race would be over, only that they had a limited amount of timr. In the end, only two of them managed it – James Courtney and Jamie Whincup. Courtney got out first and had to complete a timed lap that was less double the fastest lap of the race leader (which ultiamtely wasn’t that difficult because he had to set a three-minute lap and he did it in two). But Whincup failed because he got out a lap later, which was the final lap of the race, and because the control line is at the start of the its rather than the end, he never set a lap time and was classified as a retirement. Courtney got 60 points for finishing 15th (V8 Supercars award points to every finishing position), which means he has a 113-point lead over Whincup ahead of today’s race. The third championship contender, Mark Winterbottom, never got out of the pit lane and fell too far behind in the points to be able to win. The race itself was won by a rookie driver.

    The irony in all of this is that Holden spent millions of dollars getting Whincup’s Triple Eight Racing team to defect from Holden to Ford and at the start of the year, a lot of people thought he was a sure bet for the title as he’s won the past two. But all those millions were spent on nothing because James Courtney drives for Ford and only needs to finish 23rd in today’s race to be able to win the championship. Of course, Holden are apparently trying to buy him for next season …

    1. Without the rain the race would have been boring as anything. In the end the championship was won by a guy who only consistently finished in the points (rather than actually winning races), and scoring points in V8 Supercars isn’t hard, unless you DNF. Also there have been some dodgy stewarding decisions that have gone against Whincup this year.

      As for the circuit I don’t understand how it is safe to race on. The narrow section would be lucky to be 7 metres wide (that doesn’t comply with FIA requirements). The pit wall situation (and the pit straight geometry) is a death trap in my opinion.

      For me V8 Supercar needs to do a lot of work before I can consider it a legitimate series.

      1. the end the championship was won by a guy who only consistently finished in the points (rather than actually winning races), and scoring points in V8 Supercars isn’t hard, unless you DNF.

        Uh, James Courtney won both races at Winton, both races at the Paperclip, and the second race at Sandown. True, Jamie Whincup won nine races to Courtney’s five, but Courtney had the second-highest number of race wins (Winterbottom, Lowndes and Tander all won three; Dumbrell, Webb and Holdsworth all won one).

        Also there have been some dodgy stewarding decisions that have gone against Whincup this year.

        There have been just as many dodgy ones that went against Courtney. Hell, Jamie Whincup profited from a dodgy decision (or lack of a decision) in Surfers’ Paradise; Shane van Gisbergen was ahead of them when they both had to cut across the chicane on the final lap and the stewards did nothing.

        As for the circuit I don’t understand how it is safe to race on. The narrow section would be lucky to be 7 metres wide (that doesn’t comply with FIA requirements). The pit wall situation (and the pit straight geometry) is a death trap in my opinion.

        Because it is run as a national event. Superleague Formula had a similar problem at the Beijing circuit this year – a stretch of track across the top of the circuit was deemed to be too narrow to be raced upon safely, even with waved yellow flags. The event lost its FIA Grade-2 status, and thus became a national-level event. Drivers competing in it could not score championship points.

        Besides, I’m pretty sure the rules are different for touring cars than for open-wheelers. Look at the DTM race in Shanghai last weekend: the last little straight before that giant front turn was incredibly narrow. Possibly even narrower than Edwin Flack Avenue on the Homebush circuit, and yet it counted as a points-scoring event for the DTMs.

        1. Look at the DTM race in Shanghai last weekend: the last little straight before that giant front turn was incredibly narrow. Possibly even narrower than Edwin Flack Avenue on the Homebush circuit, and yet it counted as a points-scoring event for the DTMs.

          But was that really an endorsement of the track’s race-worthiness, or just an indication of how badly Mercedes want to sell S-Classes to the Chinese?

          1. Could be either. But the point is that the section of the Sydney Olympic Park circuit along Edwin Flack Avenue has been deemed wide enough for racing, even if it is one of the narrowest sections of circuit in the country. You can comfortably fit two cars abreast down its length – as James Courtney proved when he passed Jamie Whincup in the first race – but you’d be mad to try it under normal race conditions. Courtney might have gotten by Whincup, but shortly thereafter, he aquaplaned into the outside wall.

      2. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
        5th December 2010, 20:32

        As for the circuit I don’t understand how it is safe to race on. The narrow section would be lucky to be 7 metres wide (that doesn’t comply with FIA requirements). The pit wall situation (and the pit straight geometry) is a death trap in my opinion.

        I don’t believe the drivers have an issue with the track so why should you?

        Incidentally could you point me to the regulation regarding track width as I don’t recall coming across it before.

        1. The FIA regs are pretty clear concerning new permanent circuits, but it seems an exception could be made for temporary circuits, which would be the case for Potrero de los Fuenes track. See bold sections below:

          Article 7.3


          When planning new permanent circuits, the track width foreseen should be at least 12 m. Where the track width changes, the transition should be made as gradually as possible, at a rate not greater than 1 m in 20 m total width. The width of the starting grid should be at least 15 m; this width must be maintained through to the exit of the first corner (as indicated by the racing line). Existing circuits requesting international recognition but which are narrower, may be approved if national events have regularly been organised on them.

          1. didn’t mean to highlight the part in the first line lol.

        2. Well because I think it’s unsafe, that why I have an issue with it. You don’t have to be a driver to have concerns about the safety of a circuit.

          1. I’m referring to the V8 Supercar circuit at Sydney Olympic Park being unsafe, not Potrero de los Fuenes, in case there is any confusion. I think Potrero de los Fuenes is an example of what other semi-permanent / temporary circuits should be aiming for.

  7. Glad you posted that about Potrero, Keith!

    I saw the TC2000 qualy today and then the GT1 qualy. I cannot belive that circuit it’s in my country.

    Every angle from the racetrack it’s beautiful.

  8. My first COTD :D

  9. about the comment of the day. If you were a f1 fan in the early eighties, you’d remember the bmw turbo. 1.3 liters, giving in qualy trim more than 1300 bhp. This happened 30 years ago. So we know it can happen. The thing is they don’t want it to happen, and that’s the tragedy in f1 nowadays. If we had 1000bhp cars, wider rear tyres, and less aeordinamic dependency. We would be going the right way, and i would be getting in love with the sport again. But that’s like asking a wife to encourage a husband to go to cuba with a bunch of fiends.

  10. A passage from Mark Webbers book which has just recently been released states he had a broken shoulder for the last 4 races of the season – broke it mountain biking accident between Singapore and Japanese GPs.

    Cannot however seem to find a link.

    1. Wow. If that’s true then Webber needs to give up the mountain biking. First the leg, and now a shoulder. I wasn’t planning on buying his book, but I might have to now.

    2. Wasn’t that how he broke his leg before the ’09 season too? Sounds like maybe he should give up mountain biking until he retires from F1…

    3. Very interesting tip, thanks Hamish! Has anyone in Australia got a copy of the book and can show us the relevant pages?

      1. I picked up a copy just now, and on page 176 Webber writes:

        If I thought heading home to Australia ahead of Japan might make life easier, I had another think coming. On the Sunday morning before Suzuka, I got on a mountain bike for the first time since my accident in Tasmania at the end of 2008. I was riding with a great mate of mine. Suddenly, he crashed right in front of me and I had nowhere to go but straight between the ears of the horse! I suffered what they call a skier’s fracture to my right shoulder. Suzuka is a brutal track, so it was a blessing that the Japanese weather gave me an enforced rest day on the Saturday, and a pre-race injection helped, too.

        I’ve also uploaded a very dodgy picture of the page in question. . The book looks like quite an interesting read. It is kind of in a magazine format, full colour 216 pages with pictures on most pages. For anyone planning to buy it shop around as it can be found for much cheaper than the RRP of $39.99.

        1. I should be hitting Mark Webber up for a commission on your purchase!

    4. If that’s true, it sure casts a different light on his performances at the end… . Though it’s curious that this is the first we’ve heard anything about it. One way or another it was a pity that his season ended with a whimper.

  11. If all else fails I’ll scan the article in todays paper which mentions it.

    Clearly someone hasn’t been having their Canberra Milk…

    1. Which newspaper?

      1. it obviously happened with the leg in 2008, so it’s not like he was driving injured this year

        1. I drove with a fractured shoulder for the final 4 races of the year.

      2. – I have searched the website high and low.

  12. HounslowBusGarage
    5th December 2010, 10:15

    and the whole thing is being broadcast live online

    That’s the best bit.

    1. And you can watch every race of the season in full for FREE as well! :) I think F1 should take a look at their website…

  13. It’s been a terrific season for GT1s and GT3s; I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching them online and ‘in the metal’ at Silverstone. For me they are pretty much the best overall racing series at the moment, closely followed by the SuperGT series in Japan (if only I could afford to go and watch them!). If the awful four-pots come to pass in Formula 1, this will be the last stronghold of proper engines; that is until someone forces all supercar manufacturers to be electric or something equally barmy…

  14. I wanted very much to attend the GT1 race, but was unable to do so because of the sheer lack of information on tickets availability and sales points from the organizers. Tickets were not available for sale anywhere until last Tuesday (only three days from the beggining of the race weekend!), before that there was no information whatsoever about them even at the official Tourism Government Agency of the San Luis province. When tickets were finally made available, my city’s branch of Supervielle’s Bank (Mendoza, about 200 km away from San Luis) didn’t even know about them. I have a couple of relatives at San Luis city who could have bought them for me, but, due to the delay in the announcement of prices and availability of the tickets, I was unable to negotiate the leave permission at work.
    I think prices were fairly affordable, 300 pesos (about € 60) for an entire racing weekend pit pass, 50 pesos (about €10) for a Sunday’s general grandstands ticket, but due to the lack of information, I was not surprised about the scarce amount of people in the stands.
    A huge dissapointment..! :-(

  15. MotorsTV will broadcast the TC2000 race at Buenos Aires, held last month.

    It wasn’t a particuarly good race IMO, but I think it’s a good oportunity to all of you to watch these little touring cars race round the mitic Oscar Alfredo Galvez.

    I’ll be broadcast today and:
    Sunday 05 December – 21:00,
    Monday 06 December – 2:10,
    Monday 06 December – 8:45,
    Monday 06 December – 14:00,
    Tuesday 07 December – 4:50,
    Tuesday 07 December – 22:20,
    Wednesday 08 December – 19:40,
    Thursday 09 December – 7:00,
    Friday 10 December – 3:55,
    Friday 10 December – 14:50,
    Saturday 11 December – 21:00,
    Sunday 12 December – 12:40,
    Tuesday 14 December – 0:30,
    Thursday 16 December – 1:20,
    Thursday 16 December – 7:00

  16. after watching the live streaming,
    that San Luis track is awesome awesome track with awesome scenery surrounding. yeah bernie should consider this track to be on F1 calendar

  17. It’s not designed by Tilke, so why would it get on the F1 calendar?

  18. Please review the circuit we have here in San
    Luis, Argentina is just like running in the
    paradise has a unique view to the 12/04/1911 can come
    the date of the GT1. They can also come for a walk
    any time and walk around in the same because it is
    a local path that surrounds the lake in the hope
    San Luis.Saludo

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