L' Autrodrom De Terramar in Spain.
L' Autrodrom De Terramar (commonly refereed to as the Sitges Terramar) is a former racing circuit located between Sant Pere de Ribes and Sitges near Barcelona, Catalonia. Although minor races were sporadically held on the circuit through the 1950s, it was largely abandoned after the inaugural season of 1923. Owing to the excellence of its construction, the track remains intact even after 80 years of disuse.
In 1922 Frick Amangue founded Autodromo Nacional, S.A to oversee the construction of a new concrete oval for auto and motorcycle racing. The architects were Jaume Mestres (track) and Josep Maria Martino (facilities). It was completed in 300 days at a cost of 4 million pesetas. The track had a length of 2 kilometers and banking in the corners of 60 degrees.
Walking on this track is simply overwhelming. It is difficult to calculate the scale of it until you walk the grounds. So much that it wasn't until we were leaving that we noticed all of the no trespassing signs (altho truth be told, we did speak to a woman there who allowed us to enter the grounds).
It's a bit sad really because this magnificent structure didn't last long as intended.
After the opening meeting was held on October 28, 1923 for 2-litre GP cars, and won by Albert Divo in a Sunbeam, unpaid construction overruns caused the builders to seize the gate receipts, leaving the organizers with no money to pay the drivers. As a result, the track was forbidden to host international races again.
Drivers also complained about the entry and exit from the bankings claiming the transition from straight to banking and back again was poorly designed. Catalunyan Automobile Club and the Penya Rhin continued to hold races in 1925 with little success.
It was sold to Edgard de Morawitz in the 1930s. The last known race held on the oval was in the 1950s. The track and surrounding land is currently an operating chicken farm. Because of the high quality of construction, the track and buildings still stand more than 80 years later and are in excellent condition, specially after a rather large clean-up tat occurred a few years ago.
We are told that the current owner is Marcel Ricart who lives in Barcelona and in the structure on the track but recently spends more time at Terramar. The nearby city of Sitges has declared the site as a local landmark, and the family is currently proposing a renovation with the creation of "L'Autodrom Resort".
We met with Salvador Mora i Lluma, who is related to the family and is tasked with the effort of turning this dream into reality. On some of the very old photos, his father Domingo Mora i Lluma can be seen racing on this very track. This is a partial explanation for Salvador's incredible enthusiasm for this renovation project but you can immediately see in his face after just a few minutes talking to him that he is truly in love with the track and automotive related sports events and welcomes any interest in this venture.
His goal is to turn this landmark in Spain into a useable venue for all. It is the only remaining track in the world in its original condition and with portions of the track at a 90 degree bank, including many of the structures on the site that were used by Bugatti and Hispano-Suiza. There is even a small area on the track that, purely by accident, contains tire treads from Dunlop, Michelin and Firestone (to name a few) of the time when the desire to drive overtook the need to permit the cement to dry.
The building that was the clubhouse, and is now the home of Marcel Ricart is from the 17th Century and was built next to a watch-tower from the 15th Century (and joined by a drawbridge) when used to defend the land from invaders.
Hopefully, someday soon, this very impressive jewel in Spain can be restored and serve the people of the world as Salvador wants. It would make an ideal museum and classic car showcase and can bring back the racing spirit still deep in the soil here.
(source: L' Autrodrom De Terramar)
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