Autodrom Most became the first permanent motor racing facility in Czechoslavakia (now the Czech Republic) when it opened in 1983, though the history of racing in the local area goes back many decades. With a tendency until recent years to be somewhat overshadowed by Brno, Most has nevertheless carved out a successful business as host for the Czech Truck Grand Prix.
The circuit has been the beneficiary of the difficulties being encountered by Brno in recent years, with several major championships switching to the north western circuit. The ADAC GT Series visited in 2018-19, before the World Superbike Championship announced a five year deal, beginning in 2021. The same year saw the visit of the FIM Endurance World Championship and saw the track was elevated from reserve status to inclusion on the FIA WTCR calendar. It was permanently added to the calendar from 2022 onwards.
The NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, TCR Eastern Europe Trophy, Porsche Sprint Challenge Central Europe and wealth of national motorsport, general testing and driver training rounds out activity at the venue.
The first motorsport in the area came in the aftermath of World War Two, when motorcycle races were organised around a brewery on the edge of the city in 1947. Over the years multiple circuit variations were tried in and around the town, before finally the event settled on a course on the highway near to the town's new railway station in the early 1970s. In 1979 the popular Interserie championship visited the Most street circuit for the first time, German driver Norbert Przybilla winning in a Toj-Ford sportscar.
Even before the first Interserie event it was apparent that rising circuit safety standards would not allow the street course to continue beyond a few years, so plans began to be formulated for a permanent circuit to be built on the opposite side of the city. In 1976, a delegation went to visit circuits in neighbouring Germany, including the Nürburgring and Hockenheimring to gather the necessary knowledge to design their own circuit.
Construction of the circuit proper began in 1978 at the site of the Vrbenský open mine, one of a number of former industrial plots that filled the landscape to the west of the city. Over the next four years, the circuit gradually began to take shape and by 1983 was finally ready to begin operation.
The long and thin 2.6 miles course was swiftly homologated by the FIM and the FIA, allowing for two wheeled competition to begin, alongside potential touring car, Group C and up to Formula 3 single seat races. The Interserie was among the first visitors, although the track soon became a busy testing and driver training course alongside its racing activities.
In 1992, the circuit organised a non-championship truck racing event, attracting star names such as Swedish trio Stig Blomquist, Slim Borgudd and Curt Göransson, Germans Gerd Körber and Axel Hegmann and British driver Steve Parrish. The race proved a success and was the catalyst for the inclusion of the circuit on the following year's FIA European Championship calendar. The Czech Truck Grand Prix has gone from strength to strength ever since.
Refurbishment sees track take off
Despite this success, by 1995 the facility was becoming increasingly worn down and unsafe, to the extent that the FIA and FIM withdrew their circuit licences. A new company was formed to run the facility and it immediately began renovations to bring the circuit up to the latest safety standards. In a record time of five months, new retaining walls were built, 20,000 tons of gravel was moved into place at strategic locations to provide safe run-off and the latest FIA and FIM standard barriers installed. By May of that year, the circuit had regained its homologation from both governing bodies.
The following year a new medical centre and two grandstands overlooking the start/finish straight were built as circuit bosses continued their modernisation drive. The circuit was busier than ever and the Truck Grand Prix continued to attract huge crowds.
In 2001, the circuit was perhaps somewhat surprisingly chosen to host a round of the European Le Mans Series. An offshoot of the popular American Le Mans Series for sports prototypes and GT cars, the ELMS never really captured the imagination of European teams, who had a host of alternative series to focus on already. Grids were consequently very thin, with only 14 cars taking the start at Most. The Audi R8 of Stefan Johannson and Patrick Lemarié ran out as easy winners.
At the end of the 2004 season, circuit authorities began another refurbishment project, which would see further changes to crash barriers as well as a reconfiguration of the first turns. A new, much sharper chicane was installed, necessitating the removal of infrequently used short circuit connecting loop. The chicane, similar to the first chicane at Monza, was considerably slower but did at least allow for a new overtaking opportunity.