Albacete was at the forefront of Spain's circuit building boom, fuelled by the nation's huge interest in motorcycle racing. As the fourth permanent circuit constructed in Spain, the track rose to prominence as host of the World Superbike Championships from 1992 to 1999 and the FIM Endurance World Championships between 2003 and 2011.
The circuit is publicly-owned and managed through the Albacete Circuit Consortium.
Today the track continues to carve out a useful niche as a venue for domestic racing and testing, following a slight reconfiguration and refurbishment in 2015.
The city of Albacete had a long association with motorcycle racing, stretching back to well before the current circuit was conceived. Before the Spanish Civil War, races were held on a variety of dirt and street courses, some of which were particularly rough. After the war, the racing really took off, becoming a regular fixture in the sports program of the annual Fair Albacete, dominated by riders on Norton and Velocette bikes.
In the 1940s and '50s sidecar racing became a feature, when racing switched first to a course laid out on the old city bypass and then to the roadways of a park. Into the 1960s, the Spanish motorcycle manufacturers came to the fore, fuelling interest even more. Riders on Montesa, Bultaco and Ossa machines came to the fore in the September meetings, making legends of riders such as Busquets, Herrero and the unforgettable Ramón Torras.
Racing continued on the park roads until 1968 when it was finally judged too dangerous. After a slight hiatus, racing resumed on a new course around the Polígono Campollano industrial estate, continuing into the 1980s.
Seeking to put things on a more permanent basis, the local municipality began looking at proposals for a purpose-built circuit at the end of the decade. With plans approved, construction took place during 1990, with the finished circuit ready for action in September. The 2.2-mile course was designed with motorcycles in mind, being relatively flat and with constant radius turns. The course could also be divided into two further short layouts which could be run simultaneously, though in reality these were seldom used. In truth, the layout is compact and technical and, for the four-wheel brigade at least, a little on the slow side, unlikely to set too many pulses racing.
Nevertheless, it soon gained ground as a venue for national racing, including the popular Spanish CEV Championship and for Formula 3 and GT racing. International audiences were introduced to Albacete in 1992, when the circuit was chosen as the host for the opening round of the World Superbike Championship. Albacete would be a staple of the WSBK calendar until 1999, witnessing victories for riders such as Carl Fogarty, Aaron Slight, Raymond Roche, Troy Corser, John Kocinski and Pierfrancesco Chili.
That same year the circuit hosted a round the FIA International F3000 series, though the race was a largely forgettable affair, with Andrea Montermini taking an eventual victory. F3000 departed never to return. Albacete then became a host of a six-hour endurance race from 2003 to 2011, featured as a round of the FIM World Endurance Championships. From 2005 to 2011, the circuit was also host to the thundering FIA European Truck Racing Championship.
An unusual installation was made inside Turn 1 at the start of the decade. Mounted on a concrete plinth as if in flight, the Dassault Mirage F1 jet was a staple part of the Spanish Air Force until recently, with this particular example based at the Albacete Los Llanos airfield during its service. Anyone who has witnessed a Mirage in flight will tell you it is one of the noisiest aircraft around – it would easily drown out the sound from just about any racing car you wish to mention!
In July 2014, circuit bosses announced plans for a €1.1 million refurbishment of the course during the off-season. This involved changes to the first and final sectors of the course, in order to comply with the latest safety regulations. In addition, the entire circuit was resurfaced and the pit garages expanded – a move which teams had been requesting for a number of years. The investment was said to be crucial to sustaining the long-term future of the circuit. The changes brought the circuit length up to 2.206 miles / 3.550km, though resulted in a slightly quicker lap average. The two short course variants have been discontinued, having been bypassed by the revised course.