Circuito Guadix (officially known as the Circuito Mike G Guadix), nestling in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada near Granada, Spain, is a something of a hidden delight to all bar locals and the motorsport industry. Primarily a test track, it has become a popular and challenging test facility for numerous teams, particularly those involved in bike racing.
Under British management since 2006, the circuit has flourished, seeing year-round activity and turning it into one of the most popular international professional test and product launch facilities in Europe.
It's remote location means testing can take place in relative secrecy, while the lack of noise restrictions means vehicles can run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The circuit opened in 2002 under the helm of the Arroyo brothers. The inaugural event was the Andalucian Speed Championship on June 3, 2002, with British Superbike ace Niall MacKenzie guest of honour at the event. From the outset its advantages for testing were clear; the warm climate and privacy of the circuit were big positives, as were the lack of noise restrictions, which even allowed unlimited 24 hour running.
Within a few years a new section of track was added at the beginning of the circuit to provide an alternative route, expanding the usefulness of the track. Arguably the track did not really hit its stride until 2006, when the Arroyos and other investors were bought out by British amateur racer and motor trader Clive Greenhalgh. Under Clive's helm the track has gone from strength to strength, with track bookings exceeding 200 days a year, mostly from professional teams testing during the week and car or motorcycle clients track days at weekends. Nissan, Aston Martin and Peugeot have all used the track for Le Mans night simulation running.
In 2008 the circuit was redesigned and resurfaced, using special medium abrasion tarmac and the latest laser controlled tarmac laying equipment. Crushed stone had to be imported for the track surface, as the local flint was too abrasive and caused difficulties for engineers searching for setups that would work well elsewhere. Then in 2011, further safety upgrades were carried out to allow the certification of the circuit to be run in either direction, thereby adding a further two layout variants.
Guadix holds an interesting footnote in history as the venue for Lewis Hamilton's first ever run in a Formula Renault race car as he evaluated the move up from karting. Other world champions to have lapped the track include Alain Prost, while testing a Renault Clio RS Turbo, and Michael Schumacher who was privately testing his Honda superbike in 2013. The outright lap record is held by Leon Haslam on a Honda World Superbike at 1m 12.4s.
Clive had originally intended to hand over the reigns to his son, sometime GT racer Mike, who was also an instructor at the circuit. Sadly, Mike died in a house fire in 2011 and the circuit is now known officially as the 'Circuito Mike G Guadix' in his memory.
Entering into semi-retirement, Clive took a step backward from the day-to-day running of the track in 2020, appointing daughter Natasha as circuit director alongside David Olivar. She also co-ordinates the Formula Racing Academy which is based at the circuit and provides tutorial for aspiring racers in Formula 3 and Formula 4 machinery.