Mantorp Park is one of Sweden's most developed motorsport facilities, built with finance from BP Sweden as a permanent road course and a drag strip.
While it's absolute heyday was in the 1970s and 1980s, when it hosted the European Formula 2 Championship, it remains a well-used facility for motorsport and driver training.
Today the headline events are the annual visit of the STCC TCR Scandinavia, Porsche Carrera Cup Scandinavia and the hugely popular Gatebil weekends, northern Europe's largest track-day event featuring Time Attack and drifting competitions.
Opened in 1969 when Swedish stars like Ronnie Peterson and Gunnar Nilsson were in their ascendancy, it had all the ingredients of success. Located on the E4 motorway between Linköping and Jonköping in Ostergotland, large crowds were always likely to be drawn in. The 2.546 miles / 4.098 km course was designed by Lars Olof Larsson with design input from Joakim Bonnier and featured a long main straight which also doubled as a drag strip. Fairly flat in elevation, it nonetheless had a good collection of corners.
International racing came in 1971, with a popular home victory for Ronnie Peterson in the European F2 race. Formula 2 continued until 1974, when the championship transferred the Swedish leg to Karlskoga. In its place, Mantorp held a round of the European Touring Car Championship, won by Dieter Glemser and Jochen Mass. The following year saw the debut of European Formula 3, with local ace Conny Anderson taking pole, only for Gianfranco Brancatelli to take the victory.
Thereafter financial difficulties meant the circuit went into virtual closure for the rest of the decade, with only occasional testing to keep it alive. By the start of the 1980s, however, the rise of Swedish drivers such as Eje Elge and Stefan Johannson meant funds for a revamp and relaunch of the circuit were more available. The diggers moved in and by 1981 the revised circuit emerged. Two new short courses were created, while a new section by passing the Rome Curve at the top of the circuit was introduced, reducing the lap distance to 1.942 miles / 3.125km. A chicane was added to slow speeds onto the drag strip straight following a fatal accident in the 1970s.
The European Formula 2 series was enticed back by the changes for 1981. Again, events got off to a good start with a win for home hero Stefan Johansson. There was no such luck the following year when Johnny Cecotto triumphed for the works March squad. Disaster struck Swedes Johansson and Eje Elgh early on, while Jonathan Palmer's Ralt flipped, trapping the unconscious Englishman for an age when the roll hoop broke. Formula 2 was never to return.
Club racing proved to be the mainstay in the intervening years, before the emergence of the Swedish Touring Car Championship (now STCC TCR Scandinavia) saw the circuit undergo a mini-revival. Alongside the STCC comes a strong calendar of events, including drifting, a GT endurance event and a meeting for historic racers.