At its height during the 1990s boom in motorsport popularity in Mexico, the Trióvalo Internacional de Cajititlán was one of the country's most frequently used facilities, playing host to all of the top categories. Boom eventually turned to bust when harder economic times and a deteriorating track surface led to the circuit's decline and abandonment.
Happily, the track is now being revived once more as a part of the popular Nascar Mexico series.
The track first opened in August 1986 in the Guadalajara Metropolitan Area of Jalisco province. Known initially under the official title of the Autodrómo Internacional de Guadalajara, it was also often commonly known simply as 'Jalisco'. The three-quarter-mile tri-oval was a unique beast at the time in Mexican autosport and as such became much fought-after by the promoters of the major series, keen to capitalise on something different to wow paying spectators. The Marlboro Cup and the Montana Cup both visited, as did the Mexican F3 series during its initial years.
The track features relatively shallow banking and an abrasive track surface, which gave Jalisco a reputation as something of a tyre eater, requiring a good set-up to be consistently fast over any distance. Grandstands and spectator areas afforded views of the whole course, while its accessibility - located next to a major road and three miles from the airport - made for good crowd sizes.
In 1999 the track was renamed the Trióvalo Bernardo Obregón, in memory of the local driver and Corona Cup racer Bernardo Obregón Tamaríz, who died in a crash on a stage of that year's Carrera Panamericana road race.
The tri-oval was the venue for NASCAR Corona Series races from 2004 to 2010, with the tight confines of the turns often the scene of spectacular action. By 2010, however, the track surface was becoming a major issue and its poor condition was causing problems, not least of which were the clouds of dust and debris offline. NASCAR announced it was not returning in 2011 and the track effectively went dormant.
After several years without use, the track surface was rendered completely unusable, while the lack of maintenance had left the land overgrown and litter strewn. The future appeared fairly bleak.
That counted without the intervention of five businessmen from the north of the country, who decided in 2015 to revive the facility and bring back national level racing. After consulting with the locals, the group decided to go ahead and put their own funds into renovations, beginning with a general clear up. Fortunately, the entrance and main building and grandstand was in reasonable condition, though it was clear that the track itself would have to be completely resurfaced.
In around 12 months the work had been completed, with the resurfaced pit lane also now doubling up as an eighth-mile drag strip. Engineers discovered the base layers of the original track surface were laid to a high standard, helping to alleviate some of the costs of the work.
Consultations have also taken place with senior racing figures in Mexico, including Michel Jourdain Sr., veteran racing promoter and current director of the Super Cup Telcel. He suggested adding chicane sections at Turns 1 and 3 to offer up different track possibilities that might be suitable for road racing. Finances have meant that only the Turn 1 section has been constructed so far and the new owners will monitor reaction before implementing additional changes as finances allow.
The work has paid off, with the renamed Trióvalo Internacional de Cajititlán playing host to the Copa Occidente in April, 2017 and receiving Nascar Mexico once again two months later.
- Trióvalo Internacional de Cajititlán, Cajititlán, Jalisco, Mexico
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