Londrina's circuit is relatively modern, having been built in the early 1990s and packs a lot of circuit into not a great deal of space.
Yet another Brazilian circuit to be renamed in honour of Ayrton Senna, in recent years the circuit has slipped away from the Stock Car Brasil calendar but remains a fixture of the Copa Truck schedule.
The circuit was first suggested in the late 1980s and plans gathered momentum when the support was gained of the then-mayor, Antônio Belinati. Gathering supporters of the project together in 1989, the mayor sought suggestions for a possible location for the circuit. These were quickly narrowed down until land next to the Estádio do Café football stadium was earmarked for development, primarily due to the existing access roads and the fact that amenities such as parking could be shared.
The next major development was the financial backing of the national Petrobras petroleum company, which agreed to fund a considerable proportion of the costs in return for advertising signage around the new circuit. The members of the local motor racing club were involved in the design of the circuit, with noted driver Carlos Alberto 'Beto' Colli Monteiro responsible for much of the final design.
Construction began in April 1992 and was completed relatively swiftly, with the circuit ready for its inauguration in August. The track was 1.954 miles / 3.145 km in length and essentially consisted of two parallel straights with corner complexes at each end. A fast plunging downhill corner at the western end was the signature feature, with its blind apex leading to a short straight and heavy braking for the final corners back up the hill towards the pits. The pit complex contained with 28 garages, two cafeterias, a media centre and briefing room and a control tower overlooking the whole circuit.
The first event was an endurance race, the 500 miles of Londrina, which has gone on to become a staple of the circuit's racing calendar each year. Soon rounds of Formula Three, Stock Car and Fórmula Truck became established and the track began to quietly flourish.
New name and first circuit revisions
Following the death of Brazilian idol Ayrton Senna in 1994, an ordinance was passed in June the same year, officially changing the name of the track to Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna.
Into its second decade, the narrow confines of the circuit began to throw up issues for some of the premier categories. Overtaking was difficult and the concrete surrounding walls became a little too close for comfort, with run-off sparse in several areas. The Stock Car organisers in particular demanded changes, so in 2004, a new section bypassing the original stadium turn was added. Slower and with greater run-off, this allayed concerns for several years before the organisers dropped Londrina from the schedules for 2009.
Circuit bosses stepped in once again, spending R600,000 on further modifications to the stadium section, widening it and slowing the corner slightly to aid overtaking. At the same time, the apex of the second Esse curve was moved inwards, widening the corner and moving the racing line further away from the retaining concrete wall. Asphalt run-off was also installed at Curvão.
The changes have definitely improved safety but were ultimately not enough to save the Stock Car event. After being restored in 2011 and 2012, Londrina was quietly dropped from the schedule for the 2013 season, only to return in 2015. It then enjoyed a run of several more years, before disappearing again from the schedules in 2021 as a tranche of new circuits were brought in. Nevertheless, it continues to be a reasonably busy facility, with Copa Truck continuing to return and the track often used for testing when no racing action takes place.
- Autódromo Internacional Ayrton Senna, Av. Henrique Mansano, 777 Jardim Alpes, 86075-000, Londrina, Parana, Brazil
- +55 43 3338 5577
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