Address: Centro Administrativo da Bahia Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
PH: +55 71 3103 3103
Circuit type: Temporary street course
A race around the streets of the government area of capital of the Bahia state, Salvador's circuit has in recent years been named in honour of Ayrton Senna (a confusingly common occurrence among Brazilian circuits!).
Salvador was the first capital of colonial Brazil and its architecture and culture reflect its European and African heritage. A vibrant arts movement sees many festivals take place here, giving rise to the city's unofficial naming as Brazil's 'capital of happiness'. The largest city on the north-eastern coast and the third largest in Brazil, Salvador was a natural place for race organisers to target.
In 2009, the organisers of Brazil's wildly popular Stock Car series duly obliged, signing a contract with the city to host its first ever street race. Based around the curving roads of the 1970s administrative district (CAB), the circuit features as a backdrop Bahia's Legislative Assembly, Courts of Justice and Department of Tourism, not to mention the highly futuristic exhibition centre which appears to be balanced in mid-air like an incomplete suspension bridge.
The first trace took place on August 9, 2009, with Red Bull driver Caca Bueno becoming the first winner of a street race in Stock Car. According to estimates of the Military Police, more than 60 thousand people attended the race, with around 35,000 in the main grandstands. Overall the drivers were reasonably positive about the track layout but found overtaking challenging, so suggested a number of modifications to improve racing and safety.
For the second running in 2010, two chicanes were added – one immediately after the start/finish and another on the return loop. Rains greeted the drivers on race morning, leaving Caca Bueno to splash his way to a second successive victory. Crowds were again enormous, with up to 42,000 seated in the expanded grandstands. Successive years have followed the trend and the race is now the best-attended on the schedule.
The track was renamed 'Circuito Ayrton Senna' in 2010 and a monument to the great Brazilian, created by Bahian artist Bel Borba, was erected inside the course. In 2012, a new contract was signed by the Government, extending the race until at least 2018. Studies have show that the event has proved a boon to the local tourism industry, boosting hotel occupancy by around 15 per cent in what would otherwise be considered the low season.
The Circuito Ayrton Senna is located in the administrative district (Centro Administrativo da Bahia or CAB) in Salvador in Bahia state, Brazil. The nearest airport is Deputado Luís Eduardo Magalhães International Airport, around 15 minutes drive to the north-east, which offers some international flights and connections to all of Brazil's other major airports.
The circuit can be found off the main Avenue Luis Viana, around a 20 minute drive from the centre of Salvador. It should be noted that there is no parking available at the circuit – some provision is made at the technical college and Wet 'n' Wild centres further along the road, but arriving by bus or taxi is generally to be recommended.