Rio track faces major changes

The former home of the Brazilian Grand Prix - Rio de Janeiro's Jarcarepagua track - is to be truncated and partly demolished to make way for a new sports complex that will host the 2007 Pan-American Grames

Rio track faces major changes

The construction of a velodrome, swimming complex, stadium and hotel on the site will lead to the current 3.08-mile road course being cut to just 1.67 miles in length. Half the corners and half the length of the main straight will be removed in the course of the redevelopment, which has been instigated by Rio mayor Cesar Maia - who claims he has discussed the move with Formula 1 chief Bernie Ecclestone. F1 circuit specialist Hermann Tilke is reportedly involved in the design of the revised layout.

Brazilian motorsport federation president Paulo Scaglione is threatened Maia with a legal challenge however, claiming that bylaws - including one that obliges international racing to be held at the venue and for the FIA and FIM to be consulted over track alterations - will be contravened by the redevelopment. Another potential obstacle is the existence of a shanty town just outside the circuit that would have to be removed, and its inhabitants rehoused, before Maia's plans can go ahead.

F1 first visited Rio in 1978, before the Brazilian GP took up residence at the Jacarepagua circuit from 1981 to 1989, after which the event returned to its original venue at Interlagos. A quirky 'oval' was then constructed using much of the GP course, attracting the Champ Car World Series to Rio from 1996 to 2000. The circuit still sees top class two-wheeled motorsport as it hosts a round of the Moto GP motorcycling championship.

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