In a leafy district of Curitiba back in the spring of 2011, on the first floor of an upmarket restaurant, conversation at a World Touring Car Championship media dinner turned to venues the series might consider for its calendar.
Marcello Lotti, then WTCC promoter, provoked incredulous glances between attendees by mentioning that two-lap races on the hair-raising Nurburgring Nordschleife had been investigated. Preposterous, surely? From his position at the head of the table, the charismatic Italian clearly enjoyed watching the startled reactions, before going on to explain why such a race was unlikely to happen.
Sharing a taxi with colleagues back to our hotel, consensus formed that we had been party to Marcello in mischievous mood. Think about it, the WTCC, whose TV-friendly sprint races at the time lasted little longer than 15 minutes, on the Nordschleife? No, as Lotti had suggested, the stumbling blocks would be insurmountable.