Motor ValleyMotor Valley

The legendary Imola race circuit

by /// August 31, 2021
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes



Among the gentle slopes of Bologna hills, it runs the race track of the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Imola Race Circuit.
An asphalt strip that, thanks to its fame and history, has become legendary for fans of motor racing competitions all over the world and becoming a cornerstone of Emilia-Romagna’s MotorValley.


Imola Race Circuit

Italian Gp, 1970 – Jackie Ickx a the Start – Ph. Wikipedia

In 1950 four Imola-based motor racing enthusiasts (Alfredo Campagnoli, Graziano Golinelli, Ugo Montevecchi, and Gualtiero Vighi) finally realized the dream of building a stable circuit close to the city of Imola. The area chosen at the time was the one enclosed between the right bank of the Santerno river, the Acque Minerali’s Park, and the first hills, given the presence of some country roads and the special shape of the land.
The story still tells us that the owners called Enzo Ferrari and the Maserati brothers to express an opinion on the brand new circuit and that they were thrilled to have such a circuit close to their factories – Ferrari even called it “Our small Italian Nurburgring“.
On March 22, 1950, the foundation stone of the yard was laid, but the works proceeded slowly and the inauguration took place only in October 1952. The first car that had the honor to shoot on the new Imola Race track was a Ferrari 340 sport sent on specifically by Enzo Ferrari, and from that moment on, Imola became synonymous with motor racing.
The Formula1 GP arrives for the first time in ’63 with an untitled race, won by Jim Clark with the Lotus: a day of celebration that was however ruined by the absence of Ferrari. In 1965 the track began to take the form of a real racetrack with the construction of the grandstand on the final straight. The circuit was dedicated to Dino, the son of Enzo Ferrari who passed away, and towards the end of the seventies, he became a permanent circuit.
The Formula 1 World Championship arrived finally on September 14, 1980, first with the name of GP of Italy, one year after with the name of San Marino GP; it will remain there for 26 seasons, making the fortunes of young drivers and marking also the history of Formula 1.

Imola Race Circuit

San Marino GP, 1989 – Alain Prost & Ayrton Senna fighting for the win at Tosa – Ph. Wikipedia

To mark the history of the circuit also some incidents that still remain in Formula1 history. In 1989, on April 23rd, the Ferrari number 28 of Gerhard Berger goes straight to the Tamburello and crashes at over 280 kilometers per hour. Immediately it is enveloped by flames, but in a matter of seconds (14.98) the men of the security services saved the Austrian pilot. It goes much worse in 1994 during the weekend between April 30th and May 1st: when Roland Ratzenberger and Ayrton Senna lost their lives. Following the two fatal accidents, the track was largely modified and the Tamburello and Villeneuve curves disappear, replaced by two variants.
After the loss of Formula 1, followed by that of the MotoGP dating back to 1999, the Imola Race Circuit was largely modernized for the first time in 2006, with the construction of the structure of 32 boxes, the 50,000-square-meter paddock, and the realization of the multimedia project concerning the Checco Costa Museum.
Since 2009, the Enzo and Dino Ferrari circuit in Imola is also a regular leg for the SBK World Championship.

The Imola Race Circuit

Imola Race Circuit

Map – Ph- Imola Circuit

The Enzo e Dino Ferrari International Imola Race Circuit is universally recognized as a technical track that requires a professional profile to be tackled at high rates.
The track, which follows a counterclockwise direction, presents a layout for both cars and motorcycles and has a length between 4,909 and 4,936 meters, depending on the configurations. In August 2011, the circuit was also the subject of the resurfacing work on the road surface, an operation that involved 70% of the track.

Imola race circuit

Imola Circuit Open for Pedestrians – Ph. Imola Race Circuit

During the year, the Imola Race Circuit hosts plenty of motoring events and provides the opportunity to participate in Free Practice Days for cars and motorcycles through registration on the official website.
Among the many other activities of the Circuit, we point out the presence of the Checco Costa Museum, which hosts exhibitions and events on the history of motoring and the Open Days, special days in which the circuit is open to pedestrians and non-powered vehicles.

How to get to the Imola Race Circuit 

The central location in northern Italy makes the Enzo and Dino Ferrari Autodrome particularly convenient to reach by various transport:

By Car:
Highway A14 – Imola exit
After leaving the toll booth, take the signs for the Imola Circuit

By Train:
Imola train station – about 3.5 km from the Circuit entrance.

By Plane
Bologna Airport
Rimini Airport


Walter Manni

Explorer and Adventurer: loves sailing the oceans, climbing the highest mountains and surfing on the waves of the web

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