Vallelunga - Modern Race Track With an Archaeological Site
The Vallelunga Circuit (ACI Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi is the venue’s official name) is probably the most modern racing spot in Italy.
Autodromo built at horse racing venue
The circuit is located around 35 km north of the country’s capital Rome and has a long history. In 1951, Vallelunga was opened as a small dirt oval for motorsport events but before that it was the place for the horse races. The first car race was held in November and soon after motorbike races and also the motocross events were held.It instantly became very popular among the locals.
The year of 1957 was probably the turning point for the further development of Vallelunga. The Automobile Club of Rome and the Italian Motorcycle Federation funded the reconstruction and development of the venue. The project was launched by the renowned racing champion and automotive engineer Piero Taruffi. In December, the first official race was held (Esso 6 hours) at a small 1.75 km long circuit.
Opening of the new track
The following year the first Racing School in Italy was opened, led by some famous names like Nino Farina and Luigi Musso. The tiny circuit quickly became too small to meet all demands of growing popularity of the motorsport. In 1961, the decision was made to double the track length. In April of 1963, the new 3.222 long circuit was opened and instantly Vallelunga became an important venue at the national and international level, especially after Formula 1 non-championship race the Grand Prix of Rome.
Development and modernization
In 1967, the Italian Automobile Club became the owner of Vallelunga. Further development of the circuit was done from 1970 to 1971 when the service facilities were reconstructed. New paddock, garages, and grandstand with a capacity of 10.000 were built, Armco barriers were added around the track, as well as the run-off areas, while the driving direction was reversed from counter-clockwise to clockwise direction.
When the works were finished, Vallelunga became a modern racing spot suitable for the top international events including all formula racing categories, as well as the endurance races and motorcycle races. Also, many famous teams and manufacturers of that time chose Vallelunga as a perfect place for testing.
Changeable fortune of the Vallelunga
In the late 1970s, motorbike races took the primacy at Vallelunga but car racing events were still very popular. In the next two decades, Vallelunga was the host of various racing series and every race was well-attended. The sold-out 1999 Ferrari finals deserve a special mention because it turned out to be an amazing spectacle.
Unfortunately, in the early 2000s, the number of spectators declined and many series like ELMS and Formula Renault left Vallelunga. However, that was a signal to the owner that something has to be done. In 2004, development of the circuit has begun. The track was extended to a total length of 4.085 km with 15 turns.
With the new configuration of the track, the FIA approved Vallelunga for Formula 1 testing. The track was especially used for testing during the wintertime by many different categories, like WTCC or Le Mans Series.
Vallelunga is suitable for many motorsport and non-racing activities
Two dirt tracks were also built while the circuit was covered with CCTV cameras. The new office building with 15 large boxes, boardrooms, and a convention room was opened in 2005. The new fully equipped medical center was built, as well as the new race control tower and press office. Finally, Vallelunga circuit became the most modern motorsport venue in Italy.
In 2007, some major competitions were ready to return. Vallelunga hosted the World Superbike Championship races but still waited for some reputable international car racing series. In 2010, another development was done by the opening of Congress Center Vallelunga which made this venue a multi-purpose complex, able to host not only motorsport events but also meetings and training activities.
Vallelunga also offers the Safe Driving Center, Off-road, and Adventure area entertainment, and also has its own hotel and a restaurant. Another important fact is that since 2011 the entire business hub of Vallelunga is powered by solar energy. Vallelunga is also an archeological site. During the 2001 reconstruction, a paved ancient Roman road was found lying by the Cimini curve.
Getting to Vallelunga
The nearest airport is the Rome’s Fiumicino (Leonardo da Vinci), around 50 minutes drive to the south from Vallelunga. The circuit is near the town of Campagnano di Roma, a short distance from the SR2 highway.
The accommodation surely won’t be a problem considering a proximity of Rome but you can go to small hotels in the town or you can go to the Vallelunga Park Hotel at the circuit.
Video – Lap around Vallelunga
Address: Via della Mola Maggiorana, 4/6, 00063 Campagnano di Roma, RM, Italy
Phone: +39 06 901 5501