1973 Brabham’s Carlos Reutemann holds off the BRMs of Jean-Pierre Beltoise (#15) and Niki Lauda (#16) as Ickx tries to keep his Ferrari in the mix.
Photo: Roger Dixon
Montjuic translates from medieval Catalan as “Hill of the Jews,” or an alternative derivation may be from the Latin Mons Jovicus “Hill of Jupiter.” Whatever the origin of its name, this hill that overlooks Barcelona’s harbor has been known as Montjuic for more than a thousand years. Now using the modern Spanish spelling of Montjuich it has for centuries provided the ideal site for fortifications to protect the port below, and has been the scene of battles, imprisonments and executions up to, and including, the Spanish Civil War. The area was selected to stage the 1929 World’s Fair, prompting the first large-scale construction work on the hill, including a full-sized Olympic stadium, transforming the wooded hillside into pleasant parkland.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this geography lesson has nothing at all to do with Grand Prix competition, but you would be wrong, as the Parque Montjuich provided us with one of the greatest circuits of all time. Unlike many of its contemporaries that were built on disused airfields, Montjuich Park clings to the side of the hill from which it takes its name. More a mini-Nürburgring or tree-lined Monaco, Montjuich twists and falls, swoops and climbs throughout its 2.35-mile lap. Starting close to the summit, the track heads uphill and left before suddenly plunging down toward the left-hand hairpin, El Angulo de Miramar. On the approach to El Angulo, travelling at over 150 mph, the cars were invariably airborne as they came over the crest at Rasente. Having landed on the downhill gradient it was then the driver’s job to slow the car enough to make it around the 180-degree corner, a test of man, machine and, particularly, brakes.
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