ascari-high

culture

One lap of Ascari: Driving the Ascari Race Resort in the 2016 Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe

Nestled in the mountains at Ronda, just a stone’s throw from the Iberian coastline, the 5.4-kilometre Circuito Ascari – or the Ascari Circuit – is not merely Spain’s longest track. Instead, it’s a veritable resort-style theme park for petrolheads. A popular venue for European car launches thanks to the sun-kissed local climate, we recently took to its challenging curves at the recent Mercedes-AMG C63 S Coupe launch.

What’s to like? For one thing, it bursts with character. With a whopping 26 corners – some 2.2km of curves in total– it’s more technical and challenging than your average circuit, offering a natural ‘balance’ of sorts of dividing its curves neatly between (13) left and right directions.

What Ascari is most renown for, though, is that it incorporates many of the world’s finest race track corners into its design (which can reconfigured into three smaller circuits). Brands Hatch, Daytona, Nurburgring, Silverstone, Spa, Australia’s own Mount Panorama and more all inspire one section of the track or another.

However, cramming this best-of design into Ascari’s narrow 12.2-metre width comes with some concessions. Some corners are nearly unrecognisable from their inspirations from behind the wheel, but this doesn’t distract much from the enjoyment. The upshot is a mash-up presenting 10-degree descents, an 18-degree on-camber sweeper, blind crests, unsettling concrete kerbs and an inimitable, thoroughly enjoyable character all of its own.

As a playground for the rich and infamous, the Ascari Club offers a number of membership programs that access the resorts Driving Academy, special events, exhaustive garage of race-prepared cars and facilities that include off-road buggy, 4x4 and go-karting tracks. Seasonal membership for a three-year minimum starts at (gulp) £27,000 (approximately $AU55,000).

Thankfully, Ascari offers a variety of drive day programs for those more fiscally challenged.

- shares