CIRCUITS: ANDERSTORP

Name: Anderstorp

The early 1970s was an exciting time for Swedish racing with the rise to stardom of Ronnie Peterson and Gunnar Nilsson. Sven SmokeyAsberg dreamed of building a racing circuit in Sweden and purchased a piece of flat marshy land next to an airstrip in the forests of central Sweden, 80 miles from Goteborg and 250 miles from Stockholm. The airstrip served as the long back straight for the circuit while an infield section was built, twisting around itself. Several of the corners were slightly banked and it proved to be very difficult for engineers to find a good set-up for the circuit. This meant that racing was often very close.

Ronnie Peterson had not won a race when the Formula 1 World Championship arrived for the first time at the grandly-named Scandinavian Raceway in 1973 but the Lotus star gave his best and was leading until the late stages of the race when he suffered a slow puncture and Denny Hulme overtook him to win for McLaren. Peterson's first victory came at the following race in France.

A year later Jody Scheckter took his debut victory at Anderstorp, leading home his team-mate Patrick Depailler for a Tyrrell 1-2. The 1975 race saw Carlos Reutemann overtaken in the closing laps of the race by the charging Niki Lauda in his Ferrari while in 1976 Scheckter made F1 history by winning in the new six-wheeler Tyrrell. In 1977 Jacques Laffite surprised the F1 world with a win in the new Ligier while in 1978 there was much controversy as the race marked the one and only victory for Niki Lauda in the Brabham fan car, which was subsequently banned. Later that year both Peterson and Gunnar Nilsson died, Ronnie following an accident at Monza and Gunnar from cancer. The Swedish Grand Prix could not survive without them and Anderstorp faded away. The track was used for national events but was badly run down by 1985 when the European Touring Car Championship visited, Volvo doing well at the time with the extraordinary 240 Turbo. Thomas Lindstrom and Gianfranco Brancatelli won the race. A year later the track hosted one of the most remarkable ETC races of what was a great era when Ulf Granberg beat the Rover of Armin Hahne by only 0.37secs after 500kms of racing. The ETC series returned in 1987 but without Volvo the Anderstorp event faded away.

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