Falling for Fast Cars at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya

What does Formula 1 do you? Do you reach for off switch or settle down for top day’s entertainment. Discover how I fell for fast cars at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya.

Formula 1 unites the menfolk of the Cultural Wednesday family.  For me, it held little interest.  All that changed when I visited the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya on a day when Formula 1 cars were being tested.  As you arrive you hear the roar of the cars.  The sound hits you in the solar plexus and fills you with adrenaline.  It was at that moment, before we had even left the car park, that I was converted.  

Our visit started by walking through the paddock, which is not a grass-filled meadow but the area immediately behind the pits where all the racing teams set up camp.  You catch glimpses of the inner workings of a Formula 1 team like these in the Ferrari Camp.

Ferrari F1 Paddock pits

Next stop was the winner’s podium with a bird’s-eye view of the pits.  As we stepped out loud bells rang to warn that a car was heading into the pit lane.  Roar, it was Robert Kubica, one of the reserve drivers for Williams Martini Racing.

Kubica Williams Martini racing coming into Barcelona f1 pits

Regular racegoers get to sit in the vast stand that overlooks the long straight and pits of Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya, those with a bit more cash to splash get to sit in the VIP stand that overlooks a pair of hairpin bends called La Caixa and Banc de Sabadell.  Whilst the cars flash by at unimaginable speeds down the straight, they have to slow to almost zero to get round the sharp bends, showing off the driver’s skill.  Here is Robert Kubica tackling La Caixa.

Kubica Williams Martini Racing F1 cornering La Caixa at Circuit de Barcelona

One of the skills of F1 driving is knowing which tyres to put on when.  Tyres with treads, like those on our four door family saloon, are only used when it rains: the rest of the time, smooth tyres rely on heat to stick to the track.  After only a few laps that smooth surface is blistered.

Close up blistered Formula 1 tyre

I was lucky to visit on a day when cars were whizzing around the track, like the young British driver Jake Dennis making his Formula 1 test day debut.  Whilst the Formula 1 circus only comes to town once a year, there are 15 other motorsport races throughout the year. When the professionals are not showing how it is done, it is possible to drive your own car around the track on a few days each year.  Back in 1932 the circuit was the start and finish point for the Olympic road cycling team time trial, every Tuesday and Thursday evening the venue is thrown open to cyclists so you can pursue your dream of being the next Sir Bradley Wiggins.  For those curious to know what goes on behind the scenes at a motor racing circuit, tours taking in the pits and winners podium are on offer.


  • Guided tours cost €10 adults, €5 children and last 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • Bicircuit (cycling round ) costs €5, every Tuesday and Thursday evening
  • Track Days when you drive your own vehicle €47
  • All tickets need to be booked via Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya website.
  • Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya is half hour drive from Barcelona

Are you a fan of watching the Grand Prix or do you rush for the off switch?

Whilst I was in Catalonia I ate delicious traditional Catalan food and discovered Sant Cugat just outside Barcelona.


I visited the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya as part of a press trip to Costa Barcelona, all views are my own



  1. May 20, 2018 / 12:10 am

    There’s nothing quite like being at a motorsports event – watching on TC gives you the best views but it’s a much more sanitised experience that misses out on the sights, smells and the sheer noise of a live race. We introduced our kids to Silverstone last year on a non-F1 weekend and they loved their day.

    • May 20, 2018 / 12:13 am

      I wasn’t prepared for the physicality of the noise, an amazing experience

  2. May 20, 2018 / 6:38 am

    It’s quite something going behind the scenes at a racing circuit isn’t it? I bet that must have been loud! Never seen a blistered tyre before and the perspective on the second shot you took is awesome.

    • May 20, 2018 / 6:42 am

      You see those F1 trucks trundling along the M25, to see what they transform into is incredible

  3. May 20, 2018 / 6:46 am

    Hi Catherine, the men in my life would go totally bonkers for an experience like this. The noise would be too much for me, it grates on me when they have it on the telly.


  4. Darren Coleshill
    May 20, 2018 / 7:54 am

    This is my idea of a perfect weekend, I love F1 and would love to have visited Barcelona track

    Have a good Sunday and thank you for linking up to #MySundayPhoto

  5. May 20, 2018 / 8:07 am

    Wow, what an experience. I bet there was a little jealousy at home! I’m not keen on F1 but I’d like taking photos, I think. Can’t wait to read more about your trip. #MySundayPhoto

    • May 20, 2018 / 8:29 am

      Fantastic photo opportunities, Tara, although a little tricky with one hand

  6. May 20, 2018 / 10:53 am

    What a fantastic experience. Without all the hype of the huge crowds it must have been great to really focus on the details and learn more about F1. Great shots too!

  7. May 20, 2018 / 11:23 am

    I’ve been fascinated by F1 ever since we went to Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi. It’s such an immense experience and all the hair pin bends have to be navigated with such skill. If I ever go to Barcelona I’ll definitelu visit here!

  8. May 20, 2018 / 8:54 pm

    What a brilliant visit. Reminded me of our trip to Nurburgring a year or so ago, we learnt so much, but you definitely had the best weather where you were! :) #sundayphoto

    • May 21, 2018 / 4:42 pm

      Mybrother went to the Nurburgring years ago on a school trip and loved it

    • May 21, 2018 / 4:40 pm

      I thought it would be just Mr CW and the teens that would enjoy this, but I am hooked!

  9. May 21, 2018 / 1:17 pm

    Never understood the fascination but these are some very cool pictures


  10. May 21, 2018 / 2:57 pm

    Love a bit of formula 1 – have spent many happy hours at silverstone!

    • May 21, 2018 / 6:56 pm

      I went to Silverstone once for the Trade Car Show, will have to visit again for faster cars

  11. May 22, 2018 / 8:43 am

    Would love to try driving my car once around! I’ve only been to one NASCAR race and didn’t even stay long bc the noise was unbearably loud and the smell from the fuel was giving me a headache. And I guess I can only watch cars go round and round in circles only so many times haha #CityTripping

    • May 22, 2018 / 8:45 am

      Maybe a chic pair of ear defenders would be a good accessory for the day!

  12. May 22, 2018 / 1:48 pm

    I can’t say I’m a fan either but on those days I’ve been dragged to Donington Park nearby, I do know what you mean about the noise and how it gets you in the gut. I can see how it could become addictive! #citytripping

  13. May 22, 2018 / 10:03 pm

    I’m going to be paying much more attention after this visit! What a fascinating place!!

  14. May 23, 2018 / 6:51 am

    I’m a fan of Forumla 1 racing so this is right up my street Catherine. I’ve only been to one Grand Prix (Abu Dhabi) so would love to go to more (although a little trickier with little people at the mo). Have driven a Ferrari around Silverstone too (very slowly!) Thanks for linking #citytripping

  15. May 23, 2018 / 8:04 pm

    My husband LOVES F1 and watches all races, practice, and qualifying events for every single race. We have to purchase a special TV package so he can watch. So, while I wouldn’t say I’m a fan exactly, I do know a bit about it. He would love an experience like this! Hopefully we can work out a visit when next in Barcelona! #citytripping

  16. May 23, 2018 / 11:19 pm

    I’m not really into it as a sport but I imagine the experience is electric #citytripping

    • May 23, 2018 / 11:22 pm

      I found the whole visit fascinating

  17. May 24, 2018 / 10:31 pm

    Hmm, I don’t think I’m going to tell the menfolk of my family that I’ve just read this post otherwise we might be on the first plane out to Barcelona!

    • May 25, 2018 / 7:29 am

      A conversion that I didn’t expect,

  18. Clare Thomson
    May 25, 2018 / 6:32 pm

    I am so intrigued to hear how you’ve been converted into a Formula One lover, Catherine – your menfolk must be delighted! I’ve never watched it. Even the noise annoys me so I’d be really interested to see if I could muster up some enthusiasm if I actually saw it. It really does make a difference when you’re at the real thing, I think. Thanks for sharing this on #FarawayFiles

    • May 25, 2018 / 6:33 pm

      It was the noise that put me off most before I visited the Circuit!

  19. May 26, 2018 / 9:12 am

    How cool to get an up close look at the race cars! It’s such an interesting sport and I’m sure visiting you learn so much about it. And how neat that you can take your bike to the track to cycle around?

    • May 26, 2018 / 9:37 am

      I love the idea of cycling round

  20. May 26, 2018 / 6:05 pm

    My husband is a car fanatic, but not big on f1, whereas I’m not big on normal cars but would love to go to a f1 track. This looks like a brilliant day out. x

    • May 26, 2018 / 6:09 pm

      Sounds like the perfect day out for the pair of you!

  21. May 30, 2018 / 6:09 am

    I’ve just showed this to my husband and I am sure we’ll be checking it out when next in Spain. The race is often watched in real time here, which means all hours of the night, and I can’t stand the noise or the glow it emits from the television screen, so often the races are watched in the “other” room. Thanks a lot for sharing on #farawayfiles LOL!

    • May 30, 2018 / 4:14 pm

      I’m not keen on screen glow either but will admit that I watched the Monaco Grand Prix with more interest than usual

  22. May 30, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    I went to a NASCAR event when I was younger, and let’s just say the facilities aren’t nearly as nice as this. Were you there for the GP?

    (sent here by #farawayfiles)

    • May 30, 2018 / 4:12 pm

      Not the GP itself but the testing day just afterwards

  23. May 31, 2018 / 10:40 am

    I’m with you — I had no idea that F1 could be so interesting. I know my husband and stepson would love a visit here and I have a feeling my daughter would get caught up in the excitement like I did.

  24. May 31, 2018 / 10:41 am

    I completely got caught up in the excitement. You don’t have to be a petrolhead to really enjoy a visit here!

  25. January 25, 2019 / 2:34 pm

    I was invited to a F1 event a few years ago and despite not being into motor racing, absolutely loved it. The glitz and glamour of it all won me over. Thanks for linking up to #fearlessfamtrav.

    • January 25, 2019 / 2:38 pm

      So much better than on the TV

  26. January 29, 2019 / 3:22 pm

    I’d love to visit the Circuit de Catalunya but for a different motor event. We’re huge MotoGP fans in our house so it would be awesome to visit there for the annual race to see some of our motorbike heroes in action. #fearlessfamtrav

    • January 29, 2019 / 3:24 pm

      I’ve gone from thinking that all motorsports are a noisy waste of time to wanting to see them all!

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