In 1938, a large plot of land in São Paulo was purchased by two local property developers who intended to build a large housing development. It soon became clear, however, that one part of the land was not suitable for housing, so it was decided that a racing circuit, Interlagos, should be built instead.
When local hero Emerson Fittipaldi began to enjoy racing success in the 1970s, demand for a Brazilian Grand Prix grew. In 1971 and 1972 Interlagos hosted non-championship events, before staging its first Formula One World Championship round in 1973. The track became a lucky charm for a host of local drivers in the 1970s, including José Carlos Pace, whose first and only Grand Prix victory came here at his home race. Following his death, the circuit was renamed in his honour.
The Brazilian Grand Prix moved to Rio for a single year in 1978 and for an extended period beginning in 1981. However, when a $15m redevelopment programme was agreed for Interlagos, the race switched back to São Paulo in 1990 where it has remained ever since.