Nestled in one of the largest walled parks in Europe, the Autodromo Nazionale Monza is one of the truly legendary circuits in motorsport. With a long history dating back to 1922, the circuit is the third oldest in the world, with only Brooklands and Indianapolis Motor Speedway being older.
The track has gone through several different incarnations over the years before largely settling upon its current form in 1955. It took more than 3,500 workers to build the original circuit between May and July 1922, with the project being financed by the Milan Automobile Club.
During the early years of the circuit races took place on a combined lap of the high-speed banked oval and the road course, making a total lap length of around 10 km. The original oval remained in use, in some form or other, until the outbreak of World War II, after which the circuit degraded due to neglect.
In 1954 work began to renew the circuit and a new oval was built, albeit slightly shorter than the previous one. The full circuit, featuring both the oval and the road course, was used in the Italian Grand Prix in 1955, 1956, 1960 and 1961, before its use came to a sudden end following the death of Wolfgang von Trips and fifteen spectators on the combined circuit.
The oval circuit held its last race in 1969 although it remains in place today, in a degraded state, as a reminder of the legendary former circuit.
The road circuit became the main attraction at Monza during the 1960s, and over the past five decades it has been progressively tweaked in an effort to make the racing safer. The most recent change came in 1999 when the first corner was modified in time for the 2000 Grand Prix.
Renowned for its high-speed straights, slipstreaming is of vital importance at Monza. The circuit consists of a series of high-speed straights and turns, punctuated only by chicanes which are designed to reduce the overall speed around the 5.793 kilometre circuit.
The World Touring Car Championship has had an on-off affair with Monza, although the circuit has featured on the calendar nine times up to and including 2017 (including the inaugural season in 1987). No other circuit has featured as many times as part of the WTCC.
The 2017 season will mark the first appearance of the modern day TC1 spec cars on the high speed track. With more aerodynamics than the previous generation S2000 cars, slipstreaming will be of even more significance than ever before, particularly in the battle for pole position.
In terms of successes, Yvan Muller and Rob Huff share the most number of WTCC wins at Monza, with four victories apiece. Of the current crop of drivers, it is only Huff and Norbert Michelisz who have stood on the top step of the podium at the circuit in the WTCC.