Report - Reims F1 Circuit, France - August 08

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28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
The old F1 circuit near Reims is about 2 hours South of Calais, and was last used for an F1 race in 1972. It hosted 14 French Grands Prix.
As most of the course was on public roads the circuit, the pits and grandstands were left pending being used again. But apart from the occassional amateur meet the circuit has been silent for over 30 years.

I called in to see what remained and the atmosphere was amazing. I could really imagine Fangio, Sterling Moss and the rest thundering past the grandstand I sat and had my lunch in. The locals have partially repainted some of the site, which I have mixed feelings about. There's no structural restoration, just touching up the original paint work.

Some history from Wikipedia

Reims-Gueux was first established in 1926 on the public roads between the small French villages of Thillois and Gueux. The circuit had two very long straights between the towns, and teams strove to maximize straight-line speed of their cars; many slipstream battles ensued. Race organizers actually felled trees and demolished old houses in order to make the circuit even quicker. In 1952, the circuit was significantly altered to bypass the village of Gueux, and many people now refer to the course as simply Reims.

Its first event was the Grand Prix de la Marne, staged by the Automobile Club of Champagne. International racing came soon thereafter, with the first official Formula One event occurring in 1950, the inaugural year of the Formula One world championship. The circuit was last used by Formula One in 1966, and it closed permanently in 1972 due to financial difficulties.

In 1997, there was to be a historic race held there, but for technical reasons, it was cancelled several months before it was due to take place and in 2002, the bulldozers arrived to demolish some portions of the track. Sections of the track around the pit lanes are still visible today.

List of who won here:

1966 July 3 Jack Brabham Brabham-Repco
1963 June 30 Jim Clark Lotus-Climax
1961 July 2 Giancarlo Baghetti Ferrari
1960 July 3 Jack Brabham Cooper-Climax
1959 July 5 Tony Brooks Ferrari
1958 July 6 Mike Hawthorn Ferrari
1956 July 1 Peter Collins Ferrari
1954 July 4 Juan Manuel Fangio Mercedes
1953 July 5 Mike Hawthorn Ferrari
1951 July 1 Juan Manuel Fangio Alfa Romeo
1950 July 2 Juan Manuel Fangio Alfa Romeo
And now the pictures - all with a camera phone so some of the best angles were spoilt but here the best of the rest.

First a shot of the grandstands and pits at some time in the 50s, they've hardly changed today

Standing in the 3rd floor commentary position viewing the main straight and grandstand opposite - where I'm standing and the grandstand are clearly visible in the old photo above

And the view from opposite

The bare inside of the box

and the dodgy steps I used to reach it!

The subway under the main straight is now redundant on what is just a quiet country road


This is the only recognisable bit of the large building from the old photo at the bottom. Its very derelict but this sign remains

Inside viewing the roof of the grandstand

My bike waits in the pit lane

Finanally a lap of the old circuit back in the day someone has put on Youtube, skip to 1:57 to actually see the buildings in my report