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Report - Reims old GP Circuit August 2014

sidibear

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#1
Visited this one over the August Bank Holiday while on our way to the Nurburgring, kind of a wide detour but worth it, especially if your mates are driving an RS6, Nissan GTR and a CL55 AMG.


Motor racing started in 1926 with the second Grand Prix de la Marne, relocating the race from the Circuit de Beine-Nauroy to Reims-Gueux. The original 7.816 km circuit placed the start/finish line on road D27, approximately 1.6 km east of the Gueux village center, where it would remain for the duration of the circuit. Gradual improvements in track width to a few sections including the Garenne-Gueux / Thillois corners prior to the 1932 Grand Prix de France contributed to a new published circuit length of 7.826 km after which the circuit remained essentially the same until 1937.[3][4]

Organizational changes prior to the 1938 GP de France saw extensive widening of the Thillois-Gueux straight. The process was reported to have felled trees and demolished structures to make the circuit yet faster, concluding the Grand Prix era with the 1938-1939 championship editions of the French Grand Prix.[5]

Racing at Reims-Gueux resumed in 1947 with the 16th Grand Prix de Reims, effectively ending the Grand Prix de la Marne series except for a last edition in 1952. 1948 and 1949 saw the first Formula 1 cars at Reims-Gueux for two non-championship rounds. By then temporary grandstands were established fixtures at the Gueux / La Garenne and Thillois corners and after hosting the sixth round of the inaugural 1950 World Drivers' Championship, it became clear that the circuit needed further extensive renovations to comply with the accelerating Formula 1 technology.

For 1952, the track was re-configured to bypass Gueux via the (then) new D26 section, shortening the circuit from 7.826 km to 7.152 km (4.444 mi) after which it was renamed "Circuit de Reims" or commonly referred to simply as "Reims". Improvements continued in preparations for 1953, the inaugural year of the 12 Hours of Reims series, which featured a new D26 track extension from the Virage de la Hovette (Annie Bousquet corner) to a new purpose built intersection with the La Garenne straight (Muizon corner) about 1.2 km west of the previous Gueux / La Garenne junction, resulting in a new preliminary circuit length of 8.372 km (5.187 mi). The last major modifications were before the 1954 season, re-profiling the new Muizon corner from the previous year and the Thillois corner to a larger and faster radius, which established again a shorter and final circuit length of 8.302 km (5.158 mi).

The last year for Formula One at Reims came in 1966, final sports car competitions were held in 1969 and Motorcycle racing continued for another 3 years. In 1972, Reims-Gueux closed permanently due to financial difficulties. There was to be a historic race held in 1997 but it was cancelled for technical reasons several months before it was due to take place and by 2002, the bulldozers arrived to demolish some portions of the track. A few sections of the old circuit are still visible today around the pit lane, at the D26 / D27 round-about and a part of the D26 extension at the Hovette corner to what once was the 1953 Muizon hair-pin (visible on current sat. images).

Today, the old RN31 straight between Muizon and Thillois is a wider, dual carriageway though it does follow the same line as the original 2 lane road of the former circuit. It is still possible to drive a lap around the (more or less) original 1926 version (through the center of Gueux) and the 1952 variant of the circuit, except for the old Garenne -junction which was obliterated as part of the RN31 modernization. It is no longer possible to complete a lap of the circuit used from 1953 onwards as the tarmac between Bretelle Nord and Muizon has been removed. Les Amis du Circuit de Gueux (a non-profit organization) is working to preserve the old pit building, grandstands and other remaining structures of the circuit and actively support historic meetings which use the 1952 Circuit d'Essais

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Great time was had by all, worth a visit if you are a petrol head, sooner or later some nice car will give it beans down the straight, and the noise that echoes through the grandstand gives a small idea of what it was like at race day.
 

Oort

Fear is the little death.
Regular User
#2
Great history, wish it was in the Uk I'd love to have a blat round the track.
 

PopPunkJamie

Irregular User
28DL Full Member
#5
Like the look of this place, certainly something different. I may be heading to the ring again next year and may make a de-tour over here
 

sidibear

28DL Full Member
28DL Full Member
#7
Like the look of this place, certainly something different. I may be heading to the ring again next year and may make a de-tour over here
It added around 120 miles onto the journey but was well worth it. It wasn't planned as a derp, that was just an added bonus. There were two DB9's doing high speed fly bys when we arrived,the police don't really seem to be bothered, as one of our drivers found out as he came past well into three figures as the gendarme drove past in the opposite direction and didn't even look at him !
 

Punk

Irregular Member
Regular User
#9
Good stuff. Nice to see something that stands out away from the norm :thumb
 

dweeb

Super Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
#12
I guess you reach a stage where it's either repaint the signs or loose them for good. I know what you mean though I seem to remember seeing either this or a similar thing with old 'BP' ghost signs, looked very cool.
 

darbians

28DL Regular User
Regular User
#13
I guess you reach a stage where it's either repaint the signs or loose them for good. I know what you mean though I seem to remember seeing either this or a similar thing with old 'BP' ghost signs, looked very cool.
There is or was a small building just out of view on the last image. Sure it had BP signage. Just had a look don't think I got a shot of it tho :/