- Gareth Evans
- May 3, 2006
50e Grand Prix de l'ACF (June 28, 1964)
As you watch the latest instalment of the great race that is the Grand Prix de France, at the sterile Magny-Cours circuit, you may be forgiven for thinking it’s “just another Grand Prix”. But the illustrious history of this race was built on circuits from another age, circuits which challenged, baffled and taunted the drivers who sought to tame them.
The sheer speed of Reims. The fantastic fast-yet-tight Charade circuit, in Clermont-Ferrand. The fearsome Montlhéry, used in the days before the World Championship’s birth, which featured flat-out straights and an incredible banked section.
But arguably the greatest French circuit of all was Rouen-les-Essarts. A circuit which challenged the world’s best drivers with its unique blend of fast, downhill sweepers tightening to an impossibly slow hairpin, before blasting back to the pit straight through the forest at incredible speed. And all this without such luxuries as run-off areas, sand or gravel traps, tyre barriers, or even Armco for many years.
This series will attempt to fill a gap that deserves to be filled on the internet, a history, in words and pictures, of one of the world's great circuits, from its birth, through its tumultuous heyday of the 50s and 60s, to its slow death during the 70s and 80s, and finally to its closure and destruction in the 90s. It will also provide a look at the circuit now. Although no longer in its entirety, it retains its majesty for those who visit.
Beware that this is a work in progress, so its contents will be added in time.
To contact the author: rouenweb#gmail.com (replace # with @).
- April 13, 2007: 1976 – Flammini wins but Arnoux is the star
- April 13, 2007: 1977 – Rouen claims its final victim
- March 29, 2007: 1968 – End of an era: The tragic final French F1 GP at Rouen
- March 27, 2007: 1974 – The end for Six Frères
- March 26, 2007: 1975 – Leclerc wins as racing returns to the forefront
- March 23, 2007: 1971 – Rouen bounces back
- March 22, 2007: 1972 – Rouen changes forever
- March 21, 2007: 1970 – June 28: Black Saturday
- March 20, 2007: 1978 – Rouen says goodbye to F2 racing
- March 18, 2007: 1965 – Clark proves a class apart
- March 16, 2007: 1968 – End of an era: The tragic final French F1 GP at Rouen
- March 16, 2007: 1969 – A glimpse of the future: F3 takes centre-stage
- March 13, 2007: Great quotes on a great circuit