Charade Circuit


Charade Circuit

Coordinates: 45°44′50″N 3°02′20″E / 45.74722°N 3.03889°E / 45.74722; 3.03889

Charade Circuit/Circuit Louis Rosier/Circuit Clermont-Ferrand
Circuit Clermont Ferrand.png
Location Clermont-Ferrand, Auvergne, France
Time zone GMT +1
Major events French Grand Prix (1965, 1969, 1970, 1972)
Length 8.055 km (5.005 mi)
Turns 48
Lap record 2:53.4, 166.751 km/h (New Zealand Chris Amon, Matra, 1972)

The Charade Circuit (also known as Circuit Louis Rosier and Circuit Clermont-Ferrand) is a motorsport road course in the Auvergne mountains in France near Clermont-Ferrand, the home of Michelin and Patrick Depailler.

Built in 1958 around the sides of an extinct volcano, the originally 8.055 km (5.005-mi) long Charade was described as an even twistier and faster version of the Nürburgring. Some drivers like Jochen Rindt in the 1969 French Grand Prix complained of motion sickness, and wore open face helmets, just in case. But 1970 was no better- Rindt was hit in the face by a rock, something that the circuit was usually littered with, and often caused punctures on the track.

The French Grand Prix motorcycle racing events were held at Charade from 1959 to 1967, and 1972 to 1974.

In 1964, the VI Trophée d'Auvergne Formula 2 race podium was a sign of things to come: Denny Hulme, Jackie Stewart and Jochen Rindt showed their skill before the track hosted the 1965 French Grand Prix.

In 1966 John Frankenheimer made the film Grand Prix in front of 3000 locals who posed as race spectators watching actors like Yves Montand and Françoise Hardy.

In total four Formula One French Grands Prix were held at Charade: 1965, 1969, 1970 and 1972. Due to drivers cutting corners, a stone thrown from Emerson Fittipaldi's Lotus hit Helmut Marko in the eye during the 1972 French Grand Prix, ending his F1 career, as well as the one of the circuit. The stones also had caused ten deflated tyres, but luckily no big crashes. The French Grand Prix moved back to the new Paul Ricard Circuit, where the French Grand Prix was held in 1971.

Formula 3, sports car racing, and touring car racing as when as Rallying and hillclimbing continued there until the 1980s when the original layout was criticized. Due to the layout on the side of a mountain it was not possible to build larger runoff areas, a similar problem as at the old Nürburgring. In 1980, three marshalls were killed[citation needed], and in 1984 the drivers protested. The last race on the 8km track was held on September 18, 1988.

A 3.86 km (2.4-mi) abbreviated version of the circuit is still in operation, hosting races like Formula Three.

It is possible to travel around much of the old circuit using Google Streetview, giving a person some idea of the incredible dangers faced by drivers on these narrow country roads.

Websites


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