The circuit of Reims-Gueux, a reminder of a past era.
This page tells the story of the fast street circuit near the Northern French city of Reims, once the stage of the French Grand Prix. Today, pit building and the grandstands are still along the public road as a motorsport monument and a reminder of a past era...
The circuit of Reims-Gueux was used for the first time in 1926 for the "Grand Prix de Marne". For this event they closed the public road and three roads formed the famous triangle shape.
Later that year the "12 Heures du Reims-Gueux" (12 Hours of Reims Gueux) was held for the very first time. Between 1950 and 1966 the French Grand Prix was held eleven times at Circuit de Reims-Gueux.
The fast triangle shaped circuit contained two long straights and a more twisty part. Originally a part of the circuit was going trough the village of Gueux. Later a new version was used where the circuit turned right just before the village.
The long straights where a test for the engines but the twisty part with some very fast sweeping corners and elevation was a real challenge for the drivers. This combination made the circuit very popular. For his time Reims-Gueux had the best facilities! A big landmark was the huge score-board which could turn so that everybody on the grandstands could see it.
Reims-Gueux was very popular by the drivers and public. In spite of that Formula 1 bosses decided after the 1966 Grand Prix to move the French Grand Prix to another circuit because of the high cost of the organisation at this street circuit. Until 1972 the circuit was used for national races but on June the 11th 1972 the very last race was held there.
The major gave the order to start the demolition from all the circuit facilities immediately after the race! Fortunately for the circuit there where elections that year. A new major came and stopped the demolition! But a part of the pits was already destroyed...
Here you can see that a part of the pits has been demolished!
More than thirty year nothing happened with the site and it was falling into ruins! Project developers already made plans to build villas on the site.
Fortunately a group of enthusiasts founded the foundation "Les amis du Circuit de Gueux" (Friends of the Gueux Circuit) to save the holy ground. The foundation get the guaranty from the current major of Gueux, owner of the site, that no more buildings would be demolished and the permission to restore the existing buildings! They also have ambitious plans to build a museum in the future.
Will this be the future?
© Text & pictures: Herman Liesemeijer. Map: Sylvain Regnier