If you know anything about motor racing then you have probably heard about the famous Le Mans 24 Hours in France. A yearly race where each car-team will race for the whole 24 hour period around a track in Le Mans. Part racing track and part public road it is actually possible to drive around half of the track during the year (except for the few weeks around when the race is on obviously). We did just that while we were in France over the summer but that wasn’t the motor racing highlight of the trip.
Unknown to many, there is a little part of the Reims-Gueux motor racing circuit that still exists. You drive along in the direction of where it is and then suddenly out of now where the old stands and pit lane pops up. Surrounding it are fields and fields of agriculture and it seems like the strangest place to find a race track. You’re probably thinking what are you tell me this, what do I care about some silly old motor racing circuit. That was my exact response before we went, did I really need to go and see this old racing track that I had no interest in…
And then we arrived, I was greeted with this view and instantly realised why I needed to come here (thanks to the boyfriend for knowing I’d love this place). Not only is the pit lane and surrounding stands still in place but so is all of the branding which would have sponsored the race in those days. The whole place is awash with colour and old school graphic designs. Some companies are recognisable now where as others don’t exist any more.
The branding has been kept bright and very well intact as well as a white and red line being painted along the side of the pit lane. Someone must maintain these remains, they would never look like this all those years later otherwise. Not that I’m complaining, on such a sunny day everything was positively glowing and it looked fantastic.
And someone is: 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.
As you arrive at this motor racing circuit you are greeted with an unmistakeable sign reminding you where you are despite being surrounded by hay bails. Even these signs look like they have been re-painted recently. We were certainly not the only people fascinated by this piece of history, many other cars and bikes stopped to take some pictures in the time we were there.
I stayed on the main road snapping pictures and videos for a while and then realised I’d lost the others. It is quite a small place, I shouldn’t have been able to lose them but it turns out they’d chosen to ignore the no entry signs and wander around the back. In true sheep fashion I followed and decided we could all get in trouble together. Thankfully nobody did come and tell us off – I shouldn’t condemn breaking the rules but it was totally worth it.
We explored the main building which was an empty shell and really felt quite erie, getting away from the road and exploring the quite of this place really made me think about the history here. How and why is this little part of the track being preserved so well? I mean I wasn’t complaining, it is a photographers dream being here. Still I can’t imagine it would be in such good condition without a little help.
This little step back in history wasn’t hard to find, however, I would imagine you could only get here by car or possibly a taxi. There are no signs to get here or information about what this place used to be, I would advise doing some research beforehand – especially on how to find it. It really was a photographers dream and I couldn’t stop taking photos the whole time we were there. It is something very different to the typical wineries of this area and you certainly wouldn’t find this without some prior knowledge about it.
How to find the Reims-Gueux old motor racing circuit
Have you been here before? What did you think is historical motor racing circuit?