Les Nouveaux Remparts
Of the many old-car gatherings in Europe, the Circuit des Remparts of Angouleme must be the most splendidly sited. Built on a rocky peak overlooking the Charente river in central France, the medieval town was scene before and after the War of races attracting the likes of Raymond Sommer, Maurice Trintignant, Jean-Pierre Wimille, and Fangio.
The racing stopped in 1951 when the twisting street circuit was considered too risky, but in 1978 a series of parades around the old track was instituted, which has now grown into one of France’s best-known Classic meetings.
Open to sports-racers and single-seaters, the weekend begins with a “rallye touristique” through the surrounding vinyards, before the Remy Martin concours, the winner of which receives his own weight in cognac. Sunday sees the cars on the track, and the distinction between a parade and a race is often hard to make out. Run through the gardens below the cathedral, the hilly course includes several hairpins and boasts excellent vantage points.
It may only be a reflection of other days, but such events draw ever-increasing crowds and are introducing another generation to the sounds of the past.