Fighting chance for Reims

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Locals give track a make-over, but it may be too little too late

After years of neglect, the historic Circuit de Gueux has undergone a partial transformation as local enthusiasts attempt to restore some of its remaining buildings. The circuit’s future is still under threat and it’s hoped that their efforts will at least lead to a stay of execution. The Friends of the Circuit de Gueux, under Gérard Cuif and Mary Roche Whittington, the daughter of Toto Roche, the flamboyant local race official, have restored the BP-liveried race control building, and it’s hoped that the crumbling grandstands will be next.

Moves to reinvigorate the former grand prix venue have not been without problems. Many locals have supported plans to build an industrial estate on the site and there has been no governmental support for the club’s efforts. Cuif reports: “We hope that our work will not go unnoticed. The city is expanding and there has been little interest in the circuit at a local level.

“We hope that there will be a profit in people visiting to admire the circuit and that they can be persuaded into helping us with our plans: every Sunday we’re out there cutting back brambles. We will be running events at the circuit with the local classic car club, and hope that we will be able to host some bigger meetings in the future.”

The track’s first race was in 1926, and its competition history closed in June 1969 with an F3 encounter.

If you would like to volunteer your services, call 00 33 3 26 61 64.

Fact file

French GP winners at Reims

1932 Tazio Nuvolari

1938 Manfred von Brauchitsh

1939 Herman Müller

1948 Jean-Pierre Wimille

1949 Luis Chiron

1950 Juan Fangio

1951 Juan Fangio/Luigi Fagioli

1953 Alberto Ascari

1954 Juan Fangio

1956 Peter Collins

1958 Mike Hawthorn

1959 Tony Brooks

1960 Jack Brabham

1961 Giancarlo Baghetti

1963 Jim Clark

1966 Jack Brabham