1967 French Grand Prix

Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France

Sunday, July 2, 1967
Round:
5
Weather:
Warm, dry and sunny
Laps:
80
Pole position:
Fastest Lap:
Hill, 1m36.7
Country:
France
Circuit:
1967 season:
Report

A Comedy

Le Mans, France, July 2nd.
It was the Automobile Club of France who started Grand Prix racing in 1906 and set the standard for this form of competition to be the pinnacle of driving and racing-car construction. The Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France has always been held in high esteem and has provided some memorable moments of Grand Prix history, though occasionally it has lapsed slightly, like all races with a long and varied history. This year the Grand Prix de l'A.C.F. not only lapsed, it stumbled and fell. Great friends with the A.C. of France are the members of the Automobile Club of the West, who own and run the Le Mans 24-hour race, and last year they started a racing driving school on a 4.422-kilometre circuit they built in the pits and car park area of the famous Circuit of the Sarthe and called it the Bugatti Circuit, in memory of the famous car manufacturer. This circuit uses the pits and start area of the 24-hour circuit, runs round the right-hand climb, under the Dunlop bridge and down to the Esses, whereupon, instead of heading off for Tertre-Rouge it hairpins right into the vast car park, does two more hairpins joined by short straights, crosses over into another car park where it does an artificial ess-bend, and rejoins the main pit area with a very slow right-hander. The well-surfaced road is lined with sand, like everything at Le Mans, and the corners are marked by old tyres sunk into the ground. A driving school circuit maybe, but not a Grand Prix circuit by European standards, or even by British standards, yet the Le Mans club persuaded the A.C.F. to hold their famous Grand Prix on the Bugatti circuit, when Reims, Rouen and Clermont-Ferrand are available. Had the proposition been to hold it on the big circuit of the Sarthe, the famous 24-hour circuit, there would have been no objections, but before it took place the famous French Grand Prix was being dubbed "The Grand Prix of the Car Parks." As if in sympathy the entry dwindled before practice began and nearly died before the race finished.

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