In pictures: France’s disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

25 evocative photographs of this living monument to motorsport heritage.

PICTURES BY CHRIS ROWLANDS

Nestled on the outskirts of France’s Champagne capital is a ribbon of asphalt fringed by the fading relics of a bygone racing era.

We took a road-trip detour to explore its abandoned pit buildings and greying grandstands.

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Circuit de Reims-Gueux is a race track situated just outside Reims | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

It hosted its first race in 1926, using public roads | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

With long straights and few corners, it gained a reputation as a very fast circuit | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

The circuit was gradually refined over its lifetime, to accommodate faster cars | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Formula 1 first came to Reims in 1948 | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Grandstands were added to the circuit by the 1940s | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Circuit de Reims-Gueux hosted Grands Prix until 1966 | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Many famous drivers competed at Reims, including Fangio, Moss, Brabham and Clark | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Modern changes – such as the addition of roundabouts – mean the complete circuit is not driveable | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

It is, though, possible to follow the approximate route of the original track | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Reims was also home to endurance racing, including the 12 Hours of Reims | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Circuit de Reims-Gueux closed in 1972 | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Since its closure, the track’s buildings sat disused and forgotten on the outskirts of Reims | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Certain sections of the track buildings have been demolished | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Others relics remain standing along the D27 road | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Now a non-profit organisation is seeking to restore the circuit | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Les Amis du Circuit de Gueux take care of the once-crumbling facilities | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Period signage is gradually being repainted | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Buildings are also being restored to make them safe for visitors | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

In recent years, Reims-Gueux has become a site of pilgrimage for motorsport fans | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

It’s possible to park in the pit lane and climb the control tower | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

The main straight remains largely unchanged from the circuit’s heyday | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Some sections are still awaiting restoration, fenced off to the public | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

With a little imagination, Reims is like a step back in time | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller

In pictures: France's disused Circuit de Reims-Gueux

Few historic tracks remain in such good condition as Reims | © Chris Rowlands / Modern Traveller


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