EVENT:// Angouleme - Circuits des Remparts - Concours dElegance

Its that time of the year again; the third week of September where the city of Angoulême prepares itself to hosts the annual Circuits des Remparts event. Weeks of preparation have seen crash barriers put in place, marquees erected and shop windows decorated with a race theme. Race weekend is here, and the place will again ring to the sound of engines.


History of ‘Circuit des Rempart’.

Since 1937 the track has retained its 1.279 km lap. It remains virtually unchanged since that first meeting, when Raymond Sommer won in his Alfa, ahead of the likes of J.P. Wimille and a young Maurice Trintignant, as well as an Englishman in a K3MG.

Jean Pierre Beltoise - French F1 driver 1966-1975

Jean Pierre Jabouille - French F1 driver 1974-1981

The second world war put an abrupt end to the event, but it was re-established in 1947, when struggles between Bugatti and Delahaye eventually gave way to the likes of lighter Simca, Cisitalia, Frazer Nash and DB Citroen cars, more suited to the tight circuit. Famous names like Ferrari and Maserati also made their presence felt with drivers like Fangio, Gonzales and many more competing.

Following the 1955 Le Mans Tragedy there was no racing in Angoulême from 1955 until 1978. Since then there has been an uninterrupted period of unique street racing in Angoulême, matched only by Monaco and Pau. Today the famous names still show up and return to share in the atmosphere, with Jean Pierre Beltoise and Jean Pierre Jabouille enjoying this year's event.


Concours d'Elegance

Friday is als always the relaxed entry day to the weekend. It sees drivers and teams arriving, booking into hotels, unloading their cars in the paddock and signing on for the races. The Rallye contingent receive their Saturday route instructions, and the press and journalists prepare to record the happenings, cameras notebooks and pencils at the ready. Enthusiast visitors frequent the many cafes and restaurants, soaking up beer, wine and the atmosphere of hundreds of classic cars filtering into the city centre.

Bugatti @ Circuit des Remparts 2011

The weather forecast was mixed, but Friday evening was warm and clear, and saw a wonderful line up of beautifully prepared cars mount the ramp in front of a packed audience in the Champs de Mars, the huge square in the shopping area, for the Concours d'Elegance. Under the ever watchful eye, and cigar of Inspector Colombo (ably played by Yves Lecoq) we were treated to cars like Theophile Schnider, la Licorne, Delage, Sandford, Porsche, Alfa and many others, large and very small. Dressed in the style and period of their cars, it was lights, music and action all the way for owners and vehicles alike. A great way to kick off the Race weekend.

Read all about the Rallye and Races shortly on ClassicCarsMonthly.


Words and photography: Ian Wilson Autograph Racing