January 15, 2009

The Little Nürbugring

In its former 5 mile configuration the Charade circuit near Clermont-Ferrand in central France was considered more difficult than the legendary Eifel track. So twisty that drivers complained of motion sickness and, at a time when they had a choice, preferred open face helmets... just in case. Races were held on the "long" track for 30 years, from 1958 to 1988. The track is still in operation but it has been reduced to 2.4 miles. 

Let's go back first to 1970, a year when Lotus made everyone else obsolete with its 72, the fist car to move its radiators to sidepods and sport a ram air overhead intake scoop. The race was won by Jochen Rindt who later became the only posthumous world champion after his accident during practice in Monza (I was there with my father that day, and I'll never forget the site of the his broken car  being flat-bedded back to the pits).
It's a great clip with great drivers, some now almost forgotten like Pedro Rodriguez and Jo Siffert who were both to die the following year.

After the jump you'll find a clip of the Nürburgring and the 1969 German GP. Check out the grid preparations, I wonder if any of the mechanics for Team Mclaren still work there today? 

Finally we go back to Clermont-Ferrand, the 1965 French GP. This is a really cool clip (though with an inexplicable choice of music), Fascinating to anyone interested in GP history. Very cool the apperance of the Honda RA272 with its transversely mounted 1.5 liter, 48 valve V12 which produced what at the time was an amazing 230hp at 13000rpm. 

Take your time and enjoy these clips!   (other videos are HERE)


  1. Great stuff on a very nice blog!
    This is truly amazing, I'd like to se more classic stuff on AOO. I'd piss my pants a little if you came up with a nice video from ol' Montjuic park :)

  2. Isn't it amazing how softly sprung the cars seemed to be even in 1970? I guess it was really the advent of ground effects that dictated cars could not move up and down...

    And what about the people standing between the cars and guard rail during starts!

  3. I wonder if that Brabham BT33 is the same one now owned by Duncan Dayton and raced on the Historic circuit (usually to a win)

  4. We do have some footage from Montjuic!

    Not responsible for the laundry bill! :O)

  5. To AC

    Yeah, super smooth?

  6. Watching old footage of the 'Ring still makes me wonder how Jackie Stewart drove that circuit in the rain with a broken wrist and won by a 4 minute lead.


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