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The circuit

The original circuit, used from 1951-1954. Length: 5.1kms.

The extended circuit at its classic length, used from 1956-1970. Length: 6.542kms.

Two temporary chicanes are placed at Grésil (A) and Paradis (B). In 1972 the track reverts to a shorter configuration (in red), following the construction of a new Autoroute. Length: 5.543kms. 1973 sees another temporary chicane installed. This is between the first and second corners.

The final configuration. A new permanent chicane installed
at Six Frères. This chicane/corner is renamed Virages des Roches.
Used from 1974-1993.

An aerial view of the area today.

Circuit owners/organisers

Rouen-le-Essarts was built and run by the Racing Club of Normandy. The Club folded soon after the final closure of the track in 1993. This was its logo.

On-board lap

AVI video file (8 MB)

Graham Hill takes his BRM on a lap of 2m15s during practice for the 1962 French Grand Prix.

Grand Prix de Rouen winners 1951-1993

Date Driver Car Category Where Are They Now?
July 8, 1951 Conte Giannino Marzotto (Italy) Ferrari 166F2/50 F2 Looks after the Marzotto group in Italy.
July 6, 1952 (French GP) Alberto Ascari (Italy) Ferrari 500 F1 Killed testing sportscar, Monza, 26 May 1955.
1953 Giuseppe Farina (Italy) Ferrari 500 F1 Killed in road accident on way to French GP at Reims, 30 June 1966
July 11, 1954 Maurice Trintingnant (France) Ferrari 625 F1 Became Mayor of Vergeze. Passed away 13 February, 2005.
1955 Not Held
1956 Eugenio Castellotti (Italy) Ferrari 860 Monza SC Killed in testing, Modena 14 March 1957.
July 7, 1957 (French GP) Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentina) Maserati 250F F1 Roving ambassador for the sport & Mercedes until just a few months before his death. Passed away 17 July 1995.
1958 Jean Behra (France) Porsche RSK SC Killed AVUS Sportscar race, 1 August 1959.
July 12, 1959 Stirling Moss (England) Cooper-Borgward T45 F2 Knighted, still races and ambassador for the sport.
1960 Jack Fairman (England) Aston Martin DBR1 SC Raced for many years. Passed away 7 Feruary 2002.
1961 ‘Lucky’ Casner (USA) Maserati Tipo 61 SC Killed in practice for Le Mans 24 Hours, 1964.
July 8, 1962 (French GP) Dan Gurney (USA) Porsche 804 F1 Runs All American Racers in the U.S.A.
1963 Paul Hawkins (England) Brabham BT2FJ FJ Killed in the Tourist Trophy race at Oulton Park, 29 May 1969.
June 28, 1964 (French GP) Dan Gurney (USA) Brabham-Climax BT7 F1 Runs All American Racers in the U.S.A.
July 11, 1965 Jim Clark (Scotland) Lotus-SCA 35 F2 Killed Hockenheim F2 race, 7 April 1968
July 10, 1966 Denny Hulme (New Zealand) Brabham-Honda BT18 F2 Suffered fatal heart attack during Bathurst 1000, 4 October 1992.
July 9, 1967 Jochen Rindt (Austria) Brabham-Cosworth BT23 F2 Killed in practice for Italian GP, 1970 – 1st Posthumous World Champion.
July 7, 1968 (French GP) Jacky Ickx (Belgium) Ferrari 312 F1 Sportscar legend. Still races occasionally but mainly retired now.
1969 Jean-Pierre Jaussaud (France) Tecno-Novamotor 69 F3 Won 1978 and '80 Le Mans. Still a regular at Goodwood Festival of Speed.
June 28, 1970 Jo Siffert (Switzerland) BMW 270 F2 Killed 1971 Rothmans Victory race, Brands Hatch, 24 October 1971.
June 27, 1971 Ronnie Peterson (Sweden) March-Cosworth 712M F2 Killed startline accident Italian GP Monza, 11 September 1978.
June 25, 1972 Emerson Fittipaldi (Brazil) Lotus-Cosworth BDA 69 F2 Racing in GP Masters Series and runs Brazil A1GP team.
June 24, 1973 Jean-Pierre Jarier (France) March-BMW 732 F2 Still driving, but also has business & corporate interests.
July 30, 1974 Hans Stuck (Germany) March-BMW 742 F2 Racing in GP Masters Series.
June 29, 1975 Michel Leclère (France) March-BMW 752 F2 Raced in F1. Now runs driving school in Paris.
June 27, 1976 Maurizio Flammini (Italy) March-BMW 762 F2 The man behind the World Superbike Championship.
June 26, 1977 Eddie Cheever (USA) Ralt-BMW RT1 F2 Racing in Indy Racing League.
June 18, 1978 Bruno Giacomelli (Italy) March-BMW 782 F2 Occasionally races in Porsche Supercup races.
1979 Not Held
1980 Alain Ferté (France) Martini-Renault MK27 F3 Raced sportscars and saloons. Still races.
1981 Patrick Teillet (France) Martini-Toyota MK34 F3
1982 Pierre Petit (France) Ralt-VW RT3 F3 Raced sportscars and at Onyx.
1983 Michel Ferté (France) Martini-Alfa Romeo MK39 F3 Raced sportscars and saloons. Still races.
1984 Fréderic Delavallade (France) Martini-Alfa Romeo MK42 F3 Raced in F3 throughout the 80s.
1985 Yannick Dalmas (France) Martini-Alfa Romeo MK45 F3 Won Le Mans 4 times, still occasionally races.
1986 Fréderic Delavallade (France) Ralt-VW RT30 F3 Raced in F3 throughout the 80s.

Lap record

Ingo Hoffmann (Ralt RT1 BMW), June 26, 1977: 1m45.05s


Motor racing is inherantly dangerous, and Rouen-les-Essarts did claim the lives of a small number who braved its dangers. Thankfully only 5 died during the 43 years the track was used. This is a small tribute to them.

19 July 1967: Jean-Claude Bernasconi (1942-1967)
Frenchman Jean-Claude Bernasconi was killed during the Coupe Nationale Renault Gordini race held on July 9, 1967. Bernasconi was killed when he lost control of his Gordini at Six Frères. The car rolled several times and the driver was thrown clear. He passed away two weeks later at the Tenon Hospital in Paris. He was just 25 years old.

7 July 1968: Jo Schlesser (1928 - 1968)
Competing in his first Formula 1 GP, 40 year old Swiss driver Jo Schlesser was killed when the engine in his Honda cut out entering Six Frères. The car slid into the bank, rolled over and burst into flames. Despite the best efforts of fire marshals his mainly magnesium constructed car burned fiercely, and Schlesser died at the scene.

28 June 1970: Denis Dayan (1942-1970)
During the blackest day in the circuit's history, two French drivers, both of whom were expected to become Formula 1 stars, were killed in seperate accidents. The first was Denis Dayan, during the French Formula 3 Championship race, the support race for the Grand Prix de Rouen. A Normandy native, Dayan suffered a mechanical or tyre failure entering Six Frères. His Grac went straight on and passed through the new Armco barrier. The car was completely destroyed, and Dayan died from his injuries without regaining consciousness two days later at the Hôtel Dieu in Rouen.

Jean-Luc Salomon
Five laps after Denis Dayan's fatal accident, Rouen claimed another life. According to Jean-Pierre Jaussaud (Techno), who was involved in a big fight for the lead with Jean-Luc Salomon (Martini), Richard Scott (Brabham), Mike Beuttler (Brabham) and Bob Wollek (Martini), he hung back when he realised that the other four were going to try and take la Scierie wheel to wheel, when there was only room for two cars side by side. Salomon slid onto the verge, then hit Scott, and landed upside down in a trackside ditch. He succumbed to massive head injuries at the Hôtel Dieu in Rouen later that day.

23 June 1973: Gerry Birrell (1944-1973)
Scot Gerry Birrell passed away during practice for that year's Grand Prix de Rouen. Trying very hard, Birrell put a tyre on the flinty earth next to the track. In an accident almost exactly the same as Denis Dayan's three years before, his front tyre instantly deflated, and his Chevron went straight on at Six Frères. The Armco once again failed to do its job, lifting up as it was struck, so that Birrell's March passed underneath it, killing him instantly. He was just 28 years old, and on the brink of replacing Jackie Stewart at Tyrrell.

25 June 1977: François Burdet
The final death at Rouen, François Burdet was killed during the French Formula Renault race preceding the Grand Prix de Rouen. Accelerating up the hill between Nouveau Monde and Sanson, his Formula Renault suffered a mechanical failure, which launched it into and over the Armco barriers and into the trees. Burdet died shortly after in hospital.