Both will ensure you see the best the event has to offer, with its popular Concours d’Elegance, international rally for fans to take part in with their own classic cars, unique atmosphere in the centre of town when the races begin, and selection of fine dining options at the smorgasbord of local restaurants.
But don’t just take our word for it, see what the MG Owners’ Club had to say about its experience in France with us by reading the article in the link below.
The Circuit des Remparts in Angoulême is an event that we have been attending since the late 90’s. It is a firm favourite of ours, if you have yet to experience it, then let us set the scene; picture a beautiful city in an elevated position overlooking the meandering Charente river. Visitors and participants attending the event fill the bars and restaurants which line the streets. The anticipation ahead of the weekend’s events are palpable. The soundtrack is provided by the burble of unsilenced race cars weaving passed the crowds en route to the paddock ready for race day.
In 2019 it was the 80th anniversary of the Circuit des Remparts. The concept for the event was born in 1938 by the local car club and ratified by the mayor of Angouleme. The first race happened in 1939, Some of the most prestigious pilots of the time were entered into the first edition of the Angoulême Circuit des Remparts: Maurice Trintignant, Jean-Pierre Wimille, René Bonnet or Raymond Sommer who won the race and scored the fastest lap with 1 minute 10 second lap at the wheel of his Alfa Romeo 308.
When the Second World War was announced two months after the Circuit des Remparts first edition, the events were suspended from this point for eight years. The second edition of the Angouleme race took place in June 1947.
There is so much history of the race during the period of 1947 and 1955, it is worth reading on www.circuitdesremparts.com/en/history. In 1955 the laws were changing about racing on street circuits. Then the catastrophic accident at Le Mans that year put pay to street racing, for the most part, for years to come.
The event was revived in 1978 although the rules about running timed events restricted what the organisers were able to put in place. The true revival was in 1983, with real racing back on the streets. That year Stirling Moss, John Surtess and Didier Peroni were all guests at the event. In 1990 the Circuit des Remparts adopted the format we know today, with the Concours d’Elegance/d’Etat, the Saturday rally and racing on the Sunday. To this day the circuit layout remains as it did in 1939.
Our 2019 tour started in Portsmouth on a Tuesday evening, for the overnight sailing to Caen. We then travelled down via the d-roads for breakfast in Putanges, followed by a fascinating visit to the chateau that Steve McQueen stayed in during the making of the movie Le Mans. Our first overnight stay was in the charming town of Loué, at a hotel also linked with the movie Le Mans. There was plenty of time to relax, explore and unwind before an excellent dinner.
The sun and sea air welcomed us on day two, as we arrived on the West Coast at les Sables d’Olonne. There was once again plenty of time for a stroll along the sea front ahead of drinks in the bar and dinner. From the coast it was a delightful run under beautiful sunshine into Angouleme. We arrived at our central hotel and parked the cars up in their dedicated spaces for the weekend. Thanks to our early arrival we set out on foot to give our customers (all first timers in Angouleme) a walking tour of the city. With bearings well and truly worked out the group took up position in a central bar to soak up the special atmosphere.
Tour managers Thomas and Richard, both long running supporters of the event found this edition to be the best yet. Commenting that the atmosphere was better than ever with real care and attention paid to the additional anniversary features; from the Exhibition in the Angoulême museum detailing the history of the Circuit des Remparts, through to the images of the drivers that have competed at the event over the year, displayed in the streets.
The International rally was a highlight for many of our guests. They were blown away by the crowds that come out to cheer the participants on as they drove their classics through the Charentais countryside.
On Sunday the paddock came alive as the racers and mechanics prepared themselves and their cars for action. Each grid head out onto the circuit during the morning to set their qualifying times and grid position for their race in the afternoon. The GT category saw Mini’s, Mini Marcos, Alfa Giulia’s and E-Types to name but a few. In the Vintage classes there were numerous Austin 7 specials, Frazer Nash and of course a whole grid of Grand Prix Bugatti’s. The Edwardian cars we something else, dating back to 1902, these thundering beasts looked right at home on the historic street circuit. Last but not least the sight and sound of the 700 brake horsepower Corvette will live with us for some time!
July is upon us. What a first six months of 2019 we have had. We have completed so many motorsport events. There have been successful visits to the USA for Daytona and “Super-Sebring”, we have ventured even further afield for the Bathurst 12 Hours in Australia. Then closer to home we have already visited Spa-Francochamps twice and survived the incredible double header that was the Le Mans 24 Hours followed by the Nurburgring 24 Hours. Just around the corner we have the Spa 24 Hours too followed by the Nurburgring Oldtimer Grand Prix, but beyond that there is still so many motorsport events to look forward to.
For classic motorsport fans we have three great events to attend this September. Each is unique and well worth taking a look at. First up is the Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix. At the time of writing we have just a few hotel rooms left available for this event. Historic racing doesn’t get more picturesque than this with the track winding through the Dutch sand dunes. Certainly, one not to be missed.
Similarly, we have a last few hotel rooms available for the Circuit des Remparts event in Angouleme. The tight street circuit around, the French town’s walls, not only provides a technical challenge for all the drivers, but it provides exceptional views for spectators too. With other activities such as a fun concours & touristic rally, adding to the weekend’s events, Angouleme really is a worthwhile visit.
Rounding out September’s historic racing trilogy is the Spa Six Hours. We describe this weekend of historic racing, as an event organised for drivers, that the public are allowed to gate-crash. Whilst there may be no fair ground, entertainment and off-site events, the Spa Six Hours excels in providing excellent grids with access to all areas for all spectators. If you want to get close to some of your favourite cars from the past, then the Spa Six Hours is perfect for you. Hang out in the garages, wander the paddocks and relax in any grandstand whilst enjoying the on-track action.
We have something special lined up for October. If you have yet to experience a VLN race at the Nurburgring, then this is the way to do it. The VLN is the sister series to the Nurburgring 24 Hours & for the deciding race of the season we have teamed up with professional racing driver & driving coach David Pittard, to provide a unique way to enjoy the race. As well as 4-star hotel accommodation, just minutes from the track, our offer includes race-day hospitality with the Walkenhorst Motorsport team and a guided garage visit with David during the race. Not only that, but as David is driving a BMW in the VLN, we have added the option to add passenger laps around the Nordschleife with David as your driver. This will be as close to racing the famous circuit as most of us will ever get. This is an amazing package and one we think you will really enjoy.
The Daytona circuit needs no introduction. Watching racing around the famous banking has to be on every motorsport fan’s bucket list. The Rolex 24 at Daytona in January is the perfect excuse to fulfil those ambitions. We make things easy for you with a choice of hotels; one adjacent to the track and one overlooking Daytona beach. We can arrange flights from the Uk and car hire if required to enable you to enjoy your time in Florida.
March 2020 sees the return of “Super-Sebring”. This sees not only the traditional 12 Hours of Sebring IMSA race, but also one of the longer rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship in consecutive days. We love the fun atmosphere and relaxed nature of the Sebring circuit and both races provide on-track competition second to none. Our private condos were hugely appreciated by all our guests this year and we had a great crowd enjoy the racing with us. We will be repeating the Super-Sebring experience again in 2020, but places are limited, so we kindly encourage you to book early to avoid disappointment.
In the South-West of France lies this sleepy town on the top of a steep hill. At the end of a late summer’s day, it’s mighty cathedral glows above the hairpin corners that lead into the historic city centre. From up here, on the city walls or “Remparts” in French, one can enjoy the beautiful view over the countryside towards Cognac.
From 1939 something changed in the quiet city of Angoulême. During one weekend a year, the fresh air mixed with a scent of petrol, the bird songs drowned out by growling engine noises and the coaches dragging up the hill made way for a flock of galloping race cars. The “Circuit de Remparts d’Angoulême” was born. Just after the second world war, the event grew very popular. Illustrious racers such as Maurice Trintignant and Juan Manuel Fangio added victories to their already impressive ‘palmares’ here. By 1955, the Formula 1 cars and the circuit became incompatible, the city turned silent again.
In 1978 when the city of Angoulême wanted to resurrect the historic race, it was under nothing less than the personal patronage of Juan Manuel Fangio. This event grew to become an exceptional display of classic car culture during the last couple of decades. Not only on the track, but also throughout the city: from pre-war cars to young timers are to be enjoyed on the circuit, during a Concours d’Elegance on the Friday evening, a touristic rally on the Saturday and interesting classics in just every street across town. These days of the year, the town simply breathes classic cars.
The highlight of the program is that one of the most important yearly concentration of Bugatti’s and pre-war race cars. They gather to fight their dominance on the same course that faced the great pilots in the heyday of the circuit. 2018 saw a grid of 26 Bugatti’s racing along the narrow streets and hairpin turns of the ancient town. So close to the spectators that they could almost touch them. Thanks to Mark Jansen for this account and photography.
This magical event has to be experienced, we believe the atmosphere is unique. We have two tours on offer to the event this year.
For those wishing to drive straight down to the event and spectate can follow this five night itinerary
Those wishing to take a bit more time to travel down via some attractive roads with two overnight stays before arriving at Angoulême can select our seven night tour. Or simply give us a call and we can talk you through the event 01707 329 988.
At a time when Formula 1 has witnessed a fall in audience numbers, and when the ground-breaking Formula E struggles to find a crowd, there is one form of motorsport that continues to grow in terms of spectator numbers and events. It is perhaps ironic then that these motorsport events focus on looking back at history, rather than forwards to the future. The growth in historic motorsport is not necessarily a new phenomenon, as it has been happening for many years, particularly in Europe, but now historic racing is attracting larger crowds and an international audience. The attraction is clear; historic motor racing appeals to the many not just the few.
Historic motorsport events are now being held all around Europe. Some are on existing circuits, whilst others utilize less well-known arenas. Some events feature full competitive racing, others concentrate on the display and uniqueness of the location, so it can be difficult to choose which event is best for you. Below we look at a selection of our favourites to show the differences across this growing motorsport sector.
Le Mans Classic; 3rd – 5th July 2020
Attracting crowds approaching 150,000 people, the Le Mans Classic has been a real success story for the organisers Peter Auto. Taking place every other year, the Le Mans Classic recreates the rich and varied history of Le Mans from 1923 right through to this century. To guarantee authenticity priority is given participants with cars that actually raced at Le Mans. For spectators there is much to see and do, with unique themed displays and car club areas covering large areas of the infield. Options are available for staying inside and outside the circuit, but we recommend you book early as the best options always sell out in advance.
Spa Classic; 17th – 19th May 2019
The little sister of the Le Mans Classic, the Spa Classic still attracts more than 30,000 spectators every year. The Spa-Francorchamps circuit has a rich and varied history which is reflected in the participating grids that include historic touring cars, endurance racers and single-seater Formula. In recent years the welcome addition of a Group C grid has added to the spectacular action on the track. Although spectators can’t stay on the circuit, there are plenty of options for hotels and camping in the local area, making the event very accessible.
Mille Miglia; 11th – 22nd May 2019
Attracting 450 of the finest vintage and classic cars in the world, along with their professional and celebrity drivers the legendary Mille Miglia recreates an open-road endurance race that originally took place from 1927 until 1957. Beginning and ending in the Italian city of Brescia, with Rome marking the half-way point, this 1000-mile event has become one of the must-see events on the historic motorsport calendar.
Grand Prix de l’Age d’Or ; 6th – 10th June 2019
Originally held in the French town of Rouen back in 1964, this historic weekend of motorsport then moved to Montlhery, before finding its current home in Dijon in 2014. The Dijon-Prenois circuit was previously made famous by hosting the French Grand Prix between 1974 & 1988. This Peter Auto organised event features sixties endurance racers, historic touring cars, a whole grid of 2 litre Porsches as well as single seaters such as formula 2. There are car club displays away from the action on the track ensuring there is always something interesting to view.
Nurburgring Oldtimer Grand Prix; 8th – 12th August 2019
Around 600 cars will compete across 11 different grids across the weekend using a combination of the F1 circuit and famous Nordschelefe. Cars from pre-war through to end of the 1990s will be represented on track with manufacturers and clubs creating exclusive displays on the infield. Access is good for spectators with free grandstands, paddock and garage access throughout the weekend. There is a campsite adjacent to the track and a number of hotels in the local area making visiting this event simple and fun.
Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix; 5th – 9th September 2019
Nestled in the sand dunes of the Dutch coastline, this undulating circuit is perfect for hosting historic motorsport; It is challenging for the drivers and viewing opportunities are excellent for spectators. Expect to see grids of historic Formula 1, DTM, touring cars and historic world endurance championship challengers across the weekend. A relaxed paddock enables everyone to get close with cars and drivers alike. There are campsites and hotels within walking distance of the circuit making this event an easy introduction to historic motorsport.
Circuit des Remparts, Angouleme, 12th – 17th September 2019
Each year the French town of Angouleme comes alive to the sounds of engines as both vintage and classic car racers descend on the tightest of street circuits. Bugattis and Porsches will line the paddocks alongside Aston Martins and Jaguars, giving a really international feel to the event. In addition to the street racing on Sunday there are competitions and events throughout the weekend as classic car owners bring their own vehicles to join in the event.
Spa Six Hours, 27th – 30th September 2019
Just as the leaves on the Ardennes forest begin to change, this weekend of historic racing shows off the Spa-Francorchamps circuit at its best. There are many differing grids across the weekend but the signature race is the six hours endurance race that begins in the afternoon and finishes after dark. Expect to see AC Cobras, Jaguar E-Types and Ford GT40s both on the track and in the garages and access is unrestricted for all spectators. Once again campsites and hotels are available close to the track for this event.
2018 begins in Daytona, Florida with the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This is the start of the Weathertech Sportscar Championship and is your first chance to see new technology and international drivers take on the banking at this famous circuit. Our hotel on Daytona Beach is the perfect place to stay and enjoy this great event.
Continuing out travels in February, we visit Australia for the Bathurst 12 Hours. If you have never visited the Mount Panorama circuit before, then this is a must. We not only have downtown hotels and apartments available for this race, but we include 3 days hospitality so you can enjoy practice, qualifying and the race from the privileged position on the pit-lane roof.
We are back in Florida in March for the 12 Hours of Sebring. This is America’s oldest and most prestigious sports car race. In 2019 Sebring will also host a round of the FIA World Endurance Championship “Super season”, but you can also visit in 2018 & stay in our lakeside condos, just a few minutes drive from the circuit.
May’s Spa Classic goes from strength to strength and the event now attracts more than 30,000 spectators each year. With a mixture of classic endurance racing, Group C racers and historic touring cars there is enough variety to entertain everyone. We have a selection of nearby hotels and camping available to accommodate everyone, and entertain all our customers in our hospitality suite overlooking Eau Rouge.
The Le Mans 24 Hours needs little introduction. Following the withdrawal of Audi and Porsche there is guaranteed to be a new name on the winner’s trophy. Toyota will be back, and this time with an F1 champion behind the wheel. They will be joined by a good number of privateer LMP1s adding to the fun. The ever competitive GTE Pro class sees the return of BMW to take on the might of Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin, Corvette and Porsche so there a plenty of manufacturers present too. As always Travel Destinations will be offering on-circuit options including our exclusive private trackside campsite at Porsche Curves, our Glamping option (Event Tents) and our pop-up hotel (Flexotel).
The pinnacle of historic motorsport is July’s Le Mans Classic. It is unrivaled in its scale and history. The racing only features cars that once raced at Le Mans, from the 1920s through to the 1980s (now including Group C). If the on-track spectacle is not enough for you then the gathering of more than 8,000 classic cars on the Bugatti circuit may tempt you away. Much like the 24 Hours, Travel Destinations has private track-side camping, glamping and pop-up hotel rooms available at the circuit, as well as hotel rooms, camping and B&B options further afield.
Endurance racing also returns in July with the 24 Hours of Spa. Being track-side, watching as Audi, BMW, Aston Martin, Mercedes, Nissan & Bentley all speed through Eau Rouge through the day and the night is a joy to behold. The racing is punctuated with a pop concert and fireworks display above the paddock at night as the cars continue around the track. We have both camping and hotel options for this event enabling you to enjoy the whole spectacle.
August sees the Nurburgring host the Oldtimers Grand Prix. This historic motor racing weekend, has a mixture of single-seater and sports cars compete around this historic circuit. Wandering the paddock is like going back in time as the mechanics work on this classic machinery. We have trackside camping or a 4 star hotel to choose from when you attend this great event.
September is a busy month for classic cars and historic motor racing. The Circuit des Remparts event in Angouleme (South West France) is quite unique. The Sunday of a long weekend of car events, sees a full day of historic racing around the walls of the old town. This tight street circuit is overshadowed by the town’s cathedral and spectators fill the stands at every turn; it is quite a sight and well-worth the drive down to see it all in person.
Mallorca classic week is organised by the island’s residents with a focus on classic cars both resident and visiting the island. With the emphasis on the social side, there are gatherings and displays around the island with competitions and scenic drives to some of the most beautiful parts of the Mallorca. It may seem a long way to go, but with ferries taking the strain the driving distances are shortened and you could participate by clocking up less than 1000 miles in your car but stay for two whole weeks.
The Spa Six Hours in September has always felt like a racers weekend that spectators have been allowed access to. There are few restrictions on access and teams are always relaxed and happy to chat. There are a variety of grids racing over the weekend, with the highlight being the classic endurance race on Saturday afternoon that continues in to the autumn night. If you like your GT40s, D-Type Jaguars and AC Cobras competing at speed, driven by skilled drivers then this event is perfect for you. We have a range of hotels and camping available within 10 minutes of the track, so you can enjoy it all in comfort.
You can secure your place at any of these events now. Reservations are open, but availability is limited, so please call Travel Destinations now, on 0844 873 0203.