The French Grand Prix has seen many venues since the first race at Albi in 1951. Road circuits such as Rouen, Reims and Clemont -Ferrand staged the early grands prix with Le Mans staging it's first race in 1969 on part of the 24 Hour car racing circuit. The delightfully located Paul Ricard in the South of France also became a regular venue with Nogaro also staging two races.
The Bugatti circuit was constructed in 1965 incorporating part of the 13.605 kms 24 Hour road circuit. It has been modified over the years to it's present day 4.180 kms configuration. The circuit uses the main straight and the awesome fast right hand bend between that towering grandstands that leads to the famous Dunlop chicane. The remainder of the circuit is very stop and start with a crucial slow right hand bend leading back into the start and finish straight.
The track had a reputation for being very slippery but was resurfaced last year when Spaniard Sete Gibernau achieved his second successive victory.
FROM THE SADDLE
ďLe Mans is a track that has always been rather tough for me, but thatís not to say that I wonít be aiming for a top result. The important thing is to prepare the bike well, not necessarily to get it one hundred percent perfect - I know things canít always go as well as they did in Estoril for example - but still, as perfect as possible. In China we didnít have the set-up spot on, but on Sunday, besides the penalty, I was quick and I was able to pick up a few points, so I hope I can go well in France too. Iíve still got a bit of pain in my side
after I hit the kerb in the crash on Saturday morning, but I think I should be fine by the time of the Friday morning free practice.Ē
Troy Bayliss :
ďI canít wait to get to France because Le Mans is a track I love. Last year the race went quite well for me, but better still was the test day following it, I had a great day and rode really well. I think that if we can get the bike set up well, I will be able to make a good race.Ē
Length: 4.180 kms
Pole position: Left.
Right corners: Nine
Left corners: Four.
Longest straight: 450 m
Constructed: May 1974
2004 Pole position: Sete Gibernau(Honda) 1m33.425s - 161.070 km/h
Lap record: Max Biaggi (Camel Honda) 1m34.088s - 159.935 km/h
2004 Race winner: Sete Gibernau (Honda) 44m22.750s - 158.236 km/h
Camel Honda 2004.
Alex Barros seventh, Troy Bayliss eighth