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Montlhery, Ile-de-France

Designed by Raymond Jamin and built in 1924 as a 33-degree banked oval, the road course was completed a year later in time to hold the French Grand Prix. Although Antonio Ascari was tragically killed during that race, Montlhery had already become France’s leading GP circuit. In 1934, Louis Chiron scored an unexpected victory for Alfa Romeo against the debut of the much-vaunted Mercedes-Benz and Auto Union teams, but the tide was clearly turning in Germany’s favour. Rather than suffer the inevitable German wins, the organisers turned to sports cars for the French GP in 1936 and ‘37. It was not a popular move and Montlhery lost the 1938 race to Reims, never to regain it. Organisers introduced the Paris 1000Kms sports car race after the war but an accident in 1964 left two drivers and three officials dead. The circuit fell into decline and closed in 1973. After a lengthy absence from international motor racing, the Paris 1000Kms was revived in 1994 as part of the new FIA GT series although the course proved too bumpy and Montlhery dropped once more from the international calendar a year later.