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1956 French Grand Prix

Grand Prix de l'Automobile Club de France

Sunday, July 1, 1956
Warm, dry and overcast
Fastest Lap:
Fangio, 2m25.8
1956 season:

A valiant attempt by Vanwall

Reims, July 1st.

The triangular circuit of Reims-Gueux is one of the few that have not been altered over the past year or two, and remaining the same as when last used in 1954 (for it will be remembered that the 1955 event was cancelled), the performances recorded during this 42nd French Grand Prix could bear direct relationship to the 1954 event.

During the 1954 practice Fangio made history with a W196 Mercedes-Benz by being the only driver to average more than 200 kph for one lap. He did this by a matter of a few decimal points and only once, so clearly a 200 kph lap was going to be the aim of all the competitors in this 1956 event. On the first evening the complete Vanwall team were out and Ferrari had five Lancia/Ferraris in the paddock, while there was no sign as yet of any Maseratis. As the BRM team had not entered Hawthorn was loaned to the Vanwall team, and with Trintignant due to drive the new Bugatti 251 his place was taken by Colin Chapman, making his first serious entry in Grand Prix racing, the third Vanwall was naturally in the hands of Schell.