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1977 French Grand Prix

Grand Prix de France

Sunday, July 3, 1977
Hot, dry and sunny
Fastest Lap:
Andretti, 1m13.75
1977 season:

A nice little affair

Dijon-Prenois, July 3rd

The Grand Prix of France must not be confused with the French Grand Prix of past years, or to give it its correct title, the Grand Prix of the Automobile Club de France. In 1906 the ACF ran the first Grand Prix which set the pattern for races run under various Formulae down through the ages. The Grand Prix de l'ACF was always a grand affair, offering motor racing in the grand manner, but over the years the scene changed and life itself changed. France and the racing fraternity lost interest in doing things on a grand scale and the end of an era came in 1968 when the Automobile Club of France relinquished the organisation of the French Grand Prix to the Federation Fran├žaise du Sport Automobile. Since then the event has been called the Grand Prix of France and has been run on various circuits, each one getting less grand and with less character so that the race is now a small "circus act" on the quaint little Dijon-Prenois autodrome. Formula One in France.

The little autodrome has been lengthened over the past winter, adding a loop in the middle of the wiggly back-section of the rectangular circuit. Dijon-Prenois doesn't have much to offer, but it does go downhill and uphill, albeit rather briefly. The new loop has added a long dropping left-hand bend, a short straight covered by a brief dab on the accelerator, a sweeping right-hand hairpin, another brief squirt uphill to a left-hand bend that goes on and on as it joins the existing circuit. A magnificent increase of 511 metres, and some 14 seconds to the lap time! For all its smallness and "village circus" atmosphere the end result was pleasant enough, especially if you have never experienced anything better. For the Formula One race of France it was more or less adequate and any short-comings were more than made up for by the arrival of summer in the very pleasant countryside of the Bourgogne district of France.