Magny Cours. Length 2.74 miles. Location, near Nevers, central France. Built 1960.
It is easy to let parts of Magny Cours annoy you. The sequence which is turns 13 to 16 is grubby and technical, the kerbs at the chicane are ridiculously high, and the two hairpins fantastically tight. So very easy to try that bit too hard, run wide and waste a lap. That though, is why it is a good challenge for the driver and if you can get that combination of just enough attack with just enough restraint, the payoff is huge. If that was all, it wouldn’t do, but there is compensation on the other side. Turns one two and three – Grand Courbe to Estoril - are extremely quick and the last very wide. You can conduct your fourth gear experiment in relative safety because there is plenty of room to run off. The real challenge though is the two chicanes – the second of which is blind on entry. There isn’t a lot of elevation at Magny Cours but the chicanes run between two giant molehills and the legally usable area just over the white lines is nicely – and progressively - cambered. In a modern 2litre prototype the difference between using this – and the weight it transfers to the outside tyres – is one gear up and four seconds round the lap. Magny Cours is technical certainly, but on a big enough scale to be properly exciting.