A Photographic Visit Of The Magny-Cours Circuit
File under Racing France
Author: Mike Werner
Location: Normandy, France
I realize that not many people get to visit the Magny-Cours circuit here in France, let alone visit the "special" and off-limit areas. So after my little visit to the circuit for the FIM e-Power race (which wasn't much of a race), I've decided to show you a lot of photos of the circuit. Most of them were taken really early in the morning (Friday 13th). The Magny-Cours circuit, together with the Le Mans Bugatti circuit are the two main race circuits in France, hosting races for the MotoGP, World SuperBike, Formula 1 and of course the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This weekend was the other large 24 hours endurance motorcycle race, that of the Bol d'Or .
The one thing you'll notice at this circuit, the same as with the other French motorcycle races, is the incredible noise, 24 hours per day. It's not the race bikes, but the bikers who have come to attend the race and are camping around the circuit. All the time, and I mean all the time, there are several who are revving up their bikes, spitting and flaming. At 6 AM in the morning of the 13th you could still hear them. A pity if you need to sleep....
Here are 44 photos of the circuit I've taken. You can click on any photo for a bigger version, but if you are going to do that, let the whole page load with all its photos.
I hope you enjoy the visit.
The Magny-Cours welcome center where press, VIP and teams register and get their passes.
One of the several entrances to the circuit.
All around the circuit area you will find many tents. Already on the Thursday, the day of free practices, there were 1000's of tents and bikers. Tents can be found everywhere.
After the many parking areas, next in line are the tents and campers from the competitors and team members. They are dispersed around the paddock area. The smell of barbecue hits you when you get into this area.
This is the most import sign of all of the signs on the circuit! It shows you were the mobile bakery is! For the French, fresh baguette (bread) is vital, so there is always a queue in front of the bread van. Bread is fresh 24 hours per day.
Part of the emergency crews, the much adored firefighters. Several are placed around the circuit, not only for the race, but also for the competitors and spectators.
There are many hospitality areas for the big teams just before the paddock area. Here's one of the biggest, belonging to BMW. Here VIP and CIP are wined & dined.
The IXON/Suzuki hospitality tent.
The French Federation of Angry Bikers (FFMC) have their hospitality tent in the general population area.
In the general area, spectators can not only enjoy free music concerts, but also enjoy the luna park and its many wild rides.
BMW had a test ground for the general public where bikers could try several of BMW's line-up of motorcycles.
As in almost any motorcycle gathering, there are many places offering to sell bikers all sorts of goods, from accessories, helmets, food and merchandising.
As we all know, tires are a vital part of racing motorcycles. All the big tire manufacturers were there with 3 or 4 trucks full of tires, and a tire service, servicing the contracted teams. The tire manufacturers are located in the beginning of the paddock area.
You can image how many tires, each manufacturer had 3 or 4 trucks full like this.
Michelin, being the only French manufacturer, had a whole village installed, with hospitality, tire fitting and many trucks full of rubber.
Pirelli's set up.
Right next to the circuit is the technical scrutineering, making sure all motorcycles are valid for racing.
Outside is a big queue of sidecars, motorcycles and electric bikes (okay, there were only 3) waiting for scrutineering.
Just outside the track itself is the medical clinic waiting for their first patients.
If you need medical help, and there's no doctor there, PRESS THE BUTTON.
The operating room with one of the two medical teams on standby, consisting of a doctor and a nurse. They are normally in the doctor car alongside the track waiting to roll out to help bikers who got hurt.
Outside the clinic are ambulances and a medivac helicopter, fueled and ready to go.
One of the two track doctor cars, driven by the doctor.
In the paddock area you will see many enormous trucks belonging to the big factory teams. Smaller teams arrived in vans and trailers.
The race control building, where the race marshals and controllers are. This is where the race is controlled from.
In front of the race control building is the podium.
Next to the race control center is the press center/media center, where you will find journalists from all over the world. Well appointed, the center is hard wired for fast internet, timing monitors everywhere and free coffee (and other food and drinks).
The business end of the race is the pit lane.
Even at 6 AM it looks impressive...
.. even more so when the sidecars are going out for their qualifiers.
Pits are open on both ends.
Only the big, and rich, teams have pits. The others need to repair alongside the pit lane, or in the paddocks.
This is the pit box of the firefighters team (yes, they have a successful team), and the sign says "Firefighter exit".
This is the pit box of SERT, the multiple-winner of endurance races from Suzuki.
On the other side of the pit lane are the team time huts, where they control their teams, signalling their position and time.
The race stewards and marshals receive their last instructions before getting into place.
The finish line..
The stands are still empty, but will fill up to full capacity before the race starts.
There, I hope you enjoyed this photographic tour of Magny-Cours. Please don't forget to tip your guide ... ;-)