In 1960 Jean Bernigaud built a racing circuit on farm land near to Magny Cours in the Upper Loire, France. The original track was just over a mile in length and by 1969 the track record stood at just 49 seconds. Bernigaud expanded the circuit to create two interconnecting tracks with a total length of 3.84 kilometres (2.39 miles). The new track was officially opened in 1971.
Magny Cours was the home of a whole generation of French motor racing stars in the 1970s. A race school was established in 1963 and famous graduates included Francois Cevert, Patrick Depailler, Jean-Pierre Jarier and Jacques Laffite.
The track hosted rounds of the European F3 championship but it was not until former President Francois Mitterand decided to invest in the flagging economy of the area, that Magny Cours was seriously considered for Formula One. A new motorway was built to link the track to the existing autoroutes and a huge industrial park was built to attract France's best racing teams.
The track layout remained the same but the corners were all changed, the track retaining its dual layout but now comprising a length of 4.26 kilometres (2.65 miles). In 1991 the French grand Prix came to Magny Cours and it has remained there ever since.