FORMULA 1 GRAND PRIX DE FRANCE 2008
- 400,000 (Nevers)
- First Grand Prix
- GMT +1
- Christian 85%, other 15%
- Visa / Passport Requirements
Everyone has their own reason for going to Magny-Cours. The drivers love the challenge of the track, the engineers love the technical demands of balancing aero grip and straightline speed, and the fans love the serene setting.
“I like Magny Cours,” says Williams driver Nico Rosberg. “The track is very nice to drive: the surface is smooth and there is a good mix of corners. Some people seem not to like the race because of its location in rural France, but I'm not one of them. There's always a good vibe there, and I like the village feel of the F1 paddock.”
Indeed, the relaxed atmosphere of rural France makes Magny-Cours a very pleasant stop-off during a particularly busy time on the Formula One calendar. Williams' Director of Engineering Patrick Head loves the journey to the race so much he completes it every year from England on a motorbike. Other F1 folk enjoy the event for the beautiful chateaux nearby and some of the Loire region's best wineries, which are just a stone’s-throw away.
“I don't like to fly more than I have to, and the French GP is one of the races that I can drive to from my home in Monaco,” adds Rosberg. “In 2005 it was a six-hour drive in my Audi RS6, and quite an enjoyable drive at that!”
Did you know? The world famous Nevers jazz festival takes place every year in November, attracting renowned musicians from around the globe.
Magny-Cours lies roughly halfway between Paris and Lyon. The nearest international airports are Charles de Gaulle and Orly in Paris, two and a half hours drive to the north. The nearest train station is Nevers, which is a 15-minute car journey from the track.
Amenities near the circuit are limited, so a hire car is advisable. Taxis are another, potentially more expensive, option.
Book a Package
Tickets for Magny-Cours are among the best value in Europe. Virtually all grandstands give a great view because the track is very flat and compact, meaning you can see more than one corner.
The beginning of the lap is the most spectacular place to watch the cars because there is the fast right-hander at Turn 3 followed by the hairpin at Turn 4, which is the most obvious overtaking place on the track.
If you don’t speak French, a phrase book or dictionary may come in handy as many local people do not speak English.
You can keep up to speed with all the action throughout the weekend by hiring a Kangaroo TV handset at the circuit, which offers access to several channels of live video, audio and data content.
Where to go?
The villages and provincial towns near the track boast excellent food in some of their numerous family-run restaurants. There are several sights of note to visit in nearby Nevers: the Ducal Palace, the Churches of St Étienne and St Bernadette-du-Banlay and the Convent of St Gildard.
Where to stay?
Most of the drivers and team personnel stay at the circuit hotel, while others prefer to stay at the Renaissance Hotel in Magny-Cours itself. There are also good hotels in nearby Nevers and Moulins, as well as lots of Bed & Breakfasts in the surrounding villages. Camping at the track is also a good option; it’s convenient and the weather is usually pretty good in July.
Book a Hotel
Magny-Cours is surrounded by possibilities. Two hours north of the track is Paris, one of the most colourful cities in the world; two hours to the south there is the Massif Central, a sparsely-populated area of outstanding natural beauty, featuring spectacular volcanic craters; two hours south east you’re into the Alps and two hours west is the Atlantic Ocean.
Book a Package
Two former Formula One tracks are within easy reach of Magny-Cours. To the east there's Dijon-Prenois. It last staged the French Grand Prix in 1984 and the track is still in use today. Meanwhile, 120 kilometres south of Magny-Cours is Clermont Ferrand, which hosted its last Grand Prix in 1972 (won by Jackie Stewart). The race was run on public roads and you can still drive the route today. Some of the rusting barriers remain in place, as do the faded sponsors’ decals - enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck.
|Fri 20 June 2008|
|Friday Practice 1||10:00 - 11:30|
|Friday Practice 2||14:00 - 15:30|
|Sat 21 June 2008|
|Saturday Practice||11:00 - 12:00|
|Sun 22 June 2008|