Leyla and I have been waiting for this one for a long time! Not only was this our first Track Day in France, but also a day on one of Europe's most iconic circuits. Every true petrolhead probably knows the infamous Formula 1 battle between René Arnoux and Gilles Villeneuve in 1979: LINK
We packed up the car on Wednesday night and headed to Dijon on Thursday. It was an early start as we had around 600km to go - with a trailer that is around 7 - 8h. As always, we have been checking the weather religiously in the days leading up to our Track Day. When it showed more than 40°C for the day, we brushed it off as being unrealistic. Well, it was not...
Best place to be after a long drive!
Already on our Travel-Day, we quickly topped 35°C - chilly compared to what we would experience the next day. We ventured on and enjoyed the beautiful and empty French motorways through the Grand Est region until we finally arrived at our base for the weekend - a cozy B&B around 10 minutes away from the track.
As you can imagine looking at the pictures, we got out of the car and straight away jumped in the pool! A perfect refresher before we made our way to the track to unload our gear, had a final chat with the management, and prepared our administration and registration area.
with loads of history!
In comparison to other circuits, the French seem to take it easy in the morning and the earliest we could arrive at the Track was 7:30 am. For us, this meant a chance to have a quick breakfast before heading to the track to finish our final preparations and welcome the first early-birds eager to get into the paddock.
With more than 100 people attending, that's a rather short queue!
As all participants completed our GP Days E-Briefing and submitted their waivers ahead of the event, the registration went super smooth without any significant wait time and everyone was ready to get on track at 9 am sharp. It was an unusually busy morning as everyone wanted to get their laps done before the heat set in - and boy did it became hot!
Any kind of shade was more than appreciated!
Shortly after lunch, we smashed through the 40°C mark which unfortunately meant the first cars were experiencing overheating issues. However, we are still surprised that everyone kept on driving quite a lot - although in shorter stints.
Apart from some technical problems for some cars, the whole day went smoothly with no major incidents happening. With the scorching heat in the afternoon, we struggled filling up our Open Bar at times - the water was basically gone before it arrived! But that is a "problem" we were able to deal with easily!
Tripod Mode Activated!
From our perspective as the organiser, it was great to see that everyone took care of each other, keeping it fair and safe on track while still pushing their car in these difficult conditions!
The day moved on and the first participants started to pack up and head home as the temperatures became almost unbearable. With about an hour of Tracktime left, it was time to get out our GP MINI ready for a couple of laps - the first laps ever on this circuit for us! Knowing that the car is quite sensitive to heat and we had a driving session at the Circuit de Charade coming up a couple of days later, we took it easy and didn't drive more than around 20 - 30min - the track was incredibly fun though! It felt extremely fluid with a rhythm I haven't really experienced anywhere before. Even SPA, which to me is a very fluent track is no comparison. There is not one corner in Dijon that throws you off your flow or feels a bit "rough" (like the Bus Stop Chicane at SPA).
It was an incredibly enjoyable day and once the clock hit 5 pm, we were all surprised it was already over!
Apart from our Team, of course, the biggest thanks go to all the participants which are the reason why we had such a great time - on and off-track! We cannot wait to be back in Dijon in 2021! Rest assured, we are already planning the dates for our return - probably not in the middle of the summer though!
For more pictures of our Track Day, check out our gallery HERE!