Pau’s commitment to its Grand Prix is undoubted. This event is part of Pau’s identity and heritage…and of motorsport too.
Pau’s Grand Prix has always displayed its ambition to be a major player in motor racing. And the greatest motorsport’s pilots used to race in Pau. This demanding track has always been an authentication of their emerging or confirmed racing skills. Even now, it is one of the most looked forward to events focussing on future, top race drivers and future engines.
Pau’s rich motor sport history… that few cities can claim
Created in 1900, the legendary Pau Grand Prix hosts almost the top racing drivers of each period.
Etancelin, Nuvolari, Wimille, Fangio, Ascari, Trintignant, Brabahm, Cevert, Clark, Hill raced brillantly in the past…. Not very long ago Laffitte, Jabouille, Arnoux, Pironi…
And more recently, Jean Alesi, Pedro Lamy, Juan Pablo Montoya, Romain Grosjean or even Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen and Esteban Ocon.
They almost won in Pau with the greatest constructors’ cars or the most legendary single-seater cars.
Pau Grand Prix is intergenerational : emerging rookies race with the top single-seater drivers. It is often compared to Monaco due to its demanding and fast racing track. Many rookies have been discovered in Pau.
Pau’s race track is well known for its hairpin (The School hairpin), its straight lines (straight start and finish lines ; the rise to Pont Oscar and demanding sections (racing along Beaumont Park, Foch turn).
It became a city circuit in 1933 and the unique French city track. Pau Grand Prix is one of the five world races which remains with its original layout of 2 760 km (1.715 miles) benefitting from the exceptional panorama of the Pyrénées.
Except for the widening of the track in the straight (Gaston Lacoste avenue) done in 1957, Pau’s layout remains the same as the one driven on by competitors in 1935.
From 1964, Pau Grand Prix was scheduled in the French Formula 2 Championship, in the international Formula 3000 from 1985 to 1999, then in the European Formula 2. In 2001, Pau hosted its first Historic Grand Prix. Scheduled initially every two years, Pau’s Historic Grand Prix has taken place every year since 2011.
From 2007 to 2009, Pau hosted WTCC, World Touring Car Championship, before being restructured in 2010.
The 2011 edition marked the return of Pau’s Grand Prix with single seater races and the first electric Grand Prix racing car.
2014 was well remembered with the return of the FIA F3 European Championship.
Since under the aegis of ASAC Basco Béarnais Organisation, this FIA motor racing is used as the backbone for a tempting program with single seater racing cars and other famous racing programs, such as the FFSA French Championship races.
Winning in Pau reveals a driver’s racing talents. A victory on this track, which offers few second chances, is never left to chance. Very technical, narrow with some fast parts and no way out sections, Pau’s racing track is largely compose of blind curves. So many of these features require exceptional racing qualities. The slightest error could end in the track’s security rails, which generally means a retirement from the race.