From its opening in 1950, Rouen-Les-Essarts was recognized as one of Europe's finest circuits, with modern pits, a wide track, and spectator grandstands. The street circuit had a few medium straights, a cobbled hairpin turn at the southernmost tip, and a few blind corners through a wooded hillside The appeal was greatly enhanced by the climb from Nouveau Monde at 56 metres to Gresil at 149 metres.
Rouen hosted five Formula One French Grand Prix races, the last one in 1968 resulting in the tragic burning death of Jo Schlesser, at the fast downhill Six Frères curve. The circuit continued to host major Formula 2 events until 1978, after which it was used for various French Championships.
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