Essonne: A Ride on the Legendary Linas-Montlhéry Autodrome

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The mythical ring of Linas-Montlhéry

It is a mythical place of the department of Essonne and a place for car lovers. The Linas-Montlhéry Autodrome is part of history.

The Linas-Montlhéry autodrome is a jewel for car enthusiasts. It is a circuit that has experienced the greatest hours in the history of the automobile.

Its story is exciting and tumultuous. At the beginning of the 20s, the multiplication of accidents lamenting road racing led the government to consider banning all car competitions.

A ring of speed

The solution ? Build speed rings such as those already made at Brooklands in England (1907) or at Indianapolis in the United States (1909). Thus, a project for the construction of an autodrome in Essonne was decided in 1923 at the instigation of an automotive enthusiast, Alexandre Lamblin .

He finds the ideal place in Linas by its price and its proximity to Paris. For the construction of this autodrome, two projects are submitted and the cheapest is finally chosen: it consists of a ring of two and a half kilometres, a ring that will be extended and completed by following a road circuit built on two of the municipalities bordering on Linas.

Designed by the architect Raymond Jamin , the track’s speed ring is oval, with two straight lines of one hundred and eighty meters. It has the particularity of concave turns. The design aims to allow vehicles of one ton to reach a speed of 220 km/h at the top of the turns.

It will take two thousand workers, one thousand tons of steel and eight thousand cubic meters of concrete to carry out this project. The work lasted six months and the autodrome was inaugurated on October 4, 1924.

86% of world records

The Linas-Montlhéry autodrome is a success. Two months after its opening, a hundred records are recorded . The circuit benefits from the electric lighting that allows you to ride at night and to try out endurance records. The autodrome, not causing nuisance neighbourhood, is not hampered in its development.

Between 1925 and 1939, 86% of world records were beaten at the Linas-Montlhéry autodrome . In 1925, the extension of the circuit, allows to host the Grand Prix of the Automobile Club de France .

Saved in 2010

After several decades of turmoil, the mythical circuit is finally saved by the association for the safeguarding of the Linas – Montlhéry autodrome (ASALM) . In 2010, the autodrome was again approved to host races, allowing collectors and sports enthusiasts to return to the track.

It was renewed in 2014. Since then, a dozen events have been held each year. On weekdays, the autodrome is transformed into a test center for everything related to land mobility. In 2016, the Autonomous Vehicle Testing Center (CEVA) begins operations. It thrives and although its future is uncertain, it remains a pearl for the department.

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