Charade is situated just 3 miles South-West of Clermont-Ferrand, in the heart of the Auvergne region (home to the largest volcanic gouping in Europe!), and twists up and down, winding without any discernible piece of straight, around the volcanic outcrops of the Puy de Dôme. It hosted the French F1 GP for 4 years in the 60's and 70's and is obviously well suited to the Lotus as Jim Clark and Jochen Rindt proved by winning here twice.
The circuit, like Spa, has changed over the years, and we now drive on a shortened section of track measuring 2.4 miles, down from its initial 5 mile length. This is where the similarities end though, as whilst Spa has gradually been sterilised over the years by F1, Charade remains a very daunting circuit and not for the faint hearted.
Due to it being built on the side of a mountain, there are lots of high concrete retaining walls with very little run off in almost all area's. The circuit has many features and potential pitfalls, that will keep the experienced driver entertained, whilst being a deterrent to track day novice's. These include 2 steep downhill braking zones into tight hairpins with very little run off, a sequence of flat out blind corners due to the concrete barriers, and keeping the best until last, the first corner. This is an extremely fast corner, with concrete walls right on the edge of the track, and the apex and exit are blind on turn in due to the high walls. Its a pleasure to drive, mixing the best bits of Spa and the original Nürburgring into a much shorter area, which keeps the heart rate high at all times.
Words kindly provided by Neil McKean