Circuit de Cadours

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Haute Garonne department

The Circuit de Cadours was a race track located in the southwest of France, in the Tarn-et-Garonne département.

Historic race track of Cadours Laréole[edit]

Cadours is now part of the Toulouse city district. At the time of the start of the race-track, Cadours and more importantly its 600 inhabitants have demonstrated their capability to organise important events, "first flight event" in the 1920, air shows later, horse races and cycle races, too, before World War II.

An inhabitant from Cadours, surrounded by his friends, decided to establish an automobile event, his name: Louis Arrivet. He was a local mechanic and owned a car repair shop in the middle of the village. He was a fan of nice pieces of machinery of nice mechanic. He owned a Bugatti 47. He was also an engine tuning specialist and his skills were well known beyond the limits of the county. His address book was impressive, it included a range of sports car enthusiasts which will allow him to bring together, with the help of a newly appointed organizing committee, for a very first event called "Cadours Stop and Go" about 20 competitors. The committee included Mr Gros, Mr Gabrielle as secretary and Mr Arrivet. They went to the "Laguepie" race track in the nearby département to pick some good ideas. They decided to pick the triangle formed by the D29, D89 and D41, all secondary tortuous roads to form the Cadours Circuit or race-track,[1] located just outside the village of Cadours, some bales of straw would prevent major crashes while few wood barracks would become the pits.[2] On September 18, 1948 about twenty cars had registered for the event, with René Mauriès on Simca Gordini, Michel Lecerf on Simca Deho, Roger Armichen on Simca, Robert Galy on Galy Spéciale and Émile Py on Py (using Traction Citroën parts). The race was won by René Mauriès, from Albi, for this very first event, at the average speed of 121.97 km/h (75.79 mph) on this 4,015 m (2.5 mi) race track.

1949: a new Grand-Prix[edit]

For the 1949 season, Arrivet and his crew achieved Grand-Prix status for the event, the Grand-Prix of Cadours by the French Automobile Club in the Voiturette/Formula 2 category. The event was launched and became an International Grand-Prix event in the following years, where big shots will come at the end of the racing season to harvest a couple of missing points to ensure a proper ranking or would come to finish adjustments of their next season's race cars. The first Grand Prix de Cadours was raced on 18 September 1949, in front of more than 3000 spectators. It was a success. Gerbout, from Paris, came with his Gerbout Spéciale (an old Lombard[3]) and won the race.

In 1950, the committee decided to meet with reputable competitors assembled at a nearby event on the Lespare race track, near Bordeaux, where a Formula 2 challenge is organized to push them to come to race in Cadours. It is a success. The start line will witness people like Aldo Gordini, René Bonnet, Élie Bayol, Marcel Balsa, René Simone, Harry Schell and Raymond Sommer. Also a motorcycle event is organized in conjunction with the race car event, improving further the recognition of the event and the race track.

Tragic accident[edit]

This second Grand Prix, in 1950, was bereaved by the accidental death of Raymond Sommer, and killed by the failure of the steering mechanism of his Cooper T12-Jap. The resulting crash was fatal.

On September 9, 1951, the following year, before the start of the third 'Grand Prix de Cadours', a monument sculpted by Lucien Passey, to the memory of Raymond Sommer was unveiled. This monument was funded by people's money collection. A second identical monument was set in Mouzon, in the French Ardennes, the village where Sommer was born.

The following year, on June 2, 1952, Juan Manuel Fangio came to Cadours to honor his late friend, in the name of the Argentine people.

In 1955, most of the race car events were cancelled because of the Le Mans accident. Drastic safety measures were set in place. Most would lead to too expensive investment. At this time several events died. It became the beginning of the end of the "Circuit de Cadours-Laréole" as for several other in Frane and in Europe.

In 1957, a sports car category event was organised. It was won by André Loens who shortly afterward died in a Monthléry accident.

The two last events will happen in the "Formula Junior" category, recently[when?] defined. The last racing event was won by Jo Siffert who became a Swiss celebrity.

In 1958, Keith Campbell, world 350 cc champion, was leading the 500 cc race when he failed to round a bend known as Cox’s Corner, crashed, and was killed instantly. According to a newspaper report, in trials he had beaten all records for the circuit, lapping at 71.5 miles an hour.[4]

Every two years since 1998, the event is organized to gather owners and fans of oldtimers on a race track organised for this purpose.


Date Category Event Pos Driver Team Car Laps Lap length
18/09/1948 Accélération et Freinage de Cadours 1 René Mauriès Simca-Gordini 4015 m
18/08/1949 Formula 2 1st Grand Prix de Cadours 1 Robert Gerbout Gerbout Spéciale - Lombard
10/09/1950 Formula 2 2nd Grand Prix de Cadours 1 Johnny/René Simone, alias René Abbo Automobiles Deutsch et Bonnet DB - Panhard 20 4015 m
2 Aldo Gordini Équipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T15 20
3 Marcel Balsa Marcel Balsa Jicey - BMW 20
Raymond Sommer fatal crash
10/9/1951 Formula 2 3rd Grand Prix de Cadours 1 Maurice Trintignant Équipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T15 25 4104 m
2 Robert Manzon Équipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T15 25
3 Jean Behra Équipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T11 25
14/9/1952 Formula 2 4th Grand Prix de Cadours 1 Louis Rosier Louis Rosier Ferrari 500 30 5536 m
2 Harry Schell Equipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T16 30
3 Emmanuel de Graffenried Enrico Platé Maserati-Platé 4CLT/48 30
30/8/1953 Formula 2 5th Grand Prix de Cadours 1 Maurice Trintignant Équipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T16 30 5536 m
2 Harry Schell Équipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T16 30
3 Jean Behra Équipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T16 30
30/8/1954 Non Champ. 6th Circuit de Cadours 1 Jean Behra Équipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T16 30 4000 m
2 André Pilette Équipe Gordini Simca-Gordini T16 30
3 Louis Rosier Louis Rosier Maserati 250F[5] 30
8/9/1957 Sports 8th Circuit de Cadours[6] 1 André Loens[7] Private Maserati 200S 70 4000 m
2 Carel Godin de Beaufort Private Porsche Spyder 550 70
3 Claude Storez Private Porsche Spyder 550 70
6/9/1959 Formula Junior 10th Grand Prix de Cadours 1 Bill de Selincourt Private Elva 100 - BMC 30 3915 m
2 Michel May Private Stanguellini - Fiat 30
3 Giovanni Alberti Scuderia Madunina Stanguellini - Fiat 30
3/9/1961 Formula Junior 12th Grand Prix de Cadours 1 Jo Siffert Écurie Romande Lotus 20 - Ford 20 3915 m
2 José Rosinski Inter Auto Course Cooper T56 - BMC 20
3 Philippe Martel Private Lotus 20 - Ford 20


  1. ^ Circuit of Cadours
  2. ^ Visit of the track
  3. ^ SEV or BMW engine?
  4. ^ THE HERALD - Melbourne, VIC, Monday 14 July 1958, page 1
  5. ^ History of the Maserati 250F of Ecurie Rosier
  6. ^ 1957 results
  7. ^ Details about André Loens

External links[edit]