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Full name: Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours, Magny-Cours, France
Capital City: Paris
Time zone: GMT +1
Currency: Euro (symbol: €, code: EUR)
Electric plug type: C & F
Weather: When WorldSBK visits Magny-Cours, September, average daily highs are around 19°C (66°F) and nightly lows drop to 8°C (46°F). Rain is not unheard of at this time of year in this area of France, so pack accordingly.
This beautiful, modern European republic has centuries of romantic history and is a land of sophisticated cities, miles of fantastic coastline, epic mountain ranges, excellent cuisine and huge areas of picturesque countryside. France has a unqiue charm and leaves an impression on any visitor.
Paris is a chic and dominant capital city which enchants millions of tourists each year with its fine cafes, wide tree-lined boulevards, the Arc de Triomphe, the River Seine, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées and the trendy designer boutiques of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
The Palace of Versailles, also in the Paris region, is a world-class architectural masterpiece. Cities like Marseille, Lyon, Toulouse, Nice, Nantes, and Montpellier are dynamic urban centres with rich local cuisines and cultures of their own.
Regions such as Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées, Burgundy and Champagne-Ardenne offer fine wines, excellent restaurants and wonderful landscapes.
Magny Cours sits in the Nièvre department of the Bourgogne-Franche-Comté region of central France. This newly named region came into existence in January 2016 after the territorial reform of French Regions and covers a considerable 48,000 km2 area, inhabited by more than 2.8 million people.
The main place to stay if you are visiting the Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours is in the small city of Nevers itself.
This attractive little city has a population of around 30,000 people and has a fair number of hotels, many of which are three or four starred and reasonably priced. Guesthouses are another option in Nevers itself and dotted around the countryside in hamlets and villages within easy reach of the circuit.
There are hotels and motels along the along the N7 highway, which connects Paris to Italy and has also been called the Route des vacances (The Holiday Route). This road also connects Nevers to the racetrack.
Additional options include staying in a châteaux if your budget extends to that luxury, or hiring a typical gîte with friends for an authentic Gallic stay in the French countryside.
Nevers is the prefecture of the Nièvre department and is a quaint little French city. Small meandering streets lead you through the old town where some of the houses date back to the 14th century, while the Place de la République is an elegant tree-lined square, bordered by smart buildings.
Take in the centuries-old Cathédrale of Saint Cyr-Sainte Julitte or visit the Ducal Palace, built in the 15th and 16th centuries and now home to the local courts of justice and a museum. Behind the palace is an open public space where you can enjoy the view of the Loire valley, whilst the river itself is crossed by an iron railway line and a modern stone bridge. The Gare de Nevers railway station offers connections to major cities such as Paris and Lyon.
Elsewhere in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté the Burgundy region is a historical treasure and is famous for its Burgundy wines, as well as some fine Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Chablis and Beaujolais.The capital of Burgundy, Dijon, is some 180km and a two and half hour drive from the circuit but for those who make it that far it provides a real taste of the region. Famous for its mustard Dijon is a sizeable city with many fine restaurants and it boasts the imposing Palace of the Dukes, where the distinguished Musée des Beaux-Arts was established in 1787. The Grand Théâtre de Dijon was built in 1828 and the historical city centre has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
A key point to keep in mind in this mainly rural part of France are the distances between the major cities and airports. Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne Airport is just under a two-hour drive from Magny Cours and Paris-Orly is over two hours away. Trains to Paris and Lyon from Nevers can take three or more hours.
Unless you abstain from alcohol you will surely want to try some of the local tipples, given how good French wine can be. Prices are often hiked up for bottles in restaurants but the house red or white will usually be of good quality and a glass is often part of the set menu (prix fixe / table d'hôte).
Excellent French wines can be bought very cheaply in supermarkets, although asking for recommendations from locals might be tricky unless you speak a little French. Once you have found a good wine in a bar or restaurant be sure to keep an eye out for it in the local shops. Oh and French cheese counters in local shops and supermarkets are excellent and the origin of each cheese is stated clearly, so buying local is not hard.
WorldSBK has been coming to Magny-Cours ever since 2003, but our first round was in 1991 when Doug Polen won both races. The track has welcomed historic moments ever since its inception, such as James Toseland becoming the youngest WorldSBK Champion in 2004, Carlos Checa becoming the first Spanish Champion in 2011 and the closest WorldSBK Championship finish of all-time, when Max Biaggi clinched a second title by just half a point ahead of Tom Sykes.
Other notable achievements include Sylvain Guintoli becoming the first French winner at Magny-Cours in WorldSBK in 2012’s Race 1, Toprak Razgatlioglu’s first career-win in 2019’s Race 1 and Jonathan Rea’s record-breaking fifth straight World Championship in 2019’s Race 2.