The Circuit de Lédenon (or Nîmes-Lédenon as it is sometimes referred to) is very much a family affair, having been run by the Bondurand family since its inception more than 40 years ago. Located in a small village near to Nîmes, the site had previously been used for motocross events and seemed ideal for a permanent course.
Characterised by flowing corners and major elevation changes, drivers and riders spend much of the lap looking skywards over crests, creating a thrilling driving experience.
Unusually for a French circuit, the lap is run anti-clockwise, along a route that is unchanged since its first opening.
In 1970 Jean-Claude Bondurand, a local lawyer and avid motor racing fan, saw the possibilities that a motocross site in Lédenon offered for wider motorsport. with the support of his wife Sylvie, he hatched a plot to build a permanent facility.
"Paul Ricard had made his circuit at Le Castellet and I thought to myself, why shouldn't I do that?" he explained. "It didn't seem that crazy to me - after all, what is a circuit if not just a single stretch of road?"
Soon the Bondurands acquired the land and a bulldozer and set to work in 1971. Each evening and at weekends, the pair toiled to create the circuit. To many, the project seemed folly, but the couple persevered and by 1972 had largely completed a circuit which followed the contours of the land. Set in a natural bowl, the track features a substantial amount of altitude change - the largest of any track in France - and, unusually, runs anti-clockwise.
Still there were obstacles to overcome. The FFSA (France's motor sport federation) stepped in to demand changes before the circuit could be licensed, so it wasn't until 1973 that it opened for business. Even then, only small scale events were held and it wasn't until 1977 that national championships arrived.
Since those early days, the circuit has flourished, these days under the control of Sylvie and her three children, with an annual Turnover of € 2.6 million, of which € 700,000 is reinvested each year in circuit maintenance. In operation for 300 days a year, it is a bustling club venue which also hosts rounds of the French GT, touring car and superbike championships.