Val de Vienne
The Val de Vienne circuit at Le Vigeant in western central France opened in 1990 and has carved a solid reputation as a venue for national-level motorsport.
Tight and technical, the track was much improved in 2008 by the creation of a long sweeping back straight, which before had been punctuated by a chicane.
The circuit has a total of four layout variations, two of which can be run simultaneously.
Built by the Pays Montmorillonnais and financed by several local authorities, the circuit opened in 1990 and received its first major series two years later with the visit of the French Supertouring Championship. French Superbikes followed a short time thereafter and the circuit has remained a popular part of the national racing calendar ever since.
Always renowned as a technical circuit with a number of tight and medium speed corners, Val du Vienne was upgraded in time for the 2008 season by the addition of a new curve bypassing the 'pif-paf' chicane. This created a high speed run from Turn 5 (Trop Vite) to Le Buisson corner, which was itself slightly widened with an enlarged run-off area. In addition, the final turn was tightened and a new pit lane entrance installed. The upgrades allowed the track to be certified as an FIA Grade 2 circuit, allowing it to host all categories below Formula One. It retained that homologation until the end of 2021.
Val de Vienne was originally operated under the auspices of the regional council, but in January 2012 a new organisation won the rights to operate the circuit for the next 20 years. The Les Deux Arbres (Two Trees) group is headed by Larbre Racing boss Jack Leconte (whose team is based just outside the circuit gates) and OAK Racing boss Jacques Nicolet.
The new management announced plans for a €1.2 million plan to upgrade facilities at the circuit over three years. Among the innovations this brought was a renovated control tower with a video control room, which has 32 cameras covering the whole circuit and surroundings. It is the first track in Europe to benefit from full HD technology.
Today the facility boasts a very busy calendar including superbikes, a round of the French GT championship, touring cars, a Ferrari meet and several smaller events throughout the year. The circuit is also home to its own driving school and a branch of the De Radigues Motorcycle Rider School.