MotorSport Vision boss Jonathan Palmer wants to turn his newly acquired aerodrome into a playground for high-performance road cars
Matt Burt
13 November 2015

MotorSport Vision chief Jonathan Palmer has laid out his plans to turn his newly acquired French air force base into an expansive automotive complex for motor racing and high-speed road car driving.

Palmer confirmed earlier this week that he had successfully concluded negotiations for the freehold purchase of Laon-Couvron aerodrome, a former military airbase located five miles north-west of the city of Laon in the Picardy region of France, just north of Reims.

The site extends to 1263 acres and includes two former runways - one of which is 3000m long - together with extensive perimeter roads and apron areas.

A subsidiary company called MSV France will redevelop the army base into a motorsport village, Laon Autodrome, with the focus being a five-mile circuit that will feature a 1.5-mile main straight where top speeds in excess of 200mph will be possible.

The driving facilities will include a number of circuits as well as a 1000m asphalt oval track, drag strip, rally stages, 4x4 courses and an extensive urban road driving centre for young driver and professional driver training. Vehicle workshops and garages will be available for permanent and temporary use, together with hospitality facilities, restaurants and guest accommodation both as hotels and apartments for lease or sale.

Palmer - whose company already owns Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and Bedford Autodrome in the UK – said the facility will be a mecca for drivers of supercars and other high-performance vehicles.

"Driving activity at Laon Autodrome will mainly feature high performance road car driving, with track days and manufacturer promotional events, but also a new PalmerSport Europe corporate/private driving event,” explained the former F1 racer. "We are also planning on four race weekend events each year, slated for GT and sports prototype cars, historic cars, general club racing and motorcycles."

“Clever motor manufacturers are continuing to produce ever more brilliant super-high-performance cars and yet there is hardly anywhere to truly savour their amazing performance in safety and without excessive running costs.

“Laon Autodrome will be the perfect place with a very long straight to enable top speeds to be achieved, the exhilaration of fast sweeping corners to be enjoyed, but with no tight hairpins or chicanes which, though producing great overtaking on an F1 circuit, expensively stress and fade brakes on road cars.

“Of course there will be many other activities too, such as some racing and corporate events, but this will be the track’s unique selling point.

“With the extensive engineering workshop space available alongside the driving circuits, we also believe Laon Autodrome will prove a very attractive base for automotive engineering companies and race teams who value an accessible central-European base."

Phase one of the Laon Autodrome circuit complex is planned to open in April 2018, with construction starting in spring 2017, after completion of the studies for the required authorisations and permits.

Laon-Couvron airfield opened originally in 1938 as a French Air Force base but by 1940 it was under the control of the Luftwaffe. After the war the US Air Force took over Laon-Couvron, with an expanded and rebuilt airbase opening in 1954, used for nuclear deterrent bomber activity.

The USAF pulled out in 1967 and in 1980 the airbase was then occupied by the French army, which located more than 1000 personnel there until the facility finally closed in 2012.

Our Verdict

Ferrari 488 GTB

Can the turbocharged successor to the 458 raise the bar again?

Join the debate

Comments
3

289

13 November 2015
Clever man Dr Palmer.
This will be a fantastic site, and given the increasing clamp down on speeding on the roads of Europe (Germany must be on borrowed time), this will be the only way to make sense of buying supercars ....unless you are one of the mindless idiots who buy them to fry the clutches and cooling systems whilst driving around town in 1st &2nd gear revving the guts out of them.
The design of the circuit is clever too, as Palmer rightly points out that current racing circuits overwhelm even supercar brakes in just a few laps. Hopefully this is far enough away from residential areas to avoid the usual 'local revolt' over noise
I truly wish him every success with this.

15 November 2015
But why not use the full 3 km for the straight? Today's megacars probably need at least that distance before they are approaching v-max.

11 August 2016
Noorani Travel is one of the most reliable and experienced travel agency leading thousand of travelers
to the Holy journey. We feel very blessed that Allah (SWT) gave us the Holy opportunity of serving our
United Kingdom's Muslim brothers and sister for Holy journey of Umrah and Hajj. We have the best umrah and
hajj professional consultants and agents. We have 24/7 online support and consultancy for
our customers on just a single call. Feel free to call us or you can book online through our website.
We have 3,4,5 star Hajj and Umrah packages or you can choose within your budget with our wide range of packages.
TEL :0208-819-3505
Visit us for more Details : www.nooranitravel.co.uk

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK