More content coming up as Circuit De Charade and Crosslé cars will be heading to Raceroom in early December.
Circuit De Charade along with Crosslé cars will be making their way to RaceRoom in early December bringing some classics to the festive season of treats.
What you’ll get are two very different driving experiences on one absolutely stunning circuit. From Crosslé we have their 90F single seater matched with the 9S classic prototype. And with Charade you can drive them in their natural habitat, as the two models are part of the renowned Classic Racing School that’s based at the track.
France is rightly seen as the birthplace of motorsport: there are over 90 circuits on record as being used for racing over the last century, from small scratch circuits set up to race between local villages at the turn of the 20th century to the enduring legend that is Le Mans. But Charade deserves to be up there with the best: it’s an absolute driver’s paradise.
The Charade track is one of Europe’s unsung gems. Tucked amongst the folds of Massif Central’s (thankfully extinct) volcanoes near Clermont-Ferrand in the centre of France, the current layout is a cut-down version of the original fearsome giant that carved 8km into the mountains and was home to the French Grand Prix on and off through the ’60s and ‘70s. The current 4km layout was created in 1989, preserving the mighty challenge of the original while creating a more compact and useable circuit. And if you out-brake yourself into Turn 2, you’ll end up on the public roads that still mark out the old Grand Prix circuit!
It’s a tight and twisty track, a roller-coaster ride up and down the local peak. The fast run through the opening sector puts you at the bottom of the climb uphill, through off-camber switchbacks that you have to learn to thread with precision – and in the Crosslés, grace. A carousel curve at the crest then throws you into a sequence of fast sweepers back down to the start of the lap. It’s a blast. It’s the definition of a driver’s track.
The pair of Crosslés we’re featuring were developed specifically for the Classic Racing School at Charade. The 90F authentically recreates the feel of a 1960s Formula Ford: it’s a modern build based on the 1969 Crosslé 16F, integrating modern safety standards and reliability but delivering all the same raw driving sensations as the original. FFs are always lauded by purists as the ultimate single seater experience for the masses. Simple and uncomplicated, inputs are direct and immediate; grip is mechanical – there’s zero aero to worry about, so it’s all about the balance of your left and right feet combined with the feelings in your backside. Which is crazily close to the ground! This is a tiny car.
The 90F is a compact package, but it’s also fast. Shockingly fast. It can lap Charade at the pace as a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, for example – which in Raceroom will be a good target to aim at. It may only deliver 110bhp from its 2.0-litre Zetec engine and have four gears, but in a car that weighs just 420kg you don’t need anything else. Dismiss a car like this at your peril: it doesn’t get much more visceral.
The 9S has a similar historical background. The original car was developed to compete in Group 6 races in the mid-‘60s, and Crosslé continue to produce it in exactly the same spec. Like the 90F it features a Zetec engine, but this twin-cam is tuned to 220bhp, giving you a lot more power to play with. You’ll have an extra gear to play with, plus a limited slip diff to help with handling.
It drives with quite a neutral feel, even though it uses road tyres and is over-powered compared to grip. It’s a relatively easy car to pilot: forgiving for beginners, exhilarating for experts. We’d recommend jumping in this before the 90F for that reason: it’s more pliant and stable to start in, while having the same kind of raw, old school feeling to it.
The 9S is a car that you can instantly jump in and be quite quick in – but one where it will take time to discover the ultimate performance. And that’s where the enjoyment comes in: this is not a car you’ll likely be firing off at the first corner. Or the second one at Charade, even if you wanted to find the old Grand Prix track…
The Crosslé 90F and 9S, along with the Charade race track, are part of Raceroom’s Drivers Pack, which will be available in early December.