The track was built in the 1950s on the site of a former training camp used by US troops in the run-up to the Normandy landings. Opened in 1953, it was 2.4 km long and was almost rectangular in shape.
The earliest competitions hosted included the International Gold Cup non-championship races for Formula 1 cars, with the best drivers and teams of the period taking part.
There are currently three possible layouts: the International Circuit, the full track measuring 4.5 km, the 3.6 km Island Circuit added in the 1960s, and a more current one, the 2.7 km Foster’s circuit.
The full version of the track features rapidly changing slopes, blind ridges and lots of tight turns. The first turn, Old Hall Corner, leads into Dentons, before the drivers head into Cascades, a long downhill left turn. The Island Bend is also speedy and leads to Shell Oils Corner, suitable for attacks. Then comes Brittens corner, leading to Hilltop, the highest part of the circuit, just before the Hislop chicane introduced in 1991 to reduce speed on the downhill approach to Knickerbrook corner. This is followed by two right turns, Druids Corner and Lodge Corner before the final straight.