Veteran Grand Prix promoter Philippe Gurdjian has died at the age of 69. A former racing driver, Gurdjian was subsequently better known as the promoter of the French Grand Prix, before later going on to aid Bernie Ecclestone in the sport’s expansion into Asia.
Born in Paris, Gurdjian’s initial work was in advertising. He also raced in his spare time, competing in the 24 Hours of Le Mans no less than seven times in the 1970s and 1980s.
His association with Formula 1 began in 1985 when he became the promoter of the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard, and he remained in the post – even when the event moved to Magny Cours in 1991 – for thirteen years.
Gurdjian subsequently became the promoter of the Spanish Grand Prix, and later spearheaded Formula 1’s push into Malaysia and Abu Dhabi, in addition to trying to mastermind a return to racing in Africa. He also oversaw the transformation of the Paul Ricard circuit into its current state-of-the-art testing facility standards.
Image via Yas Marina Circuit