JUNE 25, 2007
Paul Ricard for sale?
Bernie Ecclestone is rumoured to have put his Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track at Le Castellet, near Toulon, up for sale. Ecclestone has owned the track since 1999, through a company called Excelis, which is run by Philippe Gurdjian. Since then the circuit has been redeveloped into one of the most advanced facilities in the world. The company has also upgraded the Le Castellet Aerodrome to take executive jets and the Hotel du Castellet has been turned into a top-quality hotel and conference centre.
The investment involved to achieve all this has been considerable and it seems that Ecclestone now wants to cash in, presumably hoping that a car manufacturer or a promotional company will buy the facility and make a profit using it for testing, presentations and launches.
There have often been rumours that the track might one day be able to host the French GP once again but the poor road access and the proximity to the Mediterranean beaches, coupled with a lack of sufficient hotels means this is unlikely. There are also no spectator facilities left.
The facility boasts a top level karting facility and a skid pan, in addition to one of the most advanced medical facilities to be found at any racing circuit.
Paul Ricard hosted a total of 14 Grands Prix between 1971 and 1990 when the race moved away to Magny-Cours.
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