FEBRUARY 27, 2006

French GP banks on pop idol

The 2005 French Grand Prix was launched today in Paris with news that the event, which will mark the 100th anniversary of Grand Prix racing - will feature a unique musical event with Roger Waters, the creative talent behind Pink Floyd, performing The Dark Side of the Moon. Recorded in 1972, Dark Side of the Moon was one of the most innovative records of the 1970s featuring the latest audio technology available at the time. The album spent 491 weeks in the US charts and is the longest-running chart LP of all time. Waters, who will be joined for the concert by fellow Pink Floyd member Nick Mason, has not performed the entire album on stage since 1974. The concert will also feature songs from other Pink Floyd albums and from his own solo career.

The concert will take place on Friday July 14 - the annual French Bastille Day national holiday. A complete range of tickets is available with a special combination race-concert ticket on sale for 100 Euros ($118). Ticket sales to this event will begin tomorrow.

The race meeting will feature F1, GP2, a Porsche Super Cup race, a BMW Mini Challenge event plus a race of F1 cars from the 1960s and 1970s. In addition there will be a special centennial parade of historic Grand Prix cars, the chance for a spectator to ride around the circuit with Michael Schumacher, air displays and static exhibitions.

"By a fortunate twist of fate the French GP this year coincides with the French national holiday and will feature an exceptional concert," says Jacques Regis, the head of the Federation Francaise du Sport Automobile . "The Nevers-Magny Cours circuit promises to be the location for a great festival of automobile racing eagerly awaited by fans in France and the whole of Europe."

The FFSA also reported its results from the 2005 with 180,000 spectators over the three days, an increase in 14% over 2004. Only 11% of the fans were from outside France and the FFSA is making a big effort this year to draw in more foreign fans, particularly as the Belgian Grand Prix has been axed. The FFSA is increasing its foreign promotion with shows and exhibitions in Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and hope that the July 14 weekend will attract more visitors to Magny-Cours as people travel south for the annual summer holiday period.