Jean-Pierre Paoli

Jean-Pierre Paoli was a racing enthusiast who in the late 1960s was running the Bendor glass factory when he applied for the job as director of the Paul Ricard racing circuit. He impressed Paul Ricard, the circuit owner, was hired and soon afterwards - at the age of 33 - he made his competition debut, driving in Formula Renault with the works Martini team, which was known as BP Racing. His team mates were Jacques Laffite and Claude Michy. Laffite won the title but Paoli did a remarkable job, finishing third in his second race and ended the year fourth in the series. He moved up to French Formula 3 with Laffite the following year and finished second on his debut at the old Nurburgring. In the French series that year he won at La Chatre and scored a string of other good results both in France and Britain and so in 1974 he and Laffite moved into Formula 2 with BP-supported March-BMW 742s. In Mugello he finished second to Patrick Depailler.Throughout his brief racing career Paoli continued to manage Paul Ricard until 1981 when he was appointed the team manager of the Ligier Formula 1 team. He remained in that position until Guy Ligier sold the team at the end of 1992 and agreed to stay on to help Cyril de Rouvre take it over. In May 1993 he quit Ligier and went off to establish a sponsorship-hunting agency.His son Philippe was briefly a racer, winning the Volant Elf prize at the Winfield School at Paul Ricard in 1981. The youngster did not, however, make much of an impression in Formula Renault.