A race circuit opened to the spectators. Since 2009 the circuit Paul Ricard is again linked to competition and racing. Homologated by FIA, FFSA & FFM, the track hosts official car and motorbike races. According to the latest generation security standards and equipped with topof-the-range facilities, the circuit Paul Ricard chose to professionalize its rescue teams. To supervise races, the automotive sporting association (ASAC) of the Var Region guarantees the respect of sports rules. 10 to 20 events open to spectators are planned on the track each year. The Paul Ricard circuit is back to its original vocation as a major place for motorsports.
In 1970, Paul Ricard (1909-1997) created the circuit, which to this day bears his name. The historic venue would be the venue of many classic national and international races including 14 Formula One French Grand Prix, 22 Bols d’Or events, and 12 World Motorcycle Championship Grand Prix. The place quickly achieved legendary status for motorcycle racing fans throughout the world, with the famous performances of riders such as Frenchman Raymond Roche, who carved his name into Bol d’Or history, or the American Eddie Lawson, four times World Champion and multiple winner of the French GP. In car racing, the circuit would achieve its glory days in the 1980s with the achievements of the biggest champions of the modern era: Alain Prost (four wins), Nigel Mansell (two wins) or the Brazilians Nelson Piquet and Ayrton Senna. Right from its creation, the circuit was ahead of its time, offering unparalleled infrastructure and safety facilities. Unfortunately, due to a lack of investment the circuit was unable to maintain its standing on the international scene.
In May 1999, Excelis S.A. company acquired the Paul Ricard circuit and decided to turn it into the world’s premier circuit dedicated exclusively to testing and communication: the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track. Philippe Gurdjian was asked to take in charge the renovation and the modernisation of the Paul Ricard circuit. He undertook an ambitious programme of work designed to make Paul Ricard “a model for all the world’s circuits” and his stated objectives are to be simultaneously “avant-garde, new, high-tech and creative.” In the design of the Paul Ricard HTTT, nothing has been left to chance; new solutions were invented in all aspects. The work began mid-April 2001, immediately after the international media launch of the Toyota F1 team. It was a complex operation with as many as 1,200 people working simultaneously on the circuit, and over 80 per cent of the work was completed with local business from the Var and the Bouches-du-Rhône departments. Simultaneously renovation work of the Le Castellet International Airport was going on. Having begun in May 2001, it was completed by December that same year. The complete reconstruction of the Castellet Hotel began on 1st July 2001 and was completed in early 2002.
After some ten years of research and developments, of exclusive meetings and club races, the new direction at the Paul Ricard circuit, decides to re-open its doors to spectators and official races. New grandstands are built and the third volume of the history of the Paul Ricard circuit begins. The return of racing is a true success.
Viewed from the sky, the Paul Ricard resembles an abstract painting. The most striking visual innovation of the circuit is the Blue Line™ concept which combines creativity with improving visibility on the track. The coloured zones, which mark the border, allow teams to make the most of their track time and give drivers the reassurance of the circuit’s safety provisions. Replacing the traditional gravel traps, or grass verges, the asphalt run-off consists of numerous levels of abrasiveness:
these run-off zones are situated on each side of the circuit, marked by blue lines. These offer more grip than the actual track to slow down vehicles safely. The driver can then rejoin the track immediately after going off without sustaining any damage to his vehicle.
These are situated beyond the blue zones. They are the most abrasive and are designed to stop a car from colliding with the safety barrier – the concept is known as ‘coalgrip’.
white colour markings denote zones, which do not present any danger.
to ensure a driver does not profit from cutting a corner and does not use the run-off area on the inside of certain bends. This is a red, synthetic Astroturf lawn. In addition the quality of the paint used for track markings was the subject of detailed research to ensure it would not adversely affect the grip levels of the run-off, which cover a total surface area of 25 hectares. On the majority of the circuit, ‘Melbourne’ type kerbs were installed. To optimise the test conditions for the teams, other types of kerbs, ‘Vallelunga’ style, were installed on different corners of the circuit.
Circuit Paul Ricard
RDN8 2760 Route des Hauts du Camp 83 330 Le Castellet FRANCE Tél. : +33 (0)494 983 666 firstname.lastname@example.org
Official Website – www.circuitpaulricard.com
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