Now owned and operated as a test facility by Mr B (Bernie Ecclestone), this 3.8km former F1 track was built in 1969 and last saw action in 1990 after which the French Grand Prix moved to Magny Cours. Named after the eccentric drinks magnate Paul Ricard, who financed it with liquor profits, it was sold in 1999 to Mr B after Paul Ricard’s death.
For many years it was considered to be the safest motor racing facility in the world. It also had a certain ambience, great surroundings and not least, according to visiting drivers, the best and most challenging blast along the roads that lead into/away from the circuit. Sometimes it was considered more fun than race day itself.
By Phil Clark