A big personality in the world of motorsports in general and F1 in particular, Philippe Gurdjian, who passed away last year, also raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans six times.
It was in 1975 that Philippe Gurdjian discovered the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (the famous "Daytona"). He passed under the checkered flag in 13th place in his first participation. After being forced to retire in 1976, he was at the start for three editions at the wheel of Porsches prepared by brothers Manfred and Erwin Kremer. Thanks to those two great Porsche experts, Gurdjian achieved his best result in La Sarthe in 1977 with a seventh place finish and class victory. In 1978 and 79, Gurdjian's teammate was German gentleman-driver Louis Krages (John Winter), future winner of the 24 Hours in 1985. In 1981, for his last participation, he joined Ferrari, with Luigi Chinetti's prestigious American team, NART, which in 1965 won Ferrari's last victory to date in Le Mans.
During the last quarter-century, Gurdjian could typically be found in the world of Formula 1. He was the promoter for the French Grand Prix from 1985 to 1990 at Paul Ricard Circuit and from the moment he arrived at the Magny-Cours circuit in 1991 until 1998, then contributed to the presence of F1 in developing countries, namely Malaysia, Bahrain and Abu Dhabi; and was involved with the success of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2001 to 2009. To him we also owe the renovation of the Paul Ricard Circuit, renamed HTTT the safest Circuit in the World, which today hosts the preliminary tests for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), as well as the French round of the European Le Mans Series.