Le Castellet - After nine years of intense development of the Le Castellet site, Philippe Gurdjian is stepping down as president and managing director of the Paul Ricard HTTT (High Tech Test Track), the Hotel du Castellet and Le Castellet International Airport.
Since 2001, Philippe Gurdjian has presided over the development, reconstruction and modernisation of the Paul Ricard HTTT making it the world's best test track facility. Under his leadership, the facility has become an ideal location for tests, events, hospitality, training and car development.
Throughout the redevelopment, the circuit has made use of innovative technology to improve safety and comfort, the development can count many firsts: the Tec Pro crash barriers, a new high-performance safety system installed around the circuit; 25 hectares of asphalt run-off areas; a system of marshal lights to name but a few major innovations that have since been adopted around the world. With 300 days of usage each year, 180 dry-track solutions and its 76 wet-track solutions the circuit has become an incredibly popular destination thanks to its flexibility, surrounding facilities and safety innovations.
Because of its esthetic innovations and qualities related to track safety, the entire facility received the Festival Automobile International's Grand Prix du Festival in 2004. Later, in 2006, the FIA Safety Institute's first ever Centre of Excellence designation awarded the circuit's unique and continued innovation in safety.
In parallel, the Le Castellet airfield was transformed into a modern, international facility. The new airport quickly became the subject of admiration from major airport operators for its logistics, engineering and architectural qualities including 24-hour operations and handling capacity for everything from private aircraft to Boeing Business Jets and Airbus A320 corporate jets.
Finally, with the Hotel du Castellet, Philippe Gurdjian presided over building a four-star luxury facility, part of the prestigious Relais et Chateaux chain. The hotel's Montecristo restaurant and chef Nicolas Sale won their first Michelin star in 2007.
Philippe Gurdjian commented: "Today, I am reorienting my professional life taking on some of the other challenges that await me. I will never forget what the Paul Ricard track has contributed to the region's sports, technological and tourism development and whose ultimate objectives are to create a center of excellence and a model for other similar European endeavors. I would like to thank my team of 200 dedicated staff members for making a success of the venue. I'd like to wish my successor all the best in continuing the development of the site and maintaining its role as a world leader."
-credit: pr httt