24 Hours of Le Mans - Philippe Gurdjian (1945-2014)

24 Hours of Le Mans - Philippe Gurdjian (1945-2014)

A big personality in the world of motorsports in general and F1 in particular, Philippe Gurdjian, who passed away last week, 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 promotor for the Grand Prix of France 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 and Abu Dhabi. To him we also owe the renovation of the Paul Ricard circuit, rebaptized HTTT, 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 (on Sunday, September 14th this year).

To the family and loved ones of this major player in last 40 years' of motorsports, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest expresses its sincerest condolences.

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