Philippe Gurdjian had died at the age of 69. He was the promoter of the French Grand Prix for 13 years and went on to aid Bernie Ecclestone in setting up races in a number of other countries as F1 expanded into Asia.
Born in the Paris area in 1945, he started his career in advertising while racing in his spare time, competing in the Le Mans 24 Hours seven times between 1976 and 1986 with Porsches and Ferraris. In 1985 he was appointed promoter and organiser of the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard. When the race moved to Magny Cours in 1991 Gurdjian transferred with it and ran the race at the track near Nevers until he was removed in 1998. A close ally of Bernie Ecclestone, he went on to organise the Spanish GP for a period, helped set up the races in Malaysia and Abu Dhabi and oversaw the transformation of Paul Ricard into the testing facility it is today. Less well publicised were his efforts to find a venue for F1 in Africa, notably in Morocco. He was rewarded for his efforts with many awards, notably a French Order of Merit.
He also wrote a book about painting.