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History of the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet

A short history of the Circuit du Castellet / Circuit Paul Ricard

Thanks to the international renown of the Circuit du Castellet – Circuit Paul Ricard, our town of Le Beausset has become equally well known, since the circuit is only 10 minutes away and the main access to it is via Le Beausset.
Our bed and breakfast Une Pause en Provence is the ideal place to stay for events organized at the circuit, because it’s just 15 minutes away and yet so quiet in the pine forest.
Our secure parking lot offers peace of mind for our customers’ beautiful cars!

Building the Circuit Paul Ricard

At the end of the 60s, Paul Ricard, inventor of the drink of the same name and at the same time a great patron of sport in France, retired from professional life.
He bought over a thousand hectares of sun-drenched garrigue on a plateau in the Var, on the heights of Le Castellet, between Signes and Le Beausset, not far from Toulon and Marseille, where he had already built an airfield.

His project? Build a ” stadium” automobile stadium as modern as possible, with international dimensions and strict safety standards.

In 1970, the Paul Ricard circuit was built in just a few months and inaugurated (5.8 km of track).

Important dates at Circuit du Castellet

1971: 1st French Formula 1 Grand Prix
1973: 1st French Motorcycle Grand Prix
1975: 1st International Truck Grand Prix
1978: 1st Bol d’Or
1990: Last French F1 Grand Prix for the Magny Cours circuit
1997: death of Paul Ricard
1999: Bernie Ecclestone buys the circuit

What happens next?

Financial difficulties and the loss of major events (French Motorcycle Grand Prix, Bol d’Or, Superbike World Championship…) led to the circuit being redesigned as the world’s 1st circuit dedicated to testing and communication.
It then became the Circuit Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track.

It then continues its transformation and modernization, entering an era of innovation, meeting new safety standards and redefining certain activities. New bends are created, while others are removed or modernized, offering a wide range of configurations.

In 2006, it was homologated by the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile).

In 2009, reopening to the public ten years after the last race in the presence of the public, for various car and motorcycle competitions, club rides, private or professional trials, etc…
That same year, the 1st Sunday Ride Classic brought the bike back to the Castellet circuit.

The development work continues with the creation of grandstands, the redevelopment of existing facilities, the creation of parking areas and green spaces….

2014 sees the return of the Grand Prix Camions.

In 2015, the Bol d’Or returns after a 15-year absence.

The French F1 GP returns in 2018

And in 2018, the event many have been waiting for: the return of the Formula 1 French Grand Prix.

This year, in June 2021, another eagerly-awaited event will take place: the Grand Prix de France Historique, which has been held at the Magny Cours circuit for the past two years.
The event brings together some 70 Formula 1 cars from the 50’s to the 90’s, to celebrate motorsport heritage over 3 days.
These races will also feature Formula 2, Formula 3, Formula Junior, Formula Renault, Formula Ford and Sports Protos from the 60s and 70s.

The Circuit du Castellet – Circuit Paul Ricard is also :

The circuit also includes the XTrem Park (a leisure park offering go-karting, quad biking, zip-wire courses, a simulator, a children’s area…).
as well as the Driving Center (driving courses and corporate events) and , and a Motorcycle and Scooter Training School

And, of course, the Castellet aerodrome, now known as Castellet International Airport.