Yesterday, the racing world was shocked and saddened by the passing of Philippe Charriol following an accident at Circuit Paul Ricard. Despite receiving immediate attention from the skilled on-site medical team and doctors at Timone hospital in Marseille, he passed away late on Wednesday at the age of 77.
A true racing enthusiast with boundless passion for his sport, Philippe was the founder of the successful luxury watch and jewellery brand that continues to bear his name.
An industry leader in his professional life, Philippe also made a significant mark in the motor racing arena. He was instrumental in the growth of the series organised by Stephane Ratel during the nineteen-nineties and subsequently became a close friend of the SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO.
On the circuit Philippe was a committed and experienced driver, competing in such championships as the Venturi Gentleman Drivers Trophy, Lamborghini Supertrophy and BPR Global GT Series.
He also introduced his brand to the sport as the title sponsor of the Philippe Charriol Super Sport Trophy and Philippe Charriol Lamborghini Supertrophy between 1995 and 1999. In doing so, he made an essential contribution to the early forays of SRO Motorsports Group that continues to be felt to today.
More recently, Philippe was part of the new era of GT racing when he competed in the early seasons of the FIA GT3 European Championship, piloting a Corvette Z06.R in the burgeoning series. Philippe remained a close friend of Stephane Ratel and the SRO family while running in other series, including the VdeV category where he had planned to race once again this season.
Away from the circuit, Philippe was a significant contributor to the arts world through his Philippe Charriol Foundation, which supports developing painters and sculptors across the globe.
“I was shocked and saddened to learn of Philippe’s passing,” said Stephane Ratel. “He was a committed gentleman driver in the very best sense, enjoying his passion for the sport on the circuit while supporting others wherever possible.
“He made a very real contribution to the growth of SRO Motorsports Group during its early days, which will not be forgotten. More than this, however, I was honoured to call him a friend.
“I would like to offer my sincerest condolences to Philippe’s wife and three children at this difficult time. I know that he will be greatly missed by them and by his many friends throughout the racing world.”