Paul Ricard is currently regarded as the safest race track in the world. Having first been built in 1969 by the eccentric drinks magnate, Paul Ricard. (Hence the name!) The circuit then had 3 configurations, as well as an airstrip which made it popular for testing. Consisting of several high speed straights, it remains popular for testing. In its time the track has had two major modifications after two deaths at the track. In 1999 Bernie Ecclestones company bought the circuit, and gave it a new lease of life, and renamed as the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track. Run off areas at the circuit are the first in the world to feature a highly abrasive safety zones to replace the gravel traps.