News from France reveals that former ACO Président, Michel Cosson, passed away at the weekend at the age of 90. I wrote this a while back:
It emerged during race week that Président Cosson would step down at the end of the year. Cosson had been at the heart of the great revival of the ACO and the 24 Hours; when he took control in 1992 there were just 28 starters, the World Championship was dead, and the race’s future was uncertain. These events had a knock-on effect on spectator attendance that dipped to around 110,000 in 1993. Cosson later declared that bankruptcy was a distinct possibility that the ACO faced at the time. Decisive leadership, and making the race independent of the FIA, allowed the club to recover and prosper, going from strength to strength. Cosson navigated a course that stabilised the finances of the ACO with the local governing administrations taking full ownership of the facility, leaving the ACO to concentrate on the competitions side of their business. He also pursued a strategy of expansion beyond the 24 Hours and the American Le Mans Series was the result of this policy. It was followed by the European Le Mans Series in 2001, that was successfully relaunched in 2004 as the Le Mans Endurance Series. The Le Mans Classic was introduced in 2002 and instantly became one of the premier events in the historic racing calendar. On the motorcycle front the French Grand Prix returned to the Bugatti circuit in 2000, where it remains to the present day. The ACO in particular, and the endurance motorsport community in general, owe a great deal to the achievements of Michel Cosson.