Former Peugeot sports car team manager Serge Saulnier is leaving the French manufacturer to become boss of the Magny-Cours circuit.
The 57-year-old Frenchman, who joined Peugeot Sport at the start of the 908 turbodiesel program in 2006, will take up the role of the chairman of the French track's operating company at the start of next month. The move coincides with ex-Formula 1 team owner Guy Ligier taking a 34-percent stake in the company.
Saulnier said: "I came to Peugeot three and a half years ago with the goal of winning the Le Mans 24 Hours. We built the team step by step and achieved victory last year. I felt it was the end of the story for me. I needed a new challenge.
"Magny-Cours is a big part of my motorsport life. I arrived at 18 as Jacques Laffite's mechanic, I did the Winfield racing school at the track and built my team [Promatecme/Saulnier Racing] here. I even met my wife at Magny-Cours."
The first target, according to Saulnier, is "to return the track to profitability", the next is to try "to bring back the French Grand Prix."
"Guy is blue to his heart and believes it is important to bring back the French GP," added Saulnier. "We do not think that the F1 story is finished for Magny-Cours."
Magny-Cours, which hosted the grand prix from 1991-2008, is the only viable option for the French Formula 1 fixture, according to Saulnier. He suggested that it is "politically and financially almost impossible" for a new circuit to be built near Paris.
The plan "would need backers to make it happen," according to Saulnier. He said that a 2012 return for the French GP was possible.
Saulnier's role with Peugeot Sport in 2010 had been to liaise with the ORECA team, which will run a privateer 908 HDi in the Le Mans Series and at Le Mans. His role as team manager has been taken by Sven Smeets after a rationalization of the Peugeot and Citroen competition departments.