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Gilles Villeneuve, 1982 18/01/1950, Gilles Joseph Henri Villeneuve is born in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada.

A few weeks after his Formula 1 debut in Silverstone with McLaren, Villeneuve received a phone call from Enzo Ferrari and a month later was a Ferrari driver making his debut for the team at Mosport Park. At his second race in Japan he had a huge accident, cartwheeling off the track. Two spectators were killed but Villeneuve was unhurt. He won his first F1 GP, the Canadian GP in Montreal the following year and in 1979 the South African, the Long Beach US-GP the other North American race at Watkins Glen, finishing the season as runner-up to team-mate Jody Scheckter in the standings. Most memorable moment: The epic whell-banging battle with Rene Arnoux at the French GP in Dijon.

After a disastruous 1980 season Villeneuve won at Monaco and in Spain, where he held off a string of cars to win an amazing victory. In 1982 at Imola he was leading until the last lap when his Ferrari team mate Didier Pironi, who was under team orders not to overtake, ignored the instruction and snatched the victory. Villeneuve was furious. Two weeks later at Zolder while trying to take pole position he ran into the back of Jochen Mass’s Rothmans March, the cartwheeling Ferrari broke apart throwing Villeneuve out of the cockpit into a catchfence killing him instantly.

Born: 18th of January 1950 in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada;
Died: 8th of May 1982 at Zolder circuit, Belgium, aged 32.

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3 thoughts on “Remembering Gilles Villeneuve

  1. Hi Mario,

    I drove by the town where Gilles grew-up (Berthierville,QC) on my way to Quebec City several times. There is a museum dedicated to him which unfortunately I never had the chance to stop by for a visit.
    Maybe this summer……..

  2. Well, I’ve been in Gilles’ museum in 1997. It’s not as fabulous as you might expect, it’s rather, erm, basic. But it’s still interesting as it gives you an insight into what this mad kid was like. Videos oh Gilles blasting about the neighbourhood with his Camaro (or was it a Firbird? Not sure…) and a lot of memorabilia from the days before he became a Ferrari star still make it worthwhile to visit.

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