Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Gilles Villeneuve memorial

Gilles Villeneuve won only six of his 67 grands prix and has not a single world championship to his name. History, though, goes beyond numbers and will remember the diminutive French Canadian as one of the sport's greatest competitors.
Perhaps Villeneuve's finest moment was his performance in a sodden practice session for the US Grand Prix East at Watkins Glen in 1979. His Ferrari team-mate Jody Scheckter, the new world champion, was confident of being comfortably fastest, until he looked at the timesheets; Villeneuve was over 9.5 seconds quicker.
A horrific accident in qualifying for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix ultimately claimed Villeneuve's life. Speaking at his funeral Scheckter said: "I will miss Gilles for two reasons. First, he was the fastest driver in the history of motor racing. Second, he was the most genuine man I have ever known."

Gilles VilleneuveGilles Villeneuve
was born in Quebec on 18 January, 1950. He rose up through snowmobile racing and Formula Atlantic. In fact he credits some of his success to his snowmobiling days: "Every winter, you would reckon on three or four big spills - and I'm talking about being thrown on to the ice at 100 mph. Those things used to slide a lot, which taught me a great deal about control. And the visibility was terrible! Unless you were leading, you could see nothing, with all the snow blowing about. Good for the reactions - and it stopped me having any worries about racing in the rain." In 1976 he dominated the Formula Atlantic championship with an Ecurie Canada team so impoverished that he was forced into the role of spectator at the Mosport race because the team couldn't afford to field an entry. This impressive performance against daunting odds earned him a great deal of notice and a spot with McLaren.