Gilles Villeneuve


Without a doubt, since auto racing has existed in the world, many interesting and enigmatic stories have been born with its racing drivers. One of them can be found in Gilles Villeneuve , who, without achieving a championship, became one of the most famous riders , one of the most beloved and an idol for many fans of his category.


Personal information

  • When was he born: 01/18/1950
  • Where he was born: Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Canada
  • When he died: 05/08/1982
  • Where he died: UZ Leuven Campus St. Rafael, Leuven, Belgium

Who was Gilles Villeneuve?

Gilles Villeneuve is considered one of the most recognized and important car drivers to have participated in Formula 1. Fearless, fearless and determined, he had a unique style to drive his cars, managing to impress judges and fans.


What did

Gilles Villeneuve was an excellent driver who was not afraid of anything and who managed to fit in in his time among the most recognized Formula 1 drivers . He always considered that he raced not for money, but for the excitement , adrenaline and fun that the activity gave to his life. A Canadian who managed to break with the stereotype of racing, who rose very quickly in the world ranking and who participated in the hands of important companies, finally dying just three years after his start as a car driver, in one of the accidents that happen to be considered one of the most shockingand forts in the history of auto racing.


Gilles Villeneuve biography

He was born on January 18, 1950 in the city of Chambly , a small town located in Québec , Canada . Since he was a child, he showed a lot of interest in sports , mainly snow sports and it was at that moment that he discovered his true passion in life, speed. When he was 17 years old, he started practicing in cars, taking various speed tests .

In 1973 he had already managed to enter Formula Ford, in which he made two races and obtained victories. In 1974 , he started racing in Formula Atlantic and it was in 1976 that he achieved his greatest triumphs. Some time later, he was requested to work alongside McLaren, contesting several tests, for this, he was given an old car and with it, the pilot did wonders, he managed to reach and exceed all speed limits without losing control and with this he positioned himself as one of the best.

Accident and death of Gilles Villeneuve

On May 8, 1982 , while competing in the qualifying tests to advance to the Belgian Grand Prix at the Zolder Belgian circuit , the Ferrari drivers Gilles Villeneuve and Didier Pironi were competing and facing each other to arrive first . Pironi was occupying the sixth position while Villeneuve was in the eight position. Villeneuve was ordered to enter the pits when he was trying to overtake his opponent, however, he did not follow the orders and continued his march without braking.

He continued his route and went down the Terlamen curve very close to a small forest, he found the German Joachen Mass in front of him , who when observing him, decided to move to his right side with the aim of being able to face the curve that he had in front of the internal part, thinking that Gilles was going to take the path to the left, however, he did it the other way around, trying to pass Terlamen through the internal part, which is faster.

This situation caused the cars to collide with such a strong impact that Gilles ‘Ferrari flew through the air over Mass’s car. The accident happened because Gilles’ car had been hit by Mass’s front wheel , which caused it. rise to a distance of approximately 25 meters . This caused a spectacular fall on the asphalt, the car bounced and went back up into the air again.

At impact, the hooks of belts safety were loosened and the body of the pilot was ejected through the air with the seat still attached to his body traveling a distance of approximately 50 meters . His body hit the protection net and his neck, which no longer had protection, also received the impact. His body was found more than 100 meters away from the place where the accident had occurred.

He was given the necessary care on the spot and was taken to the medical center where they had already prepared a helicopter to take him to the Saint Raphael clinic in Lovania. In the TAC performed in the hospital, it was discovered serious injury in his trunk brain , the detachment of the cervical vertebrae and severe injuries at the base of his skull caused by the strong impact. His time of death was established at 21:12 hours . His wife authorized him to be disconnected from the machines that were keeping him alive.


His father was Seville Villeneuve .


He married Joan Barthe in 1970.


With his wife he had two children, Jacques and Melanie .


Gilles Villeneuve was important for the automotive world as he was one of the two drivers who raced for Ferrari . He was on a mission to become the first Canadian national car driver to become a world champion, however he was unable to do so.

Gilles Villeneuve achievements

Gilles Villeneuve managed to obtain a total of six victories in auto racing and a total of 13 podiums in Formula 1. He also held the position of world runner – up in 1979.


The Ferrari brand made several tributes in his honor, including the one made on May 8, 1982, 30 years after his death, when his son was asked to drive the 312 T4, the same car that his father had driven in 1979. One of the circuits of the Canadian Grand Prix , is named in his honor.

Presence in popular culture

In addition to being remembered by lovers of speed and by all drivers who race in Formula 1, beginners and advanced racers, it is possible to find a series of comics which was set in the world of motorsport. Despite being a fictional story, its author generally introduced several important characters from real life, including Guilles Villeneuve.

The Canadian rock and pop band known as The Box , based one of their songs on the death of the pilot. Some clips with his story and his accident can also be found on video channels .

Curiosities about Gilles Villeneuve

Some curiosities of Gilles Villeneuve are mentioned below.

  • In 1969 he managed to acquire a contract with Skiroule, starting to work as a mechanic and at the same time as a pilot.
  • He used to travel with his family when he was young in a mobile home, which he later sold to find sponsorship.
  • In 1974 he managed to reach the maximum category in the Canadian monoposts. Here he suffered an accident that caused a fracture in his left leg, however, he returned to the cockpits with his leg in a cast.
  • He managed to obtain good financial funds from John Lane, a young man who descended from a very wealthy family.

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