Jacques Villeneuve joins Ferrari to mark the 30th anniversary of his father’s death

GVillenueve-ferrari

On Tuesday 8 May, Jacques Villeneuve will take to the Fiorano track at the wheel of the 312 T4 driven by his father Gilles in 1979, the season that he and Jody Scheckter brought the Scuderia the Constructors’ title, with the South African also taking the Drivers’ World Championship.

It will be the 30th anniversary of the death of Gilles Villeneuve exactly one month from yesterday, and his memory is still vivid and alive in the minds of many at Maranello.


May 8th, 1982 – Zolder, Belgium

There are three dates that I will always remember in a lifetime spent enjoying Formula 1 – the tragic losses of Jim Clark, 7 April 1968 (Hockenheim, Germany), Gilles Villeneuve, May 8th, 1982 (Zolder, Belgium), and Ayrton Senna, 1 May 1994 (San Marino, Italy).

I’ve since visited the fateful spots where Clark and Senna lost their lives, but I’ll try and visit Zolder in this memorial year, to pay my respects to Ferrari’s most likeable and talented driver.

His talent, his speed, his bravery which bordered on recklessness, all go to make his name still hugely popular with Ferrari fans, even among those too young to have watched him race.

To commemorate the date in a special way, Ferrari has decided to reunite the Villenueve name and his famous race car at the venue where it all began, Ferrari’s Fiorano track in Maranello.

It seems a fitting way to evoke the memory of a man who has, and always will, have a special place of honour in the history of Ferrari.

His son Jacques went on to become Formula 1 World Champion in 1997 whilst driving for Williams Renault F1, a title that his father would surely have claimed several times over, before leaving the sport in 2006.

Jacques never drove for Ferrari in Formula 1, but he did get to taste his dad’s 312 T4 at the 2004 Goodwood Festival of Speed, so it will be a special feeling to get behind the wheel again at Ferrari’s home track.

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Where are they now? – Jacques Villenueve

In recent years, Jacques has been competing in the Andros Trophy with Team Skoda and will return to circuit racing in 2013 in the inaugural i1 Super Series – competing for a prize fund of $2 million USD in Radical sports cars. T

he series featuring 9 teams of 18 drivers will be run across 5 venues including Sepang, Malaysia; Sakhir, Bahrain; Losail, Qatar; BIC, India and Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi.

Jacques will be competing against a cast of top ex-F1 drivers including Heinz-Harald Frentzen, Jean Alesi, Giancarlo Fisichella, Karun Chandhok, Vitantonio Liuzzi, Mika Salo, Neel Jani and Alex Yoong.

Photo credits: Ferrari, Jacques Villeneuve, Victor Varela (Remembering Gilles Villeneuve)