This coming weekend, it’s the Canadian Grand Prix.
The Canadian Grand Prix first became a Formula 1 event in 1967 with the race held at Mosport Park near Toronto, Ontario. Through the late 1960’s and the early 1970’s the race was shared between Mosport Park and the Circuit Mont-Tremblant in Québec.
As speeds built up, it was felt the Mosport and Mont-Tremblant were not safe enough, so for 1978, a new Formula 1 track was built in Montréal called Circuit Île Notre-Dame on the island of Notre-Dame.
Pen&ink and markers on 11.5"x 9" watercolour paper
© Paul Chenard 2013
For that inaugural race, Canadian driver Gilles Villeneuve, along with teammate Carlos Reutermann, were there racing Ferrari T3’s for Scuderia Ferrari.
Cold and wet weather greeted the teams for practice and qualifying on Friday and Saturday, and Villeneuve managed to get his car to 3rd place on the starting grid behind Jean-Pierre Jarier (Lotus) and Jody Scheckter (Wolf).
The rain was gone for race day, but it was bitterly cold and cloudy, not ideal racing conditions. Villeneuve stayed with the leaders from the start, and as they dropped out he moved up to take the lead, driving in a smooth and steady way.
He went on to win his first Grand Prix race in front of the home crowd on the new track, a real storybook ending!
After Gilles Villeneuve’s passing in 1982, the track was renamed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in his honour.