The Villeneuve legend continues with Gilles's son Jacques
Legendary racing car driver Gilles Villeneuve rose from humble origins in a small Quebec town to win hearts around the world in the second most popular sport on earth. A shy, slight, family man who didn't smoke or drink, he was Canada's first Grand Prix winner. His life was tragically cut short at 32 years of age, doing what he loved best. Please note that you won't find racing footage on our site; the International Automobile Federation does not licence F1 footage for use on the Internet.
In 1995, at the age of 24, he wins the Indy 500 -- the youngest driver ever to win an Indy car championship. That year, he also becomes Indy (CART) champion. In his second season in Formula 1 racing, Jacques Villeneuve becomes Canada's first world champion, in 1997.
"My father was a legend," says Jacques Villeneuve. He'll always be the first Canadian to win a Grand Prix, "to make it to the top, and he'll always stay there."
In this 1992 CBC Television clip, his mother, Joann, says she supports him in spite of the danger. "You don't get used to it, you just learn to live with it."
• He was awarded the Lou Marsh Trophy as Canada's top athlete in 1995 and again in 1997.
• In 1992, he spent a year in Japan, racing in Formula 3 for Toyota. During this time he became an accomplished and popular karaoke performer.
• Villeneuve lives between Villars-sur-Ollon, Switzerland, and Montreal. He considers himself a citizen of the world. In 2001 he opened a restaurant in Montreal called Newtown (the English translation of his name, and his nickname on the Formula 1 circuit), causing a language debate. He responded that Quebecers should "see further than the tip of your nose."
• Jacques Villeneuve quit Formula 1 racing in 2006. He plans to continue racing in other venues, however, and will be driving in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race on June 16 and 17, 2007.
• He made his first foray into the music industry in 2007, releasing an album called Private Paradise. It featured several songs that were inspired by his father.
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: Aug. 12, 1992
Guest(s): Jacques Villeneuve, Joann Villeneuve
Reporter: Tom Harrington
Last updated: January 23, 2012
Page consulted on September 10, 2014
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