The 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve has today driven one of his father’s Formula One cars at the Ferrari Fiorano track to mark the 30th anniversary of his death. The actual car was a 312 T4 which Gilles and team-mate Jody Scheckter contested the 1979 driver’s title.
“I got a call from Ferrari, they wanted me to do something for the anniversary. I have never been keen on it in the past, but it was the 30th, and this was Ferrari themselves, and it’s at Fiorano, so it’s a proper test. I thought it would be nice” said Jacques.
“It won’t be a moment of tears, it’s just special to be able to drive a car that he actually raced at Fiorano and the whole history that goes with it. It’s a moment to rejoice in the good things that he did and his achievements.”
Gilles Villeneuve died after a crash at Zolder on May 8, 1982. His Ferrari made contact with another car and flipped. Villeneuve was thrown from the car and died later in hospital. Jacques was 11 years old at the time and a short time later started his racing career.
Jacques Villeneuve started his first f1 race with William’s in 1996. He won the World Championship with William’s the following year and later helped establish the British American Racing Team. His last race was in 2006 with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. In his career, Jacques won 11 times in 161 Formula One races.
This is not the first time Jacques has driven one of his father’s Formula One Ferrari’s. In 2004 at the Goodwood Festival, he drove the 312 T3 that Gilles drove to his maiden F1 victory in the 1978 Canadian Grand Prix.
When asked how he would drive the car today he said: “I’m not going to take stupid risks. These cars were lethal and it is 30 years old. It’s been well-maintained, but who knows how the set-up is and everything.”
He went on to say: “I am ready to race, so fitness will not be an issue.” Jacques is hoping to be on the grid for Montreal’s NASCAR Nationwide race in August.