TROIS-RIVIÈRES | Snowmobile racing has been over since 2016, but Jacques Villeneuve has no firm intention of hanging up his pilot's helmet.
This year, the 68-year-old veteran is returning to the Grand Prix de Trois-Rivières, seven years after his last participation behind the wheel of a Formula 1600.
This time, it is aboard a racing car in the modified Legends category that he hears having fun on the circuit.
” I'm happy to be back in Trois-Rivières, it obviously brings back good memories, he told Journal in an interview. My presence here in 2015 was more or less fruitful. since I hit a wall at the Duplessis gate exit and my race ended there.Speaking of walls, he couldn't avoid one in Friday's qualifying session, and his journey was over on his first fast lap. If the shock was not particularly hard, the right front suspension is damaged and it will have to be completely redone.
His mechanics are hopeful of repairing everything to allow Villeneuve to participate in his first test this morning. The good news is that the chassis was not affected. He will start from the 22nd and last row.
“ At the exit of turn two, before crossing the Duplessis gate, the car began to skid, he said. Explain. I did everything to correct my trajectory, but in vain.
In an interview the day before, Villeneuve said he enjoyed riding between walls. Provided, he should have added, to avoid them.
Far from a Can-Am
Villeneuve had also pointed out, during our conversation, that the behavior of these small cars, powered by a motorcycle engine (600 cc), was particularly capricious.
“I'm much more comfortable in formula than driving the kind of car I'll be driving this weekend,” he said. But the advantage for me, if there is one, is that I know the circuit.
“On the other hand, these cars are very… nervous because of their very short wheelbase. The back is worn to slip continuously. We are a long way from the big [and rough] Can-Ams that I have driven in the past here in Trois-Rivières. »
A thought for Gilles?
Villeneuve is emotional when told of his late brother's feat in 1976, when he beat James Hunt in Formula Atlantic.
“I don't need to be here at Trois -Rivers to think of Gilles, he replies. For me, it's still there. I never hesitate to ask him for advice.
“His victory here in 1976 is a beautiful memory and it was one of the most outstanding races of his career . I talk about it, 46 years later, and I still have chills. »
What's next for Villeneuve? He makes no bones about saying that any serious offer will be considered for a return to modified Legends next year at the GP3R.
“Racing is still my livelihood,” he says . If ever I was offered to go back, subject to certain conditions, I would not say no. It is certain that at my age, I no longer have this desire to drive to the limit and beyond, but the passion is still there. In other words, this may not be the last time. ”
Villeneuve doesn't feel that pressure to defend his reputation in front of the public.
“People always expect a Villeneuve to win. This pressure is present, but you don't think about it anymore once you're behind the wheel.
Rare meeting of the two Jacques
< p>For once, the two Jacques Villeneuve find themselves on the same competition site. However, they have not spoken for many years.
“If he wants to see me, he knows where to find me,” concluded Gilles' brother.
Year | discipline | Location
1976 | Honda Series | 2nd *
1977 | Production | Abandonment
1978 | Formula Ford | 2nd
1978 | Honda Series | 15th
1979 | Atlantic Formula | 4th
1980 | Formula Atlantic | Retired
1981 | Atlantic Formula| 1st
1982 | Can-Am (2 liters) | Destroyed
1983 |  ;Can-Am (5 liters) | 1er
1989 | Atlantic Formula | 1er
1990 | Atlantic Formula | Abandonment
1991 | Atlantic Formula | 1er
1992 | Formula Atlantic | Abandonment
1993 | Atlantic Formula | 2nd
1994 | Atlantic Formula | Abandonment
1998 | Atlantic Formula | Abandonment
2004 | FASCAR (stock car) | 10th
2015 | Formula 1600 | 10th **
2015 | Formula 1600 | Withdrawal
* Ranked 2nd overall, but first in the “Espoir” class.
** Ranked 10th overall, but 3rd in the “Masters” class. .
Source: autocourse.ca and Serge l'Heureux