When Gilles Villeneuve finally got a licence to drive (legally at last, to the relief of his small-town neighbours), he went and bought himself an eccentric rear-engined, rear-drive Skoda. He promptly put it in a ditch and upgraded to his father’s Ford Mustang. He must’ve liked that ditch because he left the Mustang there as well.
Gilles went on to crash many cars – Formula Atlantics, snowmobiles, and (most of all) Ferrari F1 cars – on his way to skidding into our hearts, on full opposite lock, one shredded tyre usually hanging on for dear life. He spun, rolled, and crashed so often because he lived his life in constant pursuit of ‘the limit’.
Only, Gilles was so talented and mesmerising behind the wheel, the limit was typically found huffing and puffing somewhere behind him, trying desperately to keep up.
Salut Gilles, for the memories, for the action, for the passion.
In less than a month, on May 8, it will be 30 years since Gilles left us to lap that great circuit in the sky. Ferrari still mourns him, as we all do, and Maranello is gearing up to commemorate the special anniversary in true Gilles spirit: flat out.