Today May 8 we remember Gilles Villeneuve’s tragic death that happened at the end of the qualifying session for the Belgian Grand Prix on the circuit of Zolder.
The turbocharged Ferrari 126C2 driven by the Canadian hit the rear end of Jochen Mass’ March-Cosworth at high speed. The Ferrari was catapulted high into the air and landed hard straight into the embankment located on the side of the race track.
The front section of the aluminium monocoque was torn off the rest of the car and Villeneuve’s body was thrown in the air and landed hard in the catch fences.
I was 22 at that time and I was following the action from the distance, listening to Christian Tortora’s reports on Montreal French radio. The Grands Prix were not broadcasted live here at the time.
Hearing that Gilles had been severely injured just sent shiver through my veins. When Tortora later announced that Gilles was suffering from serious neck injuries, we all knew that it was all over…
In just 67 Grands Prix contested and six splendid victories, Villeneuve became one of the most formidable legends in Formula 1.