Villeneuve: A Tout Vitesse

Villeneuve: A Tout Vitesse

Canadian Formula One racer Gilles Villeneuve came out of nowhere and rose swiftly to become the best-loved race car drivers in the world.

Today far too many Canadians have never heard of Gilles Villeneuve. And those of us, who recall his name, don’t know the whole story behind the fabulous, fast and tragically short life of our forgotten hero.

The story of Gilles’ fascinating and too-brief life is told in two parts: Loyalty and Betrayal. In Loyalty, we follow Gilles from his earliest days as a tear-away snowmobile racer, through to his improbable rise into the ranks of Formula One and concluding at his amazing victory for Ferrari in Montreal in 1978.

In Betrayal, we see how Gilles’ F1 career meets with early success but he eventually comes to grief after Enzo Ferrari fails to support him when his teammate Didier Pironi steals a victory and leaves Gilles in a rage on the morning of his death crash.

Gilles’ son Jacques was only 10 when his father died. Years later Jacques was recruited to race in F1 and picked up his father’s torch, eventually winning it all in 1997.

Gilles Villeneuve wasn’t there to enjoy his son’s title, but this penultimate Villeneuve victory could not have happened without him. The exploits of father and son have made the Villeneuve name immortal in the pantheon of auto racing.

Peter Hays provided writing and directing services for the feature CBC (Radio-Canada) documentary film Villeneuve: A Tout Vitesse (At All Speed), about the life and tragic death of Gilles Villeneuve.

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