Arguably Canada’s most famous auto-racing tracks, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve has a colourful history that only serves to enhance the wonder and excitement that surrounds this fantastic racing venue. Not only is the Circuit considered the home of the Canadian Grand Prix for Formula One, it has also hosted numerous national and international races including races from NASCAR, the Champ Car World Series and the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series and is a must-see venue for racing fans.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve: A History
Opened in 1978 under the name Île Notre-Dame Circuit, it would acquire its current name in 1982 to honor famous Canadian F1 driver Gilles Villeneuve, who died tragically during a qualifying race for the Belgian Grand Prix that same year at the age of 32. Fans continue to honor Gilles memory with his memorabilia continuing to be some of the most popular in racing shops around the Formula One world.
The circuit was built upon a man-made island on the St. Lawrence River providing the perfect grounds for the track, but also striking views for both drivers and spectators alike. A large portion of the track runs alongside the riverside basin, a notable landmark utilized during the Summer Games in 1976. Another unique aspect of the track is it’s walls. More than one champion has been caught by the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s tight barriers. Most notably is the aptly named “Wall of Champions”, a section in the last stretch before the finish, many drivers have seen their dream of victory end with a crash into that wall, including some of racings most famous drivers, from Michael Schumacher to Nico Rosenberg and Sebastian Vettel, they have all challenged this section of the track and lost.
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and The Canadian Grand Prix
The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve’s marquee event is the Canadian Grand Prix. It has hosted the event for the majority of its existence, including from 1978-1986, 1988-2008, and from 2010 to the present. Formerly hosted at Mosport Park in Toronto, the race was moved due to safety concerns following 1977’s event.
The Canadian Grand Prix is one of Formula One’s World Championship races, and has been so since 1967. This 70 lap race is known as one of the most viewed sporting events in the world and is often F1’s most viewed race of the year. Witnessing the Canadian Grand Prix at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is always a thrilling experience, and fans often return to watch the Canadian Grand Prix year-after-year to experience with the drivers every tight turn, every tense pit stop and every moment of glory and heartbreak as the worlds greatest take to the Circuit for their chance at victory.
When You Want To Visit and What to Do
The Gilles Villeneuve is truly a unique and one of a kind track. When looking to visit the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve there is much to see and do. Many, of course, go to the track to enjoy the races, and the Canadian Grand Prix remains the most popular spectator event. However, there are other things for you to enjoy outside of the races. On non-race days walking, bike riding, foot races and exploring the Circuit are all popular pastimes. Along with its riverside location, the track is also located in a park surrounded by the natural beauty of the island.
Looking to create your own ultimate Canadian Grand Prix experience? Roadtrips offers complete packages to the Canadian Grand Prix including first class accommodations in Montreal. Contact Roadtrips today to discuss your perfect Formula One experience.