Tragically, Gilles died in a crash while qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix in 1982. With the thirtieth anniversary of his death coming up, Ferrari is planning a tribute event at its Fiorano test track in Maranello that will reunite the Villeneuve name with the Scuderia to which he gave his life.
On May 8, Gilles' son Jacques Villeneuve will pilot the Ferrari 312 T4 that his father drove to three victories and four second-place finishes to help Ferrari secure the constructors' title and his teammate Jody Scheckter the drivers' title.
It may prove the first time in Jacques' career that he'll drive a Ferrari F1 car. A former world champion himself, Jacques had reportedly been offered a seat at Ferrari after winning the title in 1997, but turned it down to pursue the opportunity to build up the British American Racing team that would later be taken over by Honda, win the title as Brawn GP and rebrand itself under the Mercedes banner under which it races today.
Maranello, 8 April –Exactly one month from today, it will be the thirtieth anniversary of the death of Gilles Villeneuve. His memory is still vivid and alive in the minds of many at Maranello; his talent, his speed, his bravery which bordered on recklessness, all go to make his name still hugely popular with our fans, even among younger ones who have only been able to see him on replays of his races or read about him in stories written by journalists. We have decided to commemorate this date in a special way, bringing together the names of Ferrari and Villeneuve in their natural environment, the race track.
On Tuesday 8 May, Gilles' son Jacques will take to the Fiorano track at the wheel of the 312 T4 driven by his father in 1979, the season that he and Jody Scheckter brought the Scuderia the Constructors' title, with the South African also taking the Drivers' World Championship. It will be a fitting occasion to evoke the memory of a man who has and always will have a place of honour in the history of Ferrari.