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Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve Hairpin.jpg
The Pit Hairpin on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
Location Montreal, Québec, Canada
Time zone GMT -5
Capacity 100,000
Owner Ville de Montréal
Opened 1978
Former names Île Notre-Dame Circuit (1978-1982)
Major events NASCAR Nationwide Series
NAPA Auto Parts 200
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series
NAPA AUTOPRO 100
Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series
Formula One Canadian Grand Prix
Île Notre-Dame (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve).svg
Length 4.361 km (2.71 mi)
Turns 15
Lap record 1:13.622 (Brazil Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004)

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a motor racing circuit, venue for the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series. As of 2007, NASCAR Nationwide Series and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series held races there.

The Canadian Grand Prix that took place for 30 years at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was dropped from the 2009 Formula One calendar and replaced with the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. On November 27, 2009, Quebec's officials and Canadian Grand Prix organisers announced they have reached a settlement with Formula One Administration and signed a new five-year contract spanning the 2010-2014 seasons.[1][2] The 2010 edition is set to take place on June 13th.

Contents

Circuit

The circuit, at Parc Jean-Drapeau on Île Notre-Dame, a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River that is part of the city of Montreal, was originally named the Île Notre-Dame Circuit.[3] It was renamed in honour of Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, father of Jacques Villeneuve, following his death in 1982.[4] The venue hosted the Champ Car World Series Grand Prix of Montreal from 2002 to 2006.

During the few days of the Grand Prix, Île Notre-Dame is one of the noisiest places in Montreal. At just about any other time of the year, it is one of the quietest, being located in the middle of a river, on an island filled with greenery and animals, joggers and cyclists. However, on June 4 2009, administration of Île Notre-Dame has forbidden the access of competitive cyclists to the circuit, justifying this as a security measure to avoid the increasing injuries that occurred between year 2008 and 2009. A total of 27 injuries have been reported. The ban on cyclists has since been lifted due to protests.

Bienvenue au Québec slogan on the Wall of Champions

Barriers run close to the circuit and many experienced drivers have been caught out by them. A particularly famous part of the circuit is the wall on the outside of the exit of the final chicane. In 1999 the wall, which has on it the slogan Bienvenue au Québec ("Welcome to Quebec") giving it the nickname "Mur du Québec" (Quebec Wall), ended the race of three Formula One World Champions, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher & Jacques Villeneuve along with FIA GT champion Ricardo Zonta. Since then the wall has been nicknamed "The Wall Of Champions". In recent years Jenson Button (2005) and Vitantonio Liuzzi (2007) have also fallen victim to the wall. Fernando Alonso 2005/06 F1 World Champion and Nico Rosberg have also both hit the wall at turn 5. Juan Pablo Montoya has also hit a wall on the circuit.

Changes made in 2005 to the curbs on the final chicane were controversial amongst drivers in the run-up to the Grand Prix. The curbs were made higher and more difficult for the drivers to see, making the chicane even more of a challenge to drivers.

On June 23, 2006, Canadian Press reported that the city of Montreal has awarded exclusive rights to stage the two allowed race weekends on the track to Normand Legault, promoter of the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix. The deal is for 2007 to 2011, with an option for 2012 to 2016. Legault decided to replace the Champ Car race with races from the Grand American Road Racing Association's Rolex Series and NASCAR's Nationwide Series, respectively - the latter series' first race north of the Canadian-United States border. On August 4, 2007, Kevin Harvick made history by winning the first NASCAR Busch Series (now Nationwide Series) race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in what was one of the most controversial NASCAR races ever. Robby Gordon says he won.[5]

The NASCAR races have affected the circuit layout. An expansion of the pit lane took place, since a NASCAR pit lane must accommodate a minimum of 43 cars. The pit exit lane was also enlarged.

As part of Parc Jean-Drapeau, the Circuit is open to visitors, between races, for walking, running, biking, in-line skating, etc.

Comparison of different series at the circuit

As the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve serves as host to different racing series, it is possible to directly compare different race series' lap times.

In 2002, former Champ Car Champion Juan Pablo Montoya set pole position for the Formula One Grand Prix with a lap time of 1:12.836. Several weeks later, during the inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal, Cristiano Da Matta set pole position with a lap time of 1:18.959.

In 2006, the latest and currently last time Champ Car and F1 ran on the same track, Formula One was 5 to 7 seconds faster than Champ Car. The pole position in Formula One was set by Fernando Alonso in a time of 1:14.942, while Sébastien Bourdais set pole in 1:20.005 in Champ Car. The fastest lap in the Formula One race was 1:15.841 by Kimi Räikkönen, while Sébastien Bourdais' fastest lap was 1:22.325 in the Champ Car race.

2007 NASCAR Busch Series driver Patrick Carpentier racing in the NAPA Auto Parts 200 posted a pole time of 1:42.086. By comparison his 2004 Molson Indy Montreal qualifying time in the Champ Car World Series was 1:20.836.

The track record for the Rolex Sports Car Series is 1:33.199. The time was set by Scott Pruett driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in the Daytona Prototype class in 2008.

See also

References

  1. ^ Canada returns to F1 championship - f1-live.com, 27 November 2009
  2. ^ Montreal Grand Prix Is Back On for 2010 - The New York Times, 27 November 2009
  3. ^ Automobile Year, 1978/79, Page 235
  4. ^ Peter Higham, The Guinness Guide to International Motor Racing, 1995, Page 362
  5. ^ "ESPN - Harvick wins wild Busch race, but disqualified Gordon claims he won - Nascar". http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/news/story?seriesId=3&id=2961526. 

External links

Coordinates: 45°30′21″N 73°31′36″W / 45.50583°N 73.52667°W / 45.50583; -73.52667

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Simple English

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve
The Pit Hairpin on Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Location Montreal, Québec, Canada
Time zone GMT -5
Capacity 100,000
Owner Ville de Montréal
Opened 1978
Former Names Île Notre-Dame Circuit (1978-1982)
Major Events FIA Formula One
Canadian Grand Prix
NASCAR Nationwide Series
NASCAR Canadian Tire Series

Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series
Circuit Length 4.361 km (2.71 mi)
Turns 13
Lap Record 1:13.622 ( Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari, 2004)

The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve is a motor racing circuit. It is the location the Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, NASCAR Nationwide Series and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.

The Canadian Grand Prix was held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for 30 years. In 2009, the race was dropped from the Formula One calendar and replaced with the new Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. On 27 November 2009, Quebec's officials and Canadian Grand Prix organisers announced an aggrement with Formula One and signed a new five-year contract. Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will host the Canadian Grand Prix from 2010 through the 2014 seasons.[1][2]

Contents

Circuit

The circuit is located on Île Notre-Dame, a man-made island in the St. Lawrence River. It is part of the city of Montreal, was originally named the Île Notre-Dame Circuit.[3] It was renamed in honour of Canadian Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve, following his death in 1982. Gilles is the father of Jacques Villeneuve.[4] The venue hosted the Champ Car World Series Grand Prix of Montreal from 2002 to 2006.

Barriers run close to the circuit and many experienced drivers have been caught out by them. A famous part of the circuit is the wall on the outside of the exit of the final chicane. The wall has the slogan Bienvenue au Québec ("Welcome to Quebec") painted on it. It has been giving the nickname "Mur du Québec" (Quebec Wall). In 1999 the wall ended the race of three Formula One World Champions, Damon Hill, Michael Schumacher, and Jacques Villeneuve. FIA GT champion Ricardo Zonta also crashed into the wall. Since then the wall has been nicknamed "The Wall Of Champions". Other drivers who have crashed into the wall include Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, and Juan Pablo Montoya.

The curbs leading to the final chicane were made higher in 2005. The new curbs were more difficult for the drivers to see, making the chicane even more challenging.

On 23 June 2006, Canadian Press reported that the city of Montreal had awarded Normand Legault the right to stage the race weekends on the track. Legault is the promoter of the Formula One race. The deal run until 2011, with an option to go to 2016. Legault decided to replace the Champ Car race with races from the Grand American Road Racing Association's Rolex Series and NASCAR's Nationwide Series. This would be NASCAR's first race in Canada. On 4 August 2007, Kevin Harvick made history by winning the first Nationwide Series (then Busch Series) race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.[5]

The NASCAR races have changed the circuit layout. The pit lanes were expanded. NASCAR pit lane must handle at least 43 cars.

As part of Parc Jean-Drapeau, the Circuit is open to visitors, between races, for walking, running, biking, in-line skating, etc. During the few days of the Grand Prix, Île Notre-Dame is one of the noisiest places in Montreal. At just about any other time of the year, it is one of the quietest, being located in the middle of a river, on an island filled with greenery and animals, joggers and cyclists.

Comparison of different series at the circuit

As the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve serves as host to different racing series, it is possible to directly compare different race series' lap times.

In 2002, former Champ Car Champion Juan Pablo Montoya set pole position for the 2002 Canadian Grand Prix with a lap time of 1:12.836. Several weeks later, during the inaugural Champ Car Grand Prix of Montreal, Cristiano Da Matta set pole position with a lap time of 1:18.959.

2006 was the last year Champ Car and F1 ran on the same track. The pole position in Formula One was set by Fernando Alonso in a time of 1:14.942. Sébastien Bourdais set pole in 1:20.005 in Champ Car.

In 2007 NASCAR Nationwide Series (then Busch Series) driver Patrick Carpentier set a pole time of 1:42.086. The track record for the Rolex Sports Car Series is 1:33.199 set by Scott Pruett in 2008.

Other pages

  • Other Montreal area race tracks
    • Circuit Mont-Tremblant
    • Sanair Super Speedway

References

  1. Canada returns to F1 championship - f1-live.com, 27 November 2009
  2. Montreal Grand Prix Is Back On for 2010 - The New York Times, 27 November 2009
  3. Automobile Year, 1978/79, Page 235
  4. Peter Higham, The Guinness Guide to International Motor Racing, 1995, Page 362
  5. "Harvick wins wild Busch race, but disqualified Gordon claims he won". ESPN Internet Ventures. 2007-08-05. http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/news/story?seriesId=3&id=2961526. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 

Other websites

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Coordinates: 45°30′21″N 73°31′36″W / 45.50583°N 73.52667°W / 45.50583; -73.52667


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