Toronto’s Canadian International AutoShow yesterday celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Canada with historic cars and driving legends.
Attending the launch of the exhibit were Jacques Villeneuve, the winner of the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and 1997 Formula 1 World Champion, his sister Mélanie and his mother, Gilles Villeneuve’s widow, Joann.
The spectacular exhibit, titled “50 Years of Grand Prix in Canada”, will run for the duration of the Canadian International AutoShow, held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre between February 17th and 26th.
The first Canadian Grand Prix was presented in 1967 on Mosport’s gruelling road course near Toronto. In 1968 and 1970, the race was held at the picturesque Circuit Mont-Tremblant, north of Montreal. Until 1977, the Grand Prix stayed at Mosport until it moved on Ile Notre-Dame in Montreal in 1978.
The Villeneuves were joined on stage by several major players who have shaped Grand Prix racing in Canada over the past five decades, such as François Dumontier, current promoter of the Canadian Grand Prix, as well as a number of former Canadian race car drivers.
The exhibit showcases historic Formula 1 cars such as a Ferrari 312T2 driven by the late Gilles Villeneuve in 1978 and the 1997 Williams-Renault driven by Jacques when he won the F1 Championship. This car still carries the tire mark from where Michael Schumacher tried to run him off the track in that final, decisive race of 1997 in Jerez.
Other fantastic race cars to appreciate include a 1961 Cooper Climax T55 driven by Bruce McLaren, a 1974 Parnelli driven by Mario Andretti, the 1978 Walter Wolf WR6 driven by Jody Scheckter, the Lotus 99T/5 driven by Ayrton Senna in 1987, Nigel Mansell’s Ferrari 641 of 1990 as well as a 1991 Benetton driven by Michael Schumacher.
A newly refurbished 1971 Boss Mustang - complete still with Monaco plates – owned by Gilles Villeneuve is being displayed for the very first time courtesy of Headrush Motors and Joann Villeneuve.
The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve will be present, showcasing some fascinating documentaries from the very first Grands Prix, and offering visitors opportunities to win race tickets, including a pair of grandstand tickets to the 2017 Canadian F1 Grand Prix to be given away at each day of the show.