Gilles Villeneuve Exhibition
Modena, Italy, 08 May – 10 June 2012
On Saturday 8th May 1982, motor racing lost one of its most charismatic figures, when Gilles Villeneuve lost his life in a horrific accident during qualifying for the Belgian Grand Prix at the Zolder circuit. Thirty years to the day later, his wife Joanne, and his children, Jacques and Melanie, visited Ferrari’s Fiorano Circuit, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his passing (see separate story), prior to the inauguration of an exhibition in his memory at the Foro Boario in Modena. It seems almost incredible that it is already thirty years since that fateful day in Belgium, as the memory of Gilles, not only in the eyes of those alive at the time to witness his phenomenal car control and will to win at almost any cost, but in those of subsequent generations, is as strong as ever, a true legend of his era.
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The well presented exhibition features a wide range of memorabilia, including original artwork, sculptures, models displays and dioramas’, racing suits, helmets and other personal articles. There are also videos of his racing activity in a cinema gallery, including the fatal accident, the severity of which is chilling. Add in sponsors publicity material, event posters, a display of helmets of his racing peers, his son Jacques’ racing helmet, and numerous collectables that have been produced over the years and it can be seen that it is a wide ranging exhibition. Of course, no exhibition in memory of Giles would be complete without the objects that made him the hero that he became – the cars! There are three Ferrari cars on display, the 1979 312 T4, chassis # 041, the 1981 126C, chassis # 052, and his roadgoing 308 GTS, chassis # 21371, in which he did the trip from Monaco to Maranello in 2½ hours. Check it on your satellite navigation system, and you will be given a time of around 4½ hours! Definitely worth a visit when in the Modena area, it gives one the feeling that you are paying your respects to a true motor racing legend.