In Quebec culture, two elements of sports are venerated almost to the point of religious fanaticism. The first is obvious, the Montreal Canadiens hockey team. 100 years of history, 24 Stanley cups, and names like Richard, Lafleur and Roy make sure of that. The second element is Gilles Villeneuve, who is celebrated as one of the greatest of the greats even by his own peers. On that dark saturday morning, the 8th of May 1982, Gilles' 126 C2 was wearing the number that have since become a token of success in racing, at least for us Quebecers: Number 27. I know it sounds stupid, but this number is seen almost as a good luck charm, even after it had been worn in one of the nastiest car crashes ever to occur in Formula One. Here is my little pictorial of the number 27 in Quebec racing history.
The car that started it
In 1982, Gilles Villeneuve was at the top of his game when in Belgium he got a bit too aggressive in qualifying, trying to beat his teammate Didier Pironi, and he hit Jochen Mass's slow-running March on the rear right wheel. The Ferrari's ground effects got unglued from the track and the car litterally took off, tumbled, and ejected Gilles. To this day I still think how awesome it would've been if Gilles had had better luck and survived to do battle with then up-coming Alain Prost, and a couple years later Ayrton Senna. There's your Holy F1 Trinity right there!
Like father, like son
This past May, just before the Indianapolis 500 race, I wrote a post about Jacques Villeneuve winning the race in 1995. Here's another picture of JV's Reynard-Ford, the car that could do 505 miles faster than the others could do 500.
Ferrari 412 T and No. 27... winning combo!
Limousine service provided by Michael Schumacher, no less
Only 2 short weeks after JV had entered racing history, the Canadian Grand Prix was taking place on the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. And it is here that Jean Alesi got his only win in his lenghty career. The fact that Alesi was a Ferrari driver, and that Montreal is very well-known for its Tifosi population ensured that the post race celebrations were nothing short of chaotic, with people storming the track as the cars were still on the finishing lap trying to get to the pits. Alesi's car didn't make it to the pits though, running out of gas a few turns after the finish line. Seeing Alesi stranded on the side of the track, a certain Schumi stopped by to offer limousine service for the victory lap, one of the greatest show of sportsmanship I've ever seen from him.
And the future? JV in a Sprint car sporting the Right Number
Why not! Andrew Ranger winning the NASCAR Canandian Tire 100 in Montreal
Although he's never run a full season in NASCAR, Jacques Villeneuve did manage to get in a few races, and not without a certain amount of success. In 2008, in a rain-soaked Montreal NASCAR 200, JV was litterally showing the NASCAR pilots why the track is named after his dad. The extreme weather caused his windshield to fog up during a caution lap and he unfortunately rear-ended another car. The weather was so bad the race had to be cancelled, and victory was given to Canuck racer Ron Fellows. At one point in the race 4 canadians were in the top 5: JV, Fellows, Patrick Carpentier and Andrew Ranger, all 4 making mince-meat of drivers who have never set 4 wheels on a wet track. It should also be known that JV has won in Montreal in 1993 Toyota Atlantic, and though he's hit the Quebec Wall twice he has had some good runs in F1. To come back to NASCAR, last year JV came in 4th at the Montreal race, and other Quebecers have also done good: Patrick Carpentier finished 2nd in 2007's inaugural race, and Andrew Ranger won the 2008 Canadian Tire 100, in none other than a car sporting the mythical Number 27. To get even crazier with this, in 2008 Jacques Villeneuve entered the 24 Hours of LeMans with the Peugeot Team and got 2nd place, beaten only by Audi. Audi's car was sporting the number 2. The Peugeot car, number 7. I tell you, mythical !!!
To tie in with EVE Online, I will admit that as a great fan of Gilles Villeneuve, all my Claw interceptors are called GV27. And I have had some luck with 'em! Speaking of EVE, yesterday was my big night of hauling in preparation for the corp switch, which should be done this coming Sunday. So this is officially my last post as a member of Letrange's ChaosStorm Coporation. It's not like I'm leaving the alliance though so I'll be seeing him around (plus he lives like 15 minutes from my place!). The new corp (which will be announced after all is said and done of course) is starting to concentrate its assets in one place, and soon we should start doing roams and hopefully racking up kills. It's been a long time since I rockn'rolled :))
Remember, speed is everything.
Post race edit: No. 27 prevailed again as Ranger won the CT 100 once more, and track heir JV got 3rd place in a chaotic 200.
Good job les gars !!!