JANUARY 22, 2008

Jacques Villeneuve (Senior) injured

Jacques Villeneuve Sr, the brother of F1 star Gilles Villeneuve, the uncle of World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and an F1 driver in his own right, albeit unsuccessfully, has been seriously injured in a snowmobile accident during a race in Wisconsin. The 54-year-old French-Canadian was competing in the World Championship Snowmobile Derby event at Eagle River, an event he won in 1980, 1982 and 1986, when his snowmobile hit trouble and he was slowing down when he hit at high speed by another competitor. He was airlifted to a local hospital with multiple fractures of his legs and pelvis and a spinal injury.

Villeneuve has been racing snowmobiles for more than 30 years but made his name in track racing in Formula Atlantic where he was rookie of the year in 1979 and then won the title in 1980 and 1981. At the end of the second year he signed up to drive for Arrows in the Canadian and United States Grands Prix but failed to qualify on both occasions. He then moved on to CanAm and CART races and won the CanAm title in 1983. He tried to qualify in Montreal with a RAM that year but once again failed to make the race.

He then concentrated on CART and became the first Canadian to win a race at Road Atlanta in 1985 but his career slowed down after that and he did only occasional events in different classes, although he continued to be a big name in the snowmobile world.