Guide to the Gilles Villeneuve Grand Prix Circuit

Introduction  |  Circuit details  |  Transportation  |  Accommodation  |  Results

The Gilles Villeneuve circuit was designed by Roger Peart and is a narrow track that is medium-fast and 4.421 km (2.763mi) in length, with 13 corners. Not much has changed on the track since its inception; however, some corners were eased in 1979, a new corner was added in front of the pits in 1991, a chicane was added 1994 and in 2002 the pit lane exit was moved further towards the start line. These changes are minor and were mostly for safety reasons.

Canadian GP aerial

The Canadian Grand Prix runs for 70 laps, with a total distance of 305.270 kms (190.793 mi). Its mixture of very long straights and tight chicanes makes it a mix of fast and slow sections for the drivers and it is very demanding on engines and brakes. Engine power is the key for this race in order to stay ahead, but drivers also need to keep an eye on their gas tank, as fuel consumption is very high for this race.

The Gilles Villeneuve Circuit is known to have a high attrition rate, mostly for technical reasons, as it is considered to be the hardest circuit on brakes after Monza. However, the circuit is well liked by the drivers because it is one of the few F1 tracks where overtaking is relatively easy, mainly in the hairpin turn and final chicane. This is especially true for those drivers that have mastered the art of out-braking their competition.

Three drivers so far have earned their first career Grand Prix wins at the Canadian Grand Prix: Canadian Gilles Villeneuve in 1978, Brit Thierry Boutsen in 1989 and Frenchman Jean Alesi in 1995. So far though, it is Michael Schumacher who has stepped onto the winner’s podium most frequently in the Canadian Grand Prix, with seven wins. Those spectators that have access to corporate packages should not miss the F1 Restaurant (special access required), which boasts not only excellent cuisine, but fabulous views onto the starting line as well as the infamous Senna turn.

Other than the F1 Canadian Grand Prix, the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit hosts NASCAR and Grand Am Sports Car Series. During the summer, the Ile de Notre Dame is a favourite hang-out for cyclists and roller-bladers. The track is located right next to the Olympic rowing lanes, which are used to host numerous special events and major sport competitions throughout the year. The circuit has capacity to seat 100,000 spectators.

Introduction  |  Circuit details  |  Transportation  |  Accommodation  |  Results