Wow Gilles!—Villeneuve, The Undying Legend
By Ercole Columbo
Thirty-six years after his untimely death at Zolder, the legend of Gilles Villeneuve remains intact, alive and well, even celebrated, as fans around the world refuse to forget him. The diminutive French Canadian possessed a spirit that did not understand either giving up or going slow, and when he applied it in a racing car—generally a Ferrari—his performances drew legions of fans to his cause.
This book of primarily Columbo’s photographs is complemented with occasional quotes from some of those who knew him and worked with him, as well as brief introductory text by Giorgio Terruzzi, all very relevant, but subservient to the photography. The five years of Gilles’ F1 career are chronicled visually, both on and off the track, and in some cases with images never seen before.
While the nearly 200 color photographs surely tell the story, quotes from the likes of Enzo Ferrari, “I loved him like a son,” Keke Rosberg, “He was the hardest bastard I ever knew, but absolutely fair” or Niki Lauda, “He was the craziest devil I ever came across in Formula One,” bolster impressions formed by fans around the world from watching Gilles or reading about his exploits.
This landscape format coffee-table book is well worthy of addition to any true enthusiast’s library. Available for US$50.00/CDN$67.50/£40.00 from enthusiast bookstores or direct from publisher Fouchard Filippi Communications at www.fouchardfilippi.com
Reviewed by John Zimmermann