Canadian racer Jacques Villeneuve Sr. was born November 4, 1953. He is the younger brother of the late Gilles Villeneuve, and uncle to Jacques Villeneuve (1997 F1 world champion). Born in the small town of Berthierville, Quebec, Canada, Villeneuve has had a varied motorsport career, taking in Formula Atlantic, CART, Can-Am, snowmobile racing and Formula One, and remains a revered figure in Canadian motorsport circles. Villeneuve was the first person to win the World Championship Snowmobile Derby three times and has continued to race snowmobile events throughout his career.
From 1976 to 1978 He moved into saloon racing and won the Honda Civic series and many other races. He then raced in Formula Fords, and then Formula Atlantic, where he took Rookie of the Year in 1979, then consecutive titles in 1980 and 1981. He also won the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in 1980. At the end of 1981, he took a pair of drives for the Arrows Formula One team, but failed to qualify for the Canadian Grand Prix, or the Caesars Palace Grand Prix. In 1979 he competed in the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash in a Porsche 928 co-piloted by John Lane (Gilles Villeneuve’s sponsor and friend). In 1982 Villeneuve won the World Championship Snowmobile Derby & took home $11,300 for his win, with cash and prizes totaling over $50,000. Sadly his brother Gilles Villeneuve died in May 1982. Jacques spent most of the year in Can-Am, though he would take a one-off drive in CART. 1983 saw him take the Can-Am title, as well as another Formula One drive (narrowly failing to qualify a RAM for the 1983 Canadian Grand Prix). During this period, he also kept up his snowmobiling exploits, winning a number of prestigious races, and had a one-off drive at the 1983 24 Hours of Le Mans.
1984 saw a return to CART, with Villeneuve ranking 15th overall, having taken pole position at the Phoenix round. The following year he became the first Canadian to win a CART race, taking victory in the wet/dry race at Road America on his way to eighth overall in the standings. He became the only person to win a third World Championship Snowmobile Derby in 1986. After spending the season of CART and his only appearance in the Indianapolis 500, Villeneuve scaled back his motor racing activities, though he has regularly returned for occasional drives to CART, Formula Atlantic (winning some of these guest races) and IMSA. He also remained highly active and successful in snowmobiling, also branching out to powerboat racing. On January 18, 2008, Villeneuve was seriously injured in an accident during a snowmobile race at Eagle River, Wisconsin. He suffered multiple leg and pelvic fractures as a result, in addition to a spinal injury. It is estimated that it will take Villeneuve seven to nine months to recover from his injuries.”Uncle” Jacques Villeneuve was inducted into the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2001.